What is identity theft: Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to steal your identity (name, Social Security number, address, etc.) without your permission. IDENTITY THEFT PROTECTION REVIEWS BELOW…
IDENTITY THEFT PROTECTION REVIEWS
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, identity theft cost Americans at least $15.4 billion in 2014 alone. While there are some things you can, and should, do to protect yourself on your own, many companies offer identity theft protection services that can do much more than you could do by yourself—especially if you don’t have countless hours to set aside to search through records and databases. According to this research, many companies were studied and three amongst them all were outstanding due to their values and protection packages.
Read further to find out why. But first, we shall discuss Identify theft in a jiffy
What is identity theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to steal your identity (name, Social Security number, address, etc.) without your permission.
Criminals gain their victims’ information in many ways. The Department of Justice lists these three common methods:
- Watching and listening in a public space. Thieves will watch someone type in a card number or listen to someone giving a credit card number over the phone.
- Looking through the discarded mail or rerouting mail to a new address. Criminals sometimes use discarded or rerouted mail to find preapproved applications for credit cards. Then they fill out the applications in an attempt to activate a card without your knowledge.
- Requesting personal information via email. Unfortunately, some victims respond to emails that promise benefits and ask for personal data.
Criminals use this information to purchase things with your credit cards, sign up for new credit cards under your name, open utility accounts using your identity, take your tax refund, and more.
What should you look for when choosing identity theft protection?
There are dozens of identity theft protection companies, and since ID theft is a complicated issue, choosing a service with the right set of features for your specific needs can feel pretty overwhelming. We recommend choosing an identity theft protection service with the following features:
- Mobile alerts: If your personal security has been jeopardized, we believe you should know about it as quickly as possible. If your ID theft protection service offers mobile alerts, you can immediately start taking steps to secure your accounts.
- Social security number monitoring: Any good identity theft protection service should monitor your SSN because it is associated with government records, bank accounts, medical information, and more.
- Excellent customer service: Identity theft is a serious, and stressful, ordeal. We recommend choosing a provider with strong customer support that can help you through complicated and confusing issues.
- Insurance and recovery assistance: Although identity theft protection can be preventive, it is also there to help you catch ID theft early and recover quickly. We suggest choosing a company that offers both insurance and recovery assistance so that you have help dealing with ID theft—not just preventing it.
- Database and website monitoring: It would be nearly impossible to go through online databases and watch suspicious websites on your own, which is why the identity protection company you choose should offer this service.
- Child protection: Children can also have their identities stolen. All the companies we recommend offer some level of child identity protection.
- Lost/stolen wallet assistance: Even if you’re never specifically targeted for identity theft, it is pretty easy to misplace your wallet or purse with your credit cards, driver’s license, and debit card. We recommend choosing a company that will help you replace or cancel cards if your wallet is lost or stolen. Protection from everyday risks is just as important as protection from big data breaches.
- Basic credit monitoring: While credit monitoring is only one small part of identity monitoring, we believe watching your credit and financial accounts is an important part of preventing and catching identity theft. We suggest looking for a service that includes at least some level of credit monitoring.
Now!!! Back our three super winners…
ALSO READ: What Does Theft Insurance Cover?
Best overall protection and value
IdentityForce offers excellent customer support, a large selection of monitoring services, and convenient alerts. The company earned the top spot by providing incredibly thorough coverage at a great price. Many of the features that come standard with IdentityForce’s cheaper package are only available with LifeLock’s most expensive package, and a few of the services IdentityForce offers aren’t offered by competitors at all.
Why IdentityForce is our number-one pick
IdentityForce will monitor court records, blogs, databases, and websites for your personal information. Services also include change-of-address monitoring and social security number tracking. On top of that, you’ll receive alerts if anyone requests a copy of your credit report. We were impressed with the wide range of monitoring services available because monitoring all these things separately would be impractical and difficult to do efficiently on your own.
Excellent customer support is a crucial part of any good identity theft protection service—especially since ID theft is such a personal and invasive ordeal. IdentityForce offers excellent customer support that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The company also responds quickly to consumers on social media and on sites like the Better Business Bureau.
While we believe having positive interactions with company representatives is an important part of customer service, we also appreciate companies that make it easy to handle issues on your own. As an IdentityForce customer, you can easily manage your own account settings, update your information, activate services, or turn text alerts on or off. IdentityForce’s website also has resources that address issues and answer potential questions, so if you’d like to look into something on your own instead of calling customer service, you have access to helpful information.
IdentityForce also just announced a mobile app for iOS and Android, which makes it even easier for customers to manage their accounts and see alerts.
Banking and credit card activity alerts
Although it isn’t the only issue to consider, the financial loss is one of the major concerns associated with identity theft. IdentityForce offers two plans, but you’ll get customizable banking and credit card alerts with the base plan even if you don’t sign up for the package that includes credit monitoring. This means you can receive a notification if a transaction, withdrawal, or balance transfer exceeds a certain amount you set. While these alerts may not prevent identity theft entirely, they can make sure you know about issues earlier on—and hopefully help you catch problems before they have a serious impact on your finances.
Junk mail opt-out and database information removal
It is possible to opt out of junk mail and pre-screened credit card offers on your own, but it is time-consuming and tedious. IdentityForce takes care of junk mail opt-out for you and also offers to Delete Now—a service that removes your personal information from online databases. Both of these services make it harder for criminals to get ahold of your sensitive information.
Anti-phishing and anti-keylogging software
IdentityForce surpasses most of the competition by offering anti-phishing and anti-keylogging software that protects sensitive information on your computer.
Easy account access
LifeLock has made it very easy for customers to access their information from almost anywhere. If you’re on a laptop or desktop computer, you can log in to the online member portal to review your alerts and account information. And if you’re out running errands or meeting friends for brunch, you can use LifeLock’s well-reviewed mobile app to quickly look at alerts on your phone.
If your personal information has been compromised, you probably want to know about it as quickly as possible. As a LifeLock customer you can get important alerts by phone, email, or text, so you’ll know about important issues without logging in to your account.
One of our favorite things about LifeLock’s service is the excellent customer support. It offers 24/7 assistance, US-based customer service reps and an online member portal that makes it easy to manage your account. We were also impressed with LifeLock’s detailed online resources that address specific scenarios and issues customers could encounter.
IDShield doesn’t offer as much as LifeLock or IdentityGuard, but you still get quite a bit of coverage for a relatively low price. The individual plan costs only $9.95 a month and includes basic services you’d expect like social security number monitoring, change of address monitoring, and court records monitoring. However, the base plan also comes with things like bank account monitoring, new account alerts, medical ID number monitoring, and file-sharing network monitoring—services that other providers usually reserve for more expensive packages.
Family and child plan
We were impressed by IDShield’s options for family protection. While all of the companies in our top three offer child protection options, IDShield offers the most affordable family coverage. If you choose the family plan, you’ll get coverage for two adults and up to eight children. Other providers usually charge per child and make adults sign up for a separate plan.
Easy mobile access
IDShield offers a mobile app for both iOS and Android. This app is updated regularly, has many very positive reviews, and features a straightforward interface. With account access on your phone, you’ll have no trouble checking alerts even if you’re away from your computer. This makes it easier to quickly address any issues that arise.