Identity theft can go beyond just doing credit and fraudulent transaction from your account. ID thieves can also open new accounts, sell your information online, empty your account balance, use up all your credits and more. With a good identity theft protection plan in place can be a good choice.
As the internet is increasingly becoming a perfect hub for more and more people’s lives, those individual’s information becomes a major target for hackers and identity thieves. It’s no secret that the number of identity theft-related crimes is steadily on the increase, and with it the number of companies offering to insure and protect your identity.
On the surface, many of these companies look to be offering similar products and services. To start narrowing down your search, start with these criteria:
Are you at risk of identity theft?
Short answer: yes. Nobody is immune to identity theft. You become more vulnerable when you shop, purchase subscriptions, register for websites, and engage in other activities that require you to divulge personal information online. That might lead you to believe young people are more at risk, when in real sense, hackers mostly target the less tech savvy among us, and that includes children and the elderly.
Approximately five out of every six cases considered as identity theft usually deal with debit, bank card fraud or credit. Credit cards are by far the biggest target. The other one out of six cases are more serious, and in most cases include stolen social security numbers. Social security numbers are used to apply for credit cards and loans, open bank accounts, and sign up for insurance.
What extras do identity theft protection service offer that I can’t do by myself?
Most of the services offered by identity theft protection agencies can actually be done free of charge on your own. If fraudulent charges come up on your credit card statement, for instance, a phone call or signature is usually all that’s required to get those charges removed.
The main value of identity theft protection basically comes in two forms: monitoring and insurance. The standard amount of money that these services are actually willing to compensate an individual due to damages that result from identity theft is one million US dollars.
These protection agencies will also closely monitor the web for any suspicious happenings, such as bulky withdrawals from your bank account and newly opened accounts. They will then inform you about these activities and help you take necessary action to avoid any damages.
Is it important to always monitor your credit score?
Identity theft can easily damage your credit rating without you knowing it; until the day you need a loan or some other financial service. That is why most identity theft protection agencies offer services of credit monitoring as an optional extra. Annual, quarterly, or even monthly credit reports (depending on the company) are normally included in more expensive premium tiers. Just one report from one of the three major credit information agencies usually costs about $11 on its own.
Do you usually depend on customer support for assistance?
When you are the victim of identity theft, then, proactive, polite and knowledgeable, helping hand can go a long way. Most agencies hire professional staffs on hand throughout the day to assist customers who need help. Usually, this is done over the phone, though some provide live chat and email support.
How important is a well-designed interface?
It is not important to buy a protection and not be able to understand how to use it. There are certain identity theft protection websites which have better interfaces that are user-friendly than others. It’s important to know how to enter all the needed information to get fully protected and how to use the website to monitor any notifications or alerts that come your way. Individuals that are not tech savvy may find it difficult to navigate a website that is not well-designed websites.
What extra features do you want beyond basic protection?
It is very common for Identity theft protection companies to throw in extra perks to attract customers. Keyboard encryption software, public records monitoring, mobile apps, Antivirus, password managers, and data breach notifications, are all examples of these bonus features. Because we have several other companies that may offer very similar basic protections, these extras could actually be the deciding factor between them.
Does someone in your family need protection?
The elderly and children can be and often are the main targets of identity theft. This is simply because most identity theft protection companies will not allow you to put more than one person on a single plan. Many protection agencies provide separate specialized plans for children, however. If you want to purchase a plan on behalf of an elderly person, let’s say your grandparents, you’ll require power of attorney for that person to legally access his or her account.
Read our reviews!
Every identity theft protection service is different, and what’s best for you may not necessarily work well for your friends or colleagues. MoneyLend has done the digging for you with our ever-growing list of reviews. There you can find out more about the individual plans and features, and which ones come at the best value.
We always take into account all of the criteria mentioned above, and even more to give you a detailed analysis of the best products out there. We are adding more all the time, so be sure to check back soon if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
Even when you feel the likelihood of a serious identity theft is minimal, the need for protection is great. Just as we buy insurance for our health, vehicles, and homes, identity theft protection can surely give us the much needed peace of mind knowing that we are ready for the worst of times.