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Do You Need Identity Theft Protection Services?
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Do You Need Identity Theft Protection Services?
Pay for a product only when you’re in danger, refuse to block your credit, and will not monitor your personal data.
Written by Sean Pyles Senior Writer | Personal finances financial debt Sean Pyles leads podcasting at NerdWallet as the host and producer of NerdWallet’s “Smart Money” podcast. On “Smart Money,” Sean talks with Nerds on NerdWallet’s NerdWallet Content team to answer the questions of listeners about their personal finances. With a particular focus on sensible and actionable financial advice, Sean provides real-world guidance to help people improve the financial situation of their lives. In addition to answering listeners’ financial concerns on “Smart Money,” Sean also interviews guests outside of NerdWallet and creates special segments that explore subjects like the racial wealth gap and how to begin investing, and the background for student loans.
Before Sean lead podcasting at NerdWallet, he covered topics related to consumer debt. His work has appeared on USA Today, The New York Times and other publications. When when he’s not writing about personal finances, Sean can be found playing in the garden, taking walks, or walking his dog for long walks. He lives in Ocean Shores, Washington.
and Bev O’Shea personal finance writer | MSN Money, Credit.com, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Orlando Sentinel Bev O’Shea is a former NerdWallet authority on consumer credit, scams and identity theft. She holds a bachelor’s level degree in journalism from Auburn University and a master’s in education from Georgia State University. Before coming to NerdWallet she worked for newspaper publishers, including daily ones, MSN Money and Credit.com. Her work was featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, MarketWatch, USA Today, MSN Money and elsewhere. Twitter: @BeverlyOShea.
25 January 2022
Editor: Kathy Hinson Lead Assigning Editor Personal finances, credit scoring debt and money management Kathy Hinson leads the core personal finance team at NerdWallet. Previously, she spent 18 years at The Oregonian in Portland in positions such as copy desk chief and team editor and designer. Previous experience included news and copy editing for many Southern California newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. She graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism and mass communications in Iowa’s University of Iowa.
Many or all of the items featured on this page come from our partners, who pay us. This impacts the types of products we feature and where and how the product appears on the page. However, this does not affect our opinions. Our opinions are entirely our own. Here’s a list of and .
Identity theft protection companies pledge to safeguard your personal data for an annual or monthly fee. They typically begin with then layer on additional services to warn you of potential issues.
Alerts are only used to alert you once the event has occurred; they can’t prevent the theft and misuse of your financial data. This is why NerdWallet advises proactively to prevent the opening of fake accounts.
You should consider purchasing the identity theft prevention program only in the following situations:
You’re already the victim of or at high chance of becoming a victim.
You’re not ready to freeze your credit report.
You’re sure you won’t spend the time actively monitoring your own credit.
You’ve checked and do not have adequate monitoring of identity theft or due to a breach of your data.
You can do it yourself
You are able to perform the fundamental services provided by these firms yourself, typically at no charge:
You can and track your via a variety of personal finance websites, such as NerdWallet as well as a handful of charge card companies.
You are able to follow the free recovery routes set out by the federal government at .
You can freeze your credit records at all three major credit bureaus- – and — for free, something an identity theft protection company can’t do for you.
“The first thing that consumers have to do if they’re worried about ID theft is to stop their credit report from being frozen,” says Chi Chi Wu an attorney on staff at the National Consumer Law Center. “Freeze, freeze, freeze. Everything else is a bonus on top of that.”
What companies for protection against identity theft do?
In general Identity theft protection companies offer three main services:
Monitoring Security firms for identity theft keep track of your credit file and notify you of any activities, like new accounts being opened under your name or credit inquiries received, so you can react swiftly.
Alerts: Let you know of instances when your personal information has been used, such as when someone attempts to open a bank account in your name. This is helpful since many people don’t realize the identity theft occurred until their credit has been damaged and their bank accounts are drained or they are suddenly an abundance of new debts that is in their name.
Recover: In the event that someone hacks your data and misuses it, these companies can help you recover the money lost and also repair damages to your credit. They typically offer insurance policies that cover up to $1 million.
