Everyone is at risk of identity theft. But can you really protect yourself from it? Companies that offer identity theft protection and credit monitoring seem to recommend it. But how reliable are these services? Do you really keep your promise or can you protect your identity from theft without taking out expensive “identity insurance”?
Identity theft protection is a service provided by financial companies that aims to protect your ID from theft and thus avoid the inevitable fraud.
They usually offer three things:
- Monitoring: Your credit files are monitored for changes.
- Warnings: You will be notified of new accounts opened on your behalf or any unusual expenses.
- Restoration: Identity theft protection includes an element of insurance that covers the recovery of lost bank and card balances, as well as the effects of other fraudulent activity on your behalf.
You may also periodically see identity theft emails and other privacy-related messages in your inbox when you sign up for a protection service.
Who Offers Credit Monitoring?
Once you have chosen credit monitoring, you have several options. As identity theft has increased in recent years, the number of protection solutions has increased.
Where you are determines what credit monitoring solutions are available to you.
For example, if you&̵
7;re based in the United States, Norton LifeLock, ID Watchdog, and IdentityForce all offer paid services. They are comprehensive coverage options with corresponding monthly and yearly subscriptions.
Do you need something less extensive? Credit karma is a free service that checks for changes to Equifax and TransUnion reports. This service sends notifications to you and prepares personalized financial products to ensure that you are accepted as credit. As such, it is an all-in-one tool for loan maintenance.
Credit Karma monitoring is also available available in the UK.
Disadvantages of protecting against identity theft
Which identity theft protection service you choose depends on two factors: expectation and budget.
Unfortunately, while all the big names promise a lot, there are too many differences between them. ID Watchdog’s premium protection offers few services than IdentityForce. Therefore, it pays to determine which product is best for you. For example, IdentityForce UltraSecure + Credit and LifeLock Ultimate Plus both offer family plans, while ID Watchdog doesn’t.
Then there is the problem of trust, reliability and transparency.
For example during Lifelock Ultimate Plus The insurance is designed to reduce the public exposure of your information, monitor the dark web for your personal information, and protect stolen funds. This is not without its problems. If LifeLock and Equifax have suffered a data breach in recent years, you may wonder whether they can be trusted.
After all, these services offer their products at different prices.
How does credit monitoring work?
When you sign up for an ID theft protection service, credit monitoring is the most important part of the service. But how does it work?
Credit monitoring is straightforward: the company providing the service will monitor your credit balance for changes. These are then relayed to you as alerts, and if something unexpected happens, you can track it down.
Some companies add extra functionality to basic credit monitoring. For example, some will check to see if medical care is being received on your behalf. They can also offer increasing levels of insurance, from basic levels to more comprehensive coverage.
The focus is on the basic idea of credit monitoring. The service monitors your credit record and relies on all available credit agencies to obtain data. Notifications can be sent via email or SMS.
Basically, however, you pay for the option to have your credit card checked. You can do that yourself. Do You Really Have to Pay for Credit Monitoring?
You can protect your identity for free
While paid solutions are becoming more common, you might prefer to protect your identity for free. Several free tools and services allow you to monitor your balance and protect your ID only for the cost of your internet connection.
- Track changes in your credit history: Card issuers and some personal finance websites (e.g. Credit Karma) can help you keep track of your credit report for free.
- Report Identity Theft: Government and financial institutions already offer free reporting tools so there is no charge for this service.
- Freezing Your Credit File: Perhaps the Most Valuable Tool Against Identity Fraud. You should freeze your credit file when not applying for a loan.
Is the credit monitoring working?
With so many options available to keep track of your credit status, you might wonder how many people have been affected by identity fraud. Is the credit monitor really working?
Yes it does. But whether it works for you is a whole different matter. It requires proactive consideration of your financial situation, whether you are paying for the service or checking your credit card yourself.
Finally, you need to read the warnings sent by credit monitoring services.
When it comes to identity theft protection, it’s only as good as the company that offers it. This may not be the security you need. Before using a protection policy, do a thorough research and verify that the service meets your needs in practice.
Should You Pay for Identity Theft Protection and Credit Monitoring?
Can you afford the monthly hassle of monitoring credit? If you’re concerned about identity theft, protection seems like a good idea – but is the risk real? Is it worth paying to avoid this? And can paying for top identity theft actually prevent this from happening?
Identity theft protection services are mostly affordable and can produce good results. However, there is no good reason to pay for a service that emulates most of the things you can do for free.
If you like to pay and can afford it, it doesn’t hurt in the end. However, it’s fair to say that identity theft protection and subscription credit monitoring are little more than a digital placebo. Get better results for free with SMS notifications, increased awareness and vigilance, and better security practices.