Identity theft is a growing problem in America and beyond. In fact, according to Experian, in 2017 consumers reported more than $905 million in total fraud losses. That was a 21.6 percent increase over 2016's figures mainly due to the rising number of data breaches which puts peoples' personal information at risk. The best way to protect yourself against identity theft is to be diligent in protecting your personal information and enlisting the help of an identity theft protection company. But not just any company…you need an identity theft protection company that offers a wide range of identity theft protection services. And, a company with a stellar reputation for successfully monitoring, alerting you of potential issues, and for restoring your identity if you ever do encounter a problem. Here are some of the most important factors to consider when looking for the best possible identity theft protection company for your particular situation.
The first thing you will need to do when looking for the best identity theft coverage is to determine to what extent you need that coverage. Do you need an individual, family, or senior plan?
If you are the only one in your household and you don't have an extended family, there is no need to pay for a monthly plan that includes coverage for an entire family. Or a plan that includes coverage for children. Therefore, in this case, you need only search for identity theft plans for individuals.
If you have a spouse and/or kids, it's crucial you get identity theft protection for the entire family. Many identity theft services offer a base plan that allows you to add on separate coverage for your spouse and/or children for an additional fee(s). However, there are also some identity theft companies that offer all-inclusive plans that include your spouse and all children living in the same household for one monthly price.
If you are looking for a senior plan, sometimes the coverage for these plans will vary. For example, a senior identity theft plan might include coverage for basic identity theft. But it might also include or offer add-on coverage for Medicare, health insurance, estate, military, or tax fraud as well.
There are two main services associated with identity theft protection coverage and they are credit monitoring and identity restoration. And while there are generally many other services available as well, these are the aspects you will see with almost every type of identity theft plan on the market.
Credit monitoring is a service provided by an identity theft protection company. When you purchase this service, they will track the activity on one or more of your credit reports. And if they spot suspicious activity, they will notify you of such. Identity theft protection is a bit different from a basic credit monitoring service. A credit monitoring service only monitors your credit reports. However, a full coverage identity theft protection service is more inclusive and generally comes with a wide variety of additional protection services. For example, identity theft protection will monitor one or more of your credit reports, as well as offering one or more of the following services: your credit score, USPS mailing address change requests, court or arrest records, new service requests (utility, cable, etc.), payday loan apps, social media and dark web monitoring, just to name a few.
An identity theft company will generally offer either identity resolution or identity restoration services that will help you if you experience an identity theft event. An identity resolution service is only there to guide you through the long and arduous process of restoring your identity. However, most identity restoration services will work to restore your identity for you once you have filed a police report, filed a complaint with the FTC, and provided them with a copy of each.
There are a few identity theft protection services that are free of charge. Especially if they are offered as an add-on to another service to which you subscribe such as a credit card or a bank account, etc. However, if you are buying stand-alone identity theft protection, you will probably have to pay for coverage, if you want coverage that is effective and actually worth having. We've found identity theft protection services that are as low as $6.75 per month and allow you to add an unlimited number of dependents (up to age 25) to your monthly plan. However, most identity theft protection services have an average price range anywhere from $9.95 per month to $29.99 per month with some being more depending on the services you choose. Each identity theft protection service handles their child identity theft protection services differently. Some of them include it in the monthly price which is usually a bit higher than it is without child coverage. However, some of them offer it as an add-on service for a relatively small monthly fee that averages anywhere from $3.99 per month to $5.99 per month. Although, some child identity theft protection services charge more. Therefore, if that is a service you need, you should perform a little research to find one that best suits your needs and budget.
Identity Theft Protection Company Reviews
When it comes to your personal information, you don't want to skimp, or worse, forgo, identity theft protection because your life literally depends on it. Just imagine if suddenly you discovered that your personal information was stolen and used fraudulently. Now, all your accounts are frozen and you have no access to the money you need to live on. This is a real scenario and it happens every day. Don't let that happen to you. Take some time now to research and learn about the best identity theft protection services available and which features you will need for your particular situation. Below we review the different identity theft protection services, their features, and their pros and cons. Having this information will help you make an educated decision about which service and it's corresponding features are right for you, your family, and your budget, without spending money on the things you don't want or need.
- AllClear ID – AllClear ID offers both personal and business solutions to ensure identities stay safe.
- Complete ID – Complete ID is owned by Costco and is an exclusive identity theft protection offering for Costco members.
- Experian IdentityWorks – This comprehensive identity protection tool from one of the nation’s 3 credit bureaus covers most types of identity risks with insurance support and identity restoration tools.
- ID Watchdog – ID Watchdog provides a comprehensive identity theft monitoring service that offers live support 24 hours a day.
- Identity Guard® – Identity Guard is a comprehensive service that uses IBM Watson Artificial Intelligence to scan, scrub, and alert whenever it looks like your identity has been compromised.
- IdentityForce – In addition to offering full coverage for adults, IdentityForce includes Child Watch as a feature that can be added onto any plan. Their track record speaks for itself: They have a 100% success rate recovering identities in stolen identity events.
- IDnotify – IDnotify works with both the credit bureau Experian and the software Turbo Tax to protect against and detect identity theft quickly, and their premier service even offers sex offender monitoring and $1 million identity theft insurance.
- IDShield – IDShield doesn’t just offer plans for individuals—its Family Plan lets you add a spouse and up to 8 children for $25, a very competitive rate for the level of coverage.
- LifeLock – With 3 different plans, LifeLock offers a wide range of services and coverage, including fictitious identity monitoring and file-sharing network searches. Its most basic plan is one of the most competitively priced at $9.99 a month.
- MyIDCare – MyIDCare offers a guaranteed 100% recovery of your identity in the scenario of identity theft.
- PrivacyGuard – Endorsed by Frank Abagnale, the inspiration behind Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in “Catch Me If You Can” and now a leading identity theft expert, PrivacyGuard sends out monthly credit scores and reports, and in an unusual move for this type of service, tons of resources on everything from debt consolidation to home budgeting.
- ProtectMyID – ProtectMyID is owned by Experian and offers a special offering to AAA members.
- TrustedID – TrustedID is owned by Equifax and offers both an identity theft protection and credit monitoring offering.
- Zander – Backed by financial expert David Ramsey, this highly-rated service lets users add an unlimited number of dependents up to age 25. Its $6.75 monthly individual plan and $12.90 monthly family plan are among the most affordable on the market.
In an ideal world, you’ll have preemptively taken certain steps to minimize your chance of being targeted, even as you’re in the process of researching and reviewing these services. You can read about some of the steps to take on our identity theft page.
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