A lot of companies also provide tangential service, such as alerts about information about identity theft, as well as local registries of sex offender. Some monitor dark web sites known to traffic in stolen financial and personal information that you’re not able to do by yourself.
Check out identity theft protection services
It could be that you decide to purchase all the security options and don’t mind paying for security. Perhaps you know that you’ll never do it by yourself.
If you are, then compare prices and coverage details to determine which plan fits. Make sure the product you select is monitoring credit data from all three credit bureaus; otherwise, you’re paying for incomplete protection.
Beware of credit monitoring services that tend to have less extensive coverage and may limit your right to take them to court, even if they’re the ones that have exposed your financial data.
This is a look at well-known products in the identity protection industry. This is just a tiny sample; you may discover a different company that is more suitable for you. If you’ve already placed the credit freezing, then you’ll have to temporarily lift them to allow a provider access to your files to monitor them.
1. NORTON 360 WITH LIFELOCK Ultimate Plus
The highest-end Norton LifeLock plan, , offers multiple services to aid you in recovering against identity theft.
It also includes a password manager, as well as web privacy and device security benefits.
The company enhances its package through additional features, such as a $1 million identity theft recovery plan as well as legal assistance.
The most expensive plan is priced at $48.99, especially when covering families. For two adults and up to five kids runs $48.99 a month the first year and then auto-renews at a higher rate.
As of 2015 LifeLock made a payment of $100 million in order to resolve the Federal Trade Commission charge that it violated the terms of a 2010 federal court order about securing the privacy of consumers’ information and avoiding misleading advertising.
Cost: The cost is $29.99 each month for one adult the first year, and it automatically renews for $34.99 per month. Discounts are offered for those who pay annually.
The best for: those who don’t have an entire family to cover; who are able to afford just a bit more for complete coverage. Learn more about our coverage .
Easy to understand exactly what you are receiving as there are no tiers, and the pricing is transparent.
Offers unlimited consultations with experts in identity theft.
Scans social media for reputational risk.
As with any service that you use, you might be tempted to ignore the importance of good cyber hygiene practices.
Multiple alerts may lead you to turn them off without reading, leaving out important information.
Cost: Monitoring at 3 credit bureaus is $17.95 each month, for an individual as well as $32.95 to families (two adults and up to 10 minors).
Ideal for: Customers with a price sensitivity who wish the social accounts of their customers scanned as part of a bundle. Learn more about our service .
3. IDENTITYFORCE ULTRASECURE +CREDIT
IdentityForce provides less expensive monitoring with three different bureaus than major brands such as LifeLock.
It is possible to purchase an entire family plan, which includes two adults as well as any children 25 and under.
Provides information about the possibility of health insurance fraud.
The process of signing up is lengthy it requires you to input details repeatedly.
Family plans aren’t readily visible on the website, and you might have to contact us to inquire about it.
Pinning down the lowest price isn’t always easy, because the prices can vary based on whether you sign-up via the internet or by phone.
Cost: $23.99 monthly or $239.90 per year for the plan that offers monitoring at all three major credit bureaus. It should be noted that promotional pricing is often available. It’s wise to seek it.
The best option for those who require security on a tight budget; those who want medical identity coverage.
4. ID WATCHDOG PLATINUM
ID Watchdog keeps credit monitoring, alerts and recovery simple.
One of the most notable features is that it can assist you in recovering from pre-existing identity theft for an additional fee of $79.95 to $279.95, dependent on the type of credit line you have been able to use fraudulently.
Equifax purchased ID Watchdog in 2017, in the same year Equifax was hit by a massive data breach that exposed the sensitive personal data of more than 148 million people.
The mobile app of the company and its desktop interfaces provide less details than its rivals.
ID Watchdog offers fewer monitoring services than other businesses.
Cost: $19.95 a month or $219 annually with three bureaus of credit monitoring.
The best option is for those who require help in to recover from identity theft that was pre-existing.
Do you need a credit report exam?
Register for an account to have your credit report free and score at hand, constantly.
About the authors: Sean Pyles is the executive producer and host on the NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today and elsewhere.
Bev O’Shea was an ex-credit writer at NerdWallet. Her work was published in the New York Times, Washington Post, MarketWatch and elsewhere.
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