Do You Need Identity Theft Protection Services?
It's important to be aware of online threats. Learn about identity protection services and how to keep your personal information safe online.
Why use an identity theft protection service?
Identity theft protection services cover many areas that directly or indirectly help Individuals protect their personal Information and resolve threats to their identity. While the specific features that Identity theft protection services offer can differ significantly, most companies will cover these three aspects of identity theft protection: Monitoring, alerts and recovery support.
This involves scanning millions of pieces of data to monitor your information online, on the dark web, or your credit file.
Can I monitor my online information and credit on my own?
In theory, you can do some of this monitoring on your own and you can also freeze your credit. However, certain processes require expertise and specialized software best left to professionals. And more importantly, if you still become a victim of identity theft, you will not have the support of an experienced team to help you recover from it.
Monitoring is the first task that an identity theft protection company undertakes to determine baseline security
This involves alerting the client of instances where their personal information has been used or compromised. Common examples involve credit inquiries, opening new accounts, and other instances of online impersonation. Once the security company detects such instances, they immediately notify the client so they can take immediate action.
This is the second step an identity theft protection company takes after monitoring your information. The main purpose of these alerts is to stop the misuse of data. Many identity theft victims find out too late about fraud that was conducted with their information and are left to deal with the repercussions.
The last step in this process is recovery support. It involves steps taken to reverse the damage done due to misuse of stolen or compromised data. Recovery support may include ID theft insurance or the recovery of funds stolen due to identity theft. Some companies offer ID theft insurance for up to $1 million.
Today, many identity theft protection service providers also offer tangential services and tools to protect your identity online or monitor local sex offender registries. Others will also monitor social media platforms, the dark web, and other avenues to monitor the potential trafficking of stolen personal and financial data.
Let’s take a look at some of the top identity theft protection service providers and their features. Here is a short list of our top recommended ID theft protection service providers:
BEST FOR: Identity Defense is the best choice for those who want an affordable and reliable ID theft protection service. Identity Defense is also a great choice if you’re looking for comprehensive coverage for your family.
Read our full Identity Defense review
BEST FOR: Aura is perfect for those looking to try out a security plan before committing to a long-term agreement. The interface is intuitive and easy to use even for beginners. The higher-tier plans are quite expensive compared to others in the market, but they are worth the investment for those who want to take advantage of the most impressive security suite we’ve covered.
BEST FOR: Identity Guard is the best choice for those who want to track their online behavior and mitigate risky actions to instill responsibility. This expert guidance is vital for those who want to protect their identity and data for years to come.
Maximizing Online Security
Even with the best protection systems in place, it is nearly impossible to prevent identity theft entirely. But monitoring for suspicious activity and being alerted to threats can help you prepare and begin recovery of your funds and identity as soon as possible.
There are many types of identity thefts waged against different age groups and types of data. Depending on your needs, you may choose to go with an individual or family plan. If you’re not sure about committing to a long-term, expensive package, then trying out monthly or trial plans would be best.
If budget is not an issue and you want to ensure the best security possible for your data and online identity, choose a comprehensive plan that will provide maximum coverage, one that includes the full suite of ID theft protection.
There are also some must-have features that you should look for if you’re going for a basic plan. Some such things to take a closer look at include:
- Data that the service provider monitors
- What the alerts include, and whether you can manage what alerts you want to receive
- Does the provider offer stolen fund reimbursement and insurance
- Does the service provider reimburse legal fees
- Does the provider contact government agencies on your behalf to help with recovery
Also, make sure the ID theft protection company covers the monitoring of credit data from all three credit bureaus. This should cover all of your bases so you can be alerted to all instances of potential identity theft.
Unfortunately, many service providers do not cover banking fraud. This will narrow down your search if you want an all-in security service. Lastly, before choosing a service provider, compare the prices and look up customer testimonials of all shortlisted companies. These details will show you the drawbacks of a service provider and how well they can fulfill your requirements for online security.