How Do Identity Theft Protection Services Work
In this day and age, even the major retailers are the target of hackers and security flaws on the net. Without a doubt, identity theft has now become a major threat for both big and small business operations. This is the reason why there are now more and more providers of identity theft protection services on the rise.
But are these services worth it? And how to these work in the first place? Will identity theft protection services really give the protection that you need?
In reality, identity theft protection services don’t completely prevent your identity from being stolen. Simply put, these services are not entirely proactive in safeguarding your identity. However, some of the better services do have proactive measures such as daily web scanning to find any potential cases of data breach, where your personal information may be available for public view. Companies such as IdentityGuard.com provide deep web scanning, which monitors areas of the web where credit cards, social security numbers and full identity profiles are sold & traded. With this in mind, choosing to subscribe to a daily identity protection plan is just one more piece of the puzzle that you should employ to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.
Your Information Is a Target For Theft
There are several primary reasons why the identity thieves are targeting your personal information:
- To use your credit card illegally
- To open new lines of credit in your name
- To take a loan with the use of your identity
- To access your bank accounts and steal money directly
The identity theft services are going to ensure that possible changes in your account are going to be clearly reflected in your credit report. The protective services are going to instantly alert you once they detected suspicious activities for you to take the necessary action right away.
Regular Monitoring of Your Finances
Through the proper supervision of your credit report, the identity protecting services are going to alert you of unusual activities. But, it is not always that easy to catch the fraudulent activities only through the monitoring of your credit report. This is why there are a lot of protecting services offering to monitor some of the other financial activities that include your card purchases and bank accounts. Also, they search for any loan or credit applications that are taken under your name.
Monitoring of Personal Information
Supervising your personal financial activities is amazing to start with. However, the most dependable identity theft protection services also need to supervise all your personal information including your social security number. It is to make sure that your social security number will not be used without your consent. Take note that the best provider of identity theft service is going to offer supervision of as many things possible for you. There are also those that will supervise even the medical record, the public records and unauthorized use of driver’s license or change in address. Essentially credit monitoring services keep track of your full identity and personal information, so you don’t have to.
Anti-Virus & Keystroke Encryption
The best providers should also guard you against any cases of hacking, a method commonly used by the identity thieves to snatch your personal information. The id protection companies should give you security software for safeguarding your personal computer against cases of hacking. Security software might also come with encrypted logins for anti-key logging applications, safe banking, anti-malware & shareware protection.
Trusted Identity Protection Companies
The majority of reliable service providers offer the basic monitoring services that include those items mentioned above, such as financial monitoring, credit report monitoring, monitoring of social security numbers and public records. There are also companies that go well beyond to protect you from falling prey to identity theft.
Having said this, I rank the following 3 identity theft protection services as the best choices you can go with for comprehensive identity monitoring. I’ve thrown in a 4th, free option as well, but I will always recommend going with a quality paid service over the freebie id protections services.
Identity Guard is another wonderful alternative if you would like your name and personal information monitor against all forms of identity theft. The service’s highlight is the exclusive lost wallet protection. It can be very beneficial for the regular travelers or for those who are always on the move most of the time. Identity Guard is also offering an insurance coverage against fraudulent activities. The customers will also get security suite which can be installed in both personal computers and mobile devices. Thanks to its all around protection capabilities, the company holds an outstanding customer satisfaction record and untarnished reputation.
For people who are keen when it comes to building credit scores and tracking their progress, LifeLock is the best choice. LifeLock is among the few services that allow monthly updates of the credit score. Aside from its basic identity theft protection services, the company monitors various other information that include the unauthorized use of driver’s license and address change. The service can also automatically unsubscribe the users from all the junk emails. The users can also get a trial for 30 days so that they can choose to opt out any time they do not like the services.
IdentityForce is also a good choice if you are searching for an affordable and comprehensive identity theft program for both your family and your home. This also comes with an additional Child Watch features. A great deal for those who have big households, the service provider will check the user’s financial accounts, social security number and financial information. There is also a 14-day trial period and you can also test their service before committing to it.
