You and your spouse are uniquely connected in the eyes of both the law and financial institutions. If your husband or wife’s identity gets compromised, you’ll both feel it. Read on for our top identity theft protection services for couples.
1. Identity Guard
Identity Guard has been in the business more than 20 years, and they’ve worked to evolve as the personal identity protection game has changed. A few years ago, they added IBM’s Watson to their services. That means you and your spouse or domestic partner get extra protection via a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence system. Let’s take a look at Identity Guard’s pros and cons.
- Family plans cover all adults in household
- Uses artificial intelligence through IBM’s Watson
- Online reputation management
- Multiple tiers available
- Value family plan for as low as $12 a month
- Anti-phishing mobile app
- Risk management score
- Safe browsing extension
- Total and Premier family plans much more costly than Value Plan
- Don’t offer notification for transactions over a certain amount
Identity Guard offers more than just artificial intelligence, though. They also offer features that you’ll find at other places, like an anti-phishing app, as well as features that are harder to find. For instance, with Identity Guard, you can get alerts about potential cyberbullying incidents.
One downside, though, is the apparent lack of any alert system that warns you if someone uses your bank or credit card info to make a transaction over a certain amount. The company offers alerts for what it calls “high-risk transactions” like account takeovers and payday loans, but there’s no indication it will send you a notification if, for instance, someone makes a $1,000 purchase with your credit card. That may not be a huge deal for some people, but it’s still a noticeable gap in coverage.
IdentityForce was founded by a brother-sister team of security experts, but it’s not your typical small family business. Identity Guard has been providing identity theft protection for four decades now. Here’s a fast look at some of the company’s pros and cons.
- 40-year history of service
- Unique social media monitoring system
- Bank and credit card alerts
- Free 14-day trial
- Junk mail opt-out available
- Anti-phishing and anti-keylogging apps
- Up to $1 million in lost identity coverage
- Two-factor authentication
- Credit monitoring costs extra
- Customer service not available on major holidays
- Aggressive pop-ups when you visit website
IdentityForce offers solutions to problems both common and uncommon. For instance, almost everyone feels like they’re getting too much junk mail. It’s easiest to just toss that credit card offer in the recycling bin and forget about it, but such bins can be attractive targets for would-be thieves. IdentityForce offers a junk mail opt-out system designed to reduce the volume of physical spam in your mailbox.
They also offer things like medical ID protection. While it’s not super likely that someone else will try to use your health insurance information and stick you and your spouse with the bill, it’s also not impossible. Medical ID protection alerts you to any issues before a hospital or doctor’s office sends you to collections.
Another cool feature is the bank and credit alert system that allow you to get notified if there’s a transaction for more than a certain amount. You get to set the amount, so it could be $100, $200, $500, or more. This is great for couples who’ve agreed not to make big purchases without consulting the other, because it lets you know if someone else might be making a big purchase on your behalf.
Why Should Married Couples Consider Identity Theft Protection?
Almost everyone can benefit from some form of identity theft protection. What makes married couples special?
For one thing, their legal status is different from a couple who dates but doesn’t live together, or even one who lives together outside of marriage. Marriage includes a ton of benefits and legal protections, but it also means that, in many cases, your finances are intermingled. If one of you runs up a lot of credit card debt during the marriage, you can both be held responsible for it. There are some exceptions, and not all states have this rule. But you should assume it’s the standard unless you hear otherwise.
It may help to think of identity protection as like a security system in your house. If a burglar enters through the bedroom window and the alarm sounds, it’s not just protecting the people in that specific bedroom. It’s also protecting everyone in the house.
The Benefits of Spousal Identity Protection
Unfortunately, not everyone who steals your identity will be a stranger lurking around the dark web, just waiting for vulnerabilities to expose. Many times, a person you know will steal your information to commit financial fraud. It may even be your spouse. After all, your spouse already has easy access to your most personal information. Many spouses even share their online banking passwords without thinking, because they assume they can trust their life partner. That’s one reason spousal identity protection is so important.
This is not to say that you should be paranoid that your spouse is trying to steal your identity. If your spouse uses your credit card to make a small purchase on Amazon, then immediately texts you about it, that’s not identity theft. Identity theft is generally something they try to hide for as long as possible. Eventually, though, bills come due, and if they’re not paid, debt collectors will start harassing you. That’s why spousal identity protection is useful, as it can let you know that something is off before things reach that point.
Police may be reluctant to act as well for a couple of reasons. For one, they might view it as a lovers’ spat that needs to be worked out between the two of you. But the law also means the burden of proof is high if you want to show that your spouse created accounts or racked up bills without your consent. Spousal identity protection can help keep a record that might make it easier for prosecutors to go forward with a case against your spouse.
Features of Identity Theft Services for Couples
Dark Web Monitoring
The dark web is getting darker by the day. Dark Web Monitoring is a feature for couples looking to keep their names, credit, and finances in good standing. This service continually searches the dark web — where criminals buy, sell, and trade your sensitive information — and alerts you if necessary. Keep you and your loved one safe with dark web monitoring.
Court Record Monitoring
Imagine you or your spouse’s good name surfacing in the news with an arrest warrant attached to it. This nightmare of a situation happens all the time. Criminals — or even close family and friends — might give your information at the time of their arrest. So this feature alerts couples if their name appears in court records for any reason.
Social Media Monitoring
Couples have no way of knowing if their personal info becomes compromised on social media. That is, unless they have Social Media Monitoring. This service alerts you and/or your spouse if your name has been hijacked and used for nefarious purposes. For instance, it’s not rare that someone finds their name attached to hate speech or propaganda.
SSN Monitoring is a great feature for couples. It monitors your social security number — your very identity! — and sends an alert if suspicious activity occurs. This has never been so important, as the moment your spouse falls victim to fraud, so too do you. After all, if you are married, you are the same person in the eyes of the state.
Identity Theft Insurance Coverage
Get the peace of mind you deserve with identity theft insurance. Let’s face it, there’s simply no way of eliminating every threat against your name, credit, and bank account. That’s why couples are looking for an identity theft solution that covers financial losses. Some packages will cover upwards of $1 million in expenses incurred.
Identity theft is a stressful fiasco to navigate as a couple. It’s mentally and emotionally draining. Not to worry — Identity Restoration is a fantastic feature offered by many identity theft protection services. In the event your identity is stolen, you and your spouse can sit with a team of specialists who walk you through the restoration process.
Sex Offender Registration
What’s worse than having your identity stolen? Having your identity stolen by a sex offender. That’s right, sex offenders sometimes use other people’s personal info to rent a home, secure a job, etc. Couples can ensure they’re covered with sex offender registration. If a predator tries to use your identity, rest assured you’ll be notified.
Bank Account Takeovers
Couples are unwittingly at risk of bank account takeover. Takeover happens when a fraudster gets their hands on sensitive login info. This might be your mother’s maiden name, the first instrument you played (Tuba?), or the password itself. Once logged in, they can change account details, and even drain the account. This feature protects couples against account takeover.
Pay Day Loan Monitoring
Payday loan outfits are notorious for issuing high-interest loans that border on predatory. So when a fraudster strolls in to get a loan in you or your spouse’s name, they just might walk out with money that you’re expected to repay. Ouch! Payday loan monitoring searches for fraud in your name and immediately alerts you of red flags.