Identity Theft Protection Services
October 22, 2010
Identity theft protection is one of the key points during Cyber Security Awareness month and the main focus for Protect Your Identity Week. The goal is to highlight how vulnerable your identity can be, and what you can do to protect it.
Some of the things you can do to protect your identity include shredding documents with personal information, keeping documents you need to save in a safe place, monitoring monthly statements for fraudulent charges, and checking your credit report regularly for accounts that may not be yours. Watch out for social engineering, which means being careful of who you give account numbers to and what personal information you share.
If you’re looking for some help monitoring your credit and other personal information, there are identity protection services you can signup for. Here’s a list of some of the services available today:
Identity Guard: This service monitors your credit reports and scores, as well as monitors information related to your Social Security Number and address. You get lost wallet protection and $1 million in identity theft insurance. Can also include software meant to help protect your computer. Cost: up to $17.99 per month, depending on the package you choose.
LifeLock: One of the most visible identity protection services out there, LifeLock provides cyber monitoring services, and credit card monitoring and protection. It also offers alerts, and $1 million in ID theft insurance, and help placing fraud alerts on your credit reports. Cost: $9.99 or $13.50 a month, depending on your package, or billed at $99.00 or $148.50 for a savings.
TrustedID: You can get your three bureau monitoring, which is fairly standard with most identity protection services, along with black market Internet monitoring and medical benefits monitoring. You get anti-phishing protection, and TrustedID will perform a threat assessment to see how at-risk you are for ID theft. Comes with a $1 million warranty. Cost: There are two plans, one for the family and one for individuals. A family plan will cover your spouse and children as well. A family plan is $27.99 a month, or $20 a month if you are billed for 12 months at once ($240). The individual plan is $14.99 a month, or $10.42 a month for a year of protection ($125).
ID Watchdog: This company claims that 80% of identity theft has nothing to do with your credit, and offers services with this in mind. ID Watchdog has packages that include medical monitoring, credit monitoring, regular reports and alerts, public database monitoring, an ID management dashboard. You can also get a risk assessment and consultation on avoiding ID theft. Cost: Advanced package is $19.95 a month. You can get savings if you agree to an annual package ($179.95) or a three year package ($466.95). There is also a basic package for $9.99 a month.
Single Identity: American Express offers its own identity protection service. It monitors black market web sites and public records. You also receive mobile alerts of potentially dangerous information. There is also $25,000 of identity theft insurance and lost wallet protection. Cost: $9.99 a month.
ProtectMyID: Credit bureau Experian offers this service, which monitors your credit reports and scores. It also provides Internet monitoring and address monitoring in the event of attempted redirect. ProtectMyID also offers protection in the arena of medical information. There is also the option of ChildSecure to help keep your child’s identity safe. Comes with a $1 million guarantee. Cost: $9.95 per month.
Equifax ID Patrol: Like other identity protection services, this product from credit bureau Equifax offers credit monitoring and alerts you of changes. Additionally, it looks at Internet information trading sites. You can get help to resolve problems, and you get up to $1 million in identity theft insurance. Cost: $14.95 per month.
Obviously there are several different identity monitoring services to choose from. Most of them offer similar protection but differ in some of the features and pricing so be sure to compare them to see which fits your needs best. Some of them offer a free trial period so it’s not a bad idea to try out a few for free and see which you like best.
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