For those who are reluctant in revealing the details of your credit card, Credit Sesame is a good choice. In the field of identity theft protection, it is unusual for service providers to offer 100% free protection services but Credit Sesame can do this all for you. The company will update the credit scores every month, and changes are transparent and evident to the user. They also actively check for any suspicious activities. While Credit Sesame does not provide everything that the other companies do, it will be best to look for a free and simple identity theft protector.
There are many identity theft protection services available. Make sure you choose one that meets your needs as well as fits your monthly budget.
Real World Identity Theft Protection Methods
Identity theft happens so frequently that FBI considered it as the fastest growing crime issue in America. Thieves fraudulently use and steal the addresses, names, SSNs, credit card numbers, bank account information, and some personal information of millions of individuals every year. To avoid identity theft, learning how those thieves get your personal information is the very first step you should take to protect yourself.
When it comes to corporate world, thieves make headlines by breaking into huge consumer databases and get numerous names in the form of data breaches. It may also occur from the inside as there are insiders who might use an access of an employer to credit reporting information to obtain personal data or acquire information directly from the trash or files of the employer. Employees can be also bribed or conned by outsiders to steal information.
In terms of personal level, identity theft is a bit less publicized once it occurs to an individual, yet the number of ways that identity theft may occur on this level is distressing. The simplest way involves stealing your wallet or digging your trash. Identity theft may also be as easy and simple as peering over anyone’s shoulder as they utilize an ATM machine. Other sophisticated methods include targeting information of the deceased by using obituaries, diverting or stealing your mail, as well as getting bank account or credit card information through skimming, which is a high-tech theft who uses a particular electronic device when stealing information from your bank account or credit card.
Generally, skimming happens once your credit card is used when making a purchase and the one who processes your card may use a skimmer to get personalized access information. Skimmers are also found on ATMs. Aside from skimming, phishing is also one of the widely publicized methods of personal ID theft. Phishers steal information by creating a website that appears to be very similar to a reliable enterprise’s site and send emails out to lure anyone to enter their contact information. Then, thieves will use the information in any way they want.
What Happens Once Your Identity Was Stolen?
When identity thieves steal your personal information, they become you through assuming your financial identity. Criminals who are less sophisticated consider spending spree using your credit cards and sometimes open new credit cards in your name, establishing cell phone accounts, and writing checks.
Thieves who are experienced and more sophisticated will do more than spending your money by using your name or full identity to do anything they need or want. They will get personal identification including a driver’s license and utilize it when taking out car loans, opening bank accounts or filing for bankruptcy to avoid eviction from an apartment or a house. They can also use your personal date to make payments. So, what’s the best defense you can do to avoid it?
Tip: Identity theft protection services monitor thousands of data points to spot any possible signs of identity theft or fraud. Consider signing up for a plan and letting them keep tabs on your credit. It will save you time and give you peace of mind.
Avoiding Identity Theft
Though high-profile hackings of corporate databases may suggest that no one is safe from identity theft, there are several precautions that can reduce the odds of being victimized. One of these is to protect your SSN or Social Security Number, which is a critical part of personal information. Never print it on any kind of personal identification. Don’t print it on your checks and only use it when needed. Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet and avoid utilizing your SSN as your personal identifier if possible. Even if medical clinics, colleges, employers, and some entities often require your SSN, better think twice before you give it. You never know who will access to your information.
Another way of protecting yourself from identity theft is by protecting your mail. You can do this by reducing the amount of unsolicited offers. When you are on a vacation, cancel mail delivery. If you don’t, your mails can be a tempting target of thieves. Outgoing mails also need protection. When writing a mail and a check to your credit card company, never include information that’s complete enough for someone to utilize. You may only write your account number’s last 4 digits and your credit card company will be the one to identify you.
The Bottom Line
Being an identity theft victim can be devastating not only because your money will be stolen, but also your name can be used in crimes. Identity thieves are skilled when searching for targets. Because of this, it is always wise to be knowledgeable and more alert when protecting yourself.