Identity theft occurs when a malicious third party steals your personal information. This can include your full name, social security number, credit card details, address, and any other sensitive data that you don’t want in the wrong hands.
Most commonly, the perpetrators of identity theft use this information for financial gain by applying for credit in your name. Identity thieves have also been known to use a stolen identity to mask illegal activity such as the purchasing of contraband or committing illegal acts, both online and offline. Victims of identity fraud often suffer financial and reputational damage. The repercussions can haunt a victim long into the future and affect everything from applying for a mortgage to looking for employment.
How Does an Identity Theft Protection Service Work?
These services provide two key forms of protection: monitoring and support. By keeping a close eye on your personal information, as well as scouring the internet and the dark web for suspicious activity, an identity theft protection service can alert you to any wrongdoings before things go south. Think of this benefit as like having your own virtual police patrol. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent an online thief from breaking into your home, you can catch them in the act long before they drive away with your valuables.
The second key benefit is the professional support. Not only do many of the best services offer insurance for up to $1 million dollars’ worth of damages, but they also offer professional case officers to guide you through the best possible courses of action. These officers can help you through a process of reclamation – taking back ownership of your identity, your reputation, and your credit score.
Do I need an Identity Theft Protection Service?
The amount of personally identifying information we freely share in the modern world is staggering. Every time you make an online purchase, apply for credit, start a new job, or even sign up for a subscription service your data is stored online. While we like to believe that the companies we entrust with our valuable information are protected, the truth is large-scale hacks and data compromises regularly make front-page news. The FTC reports that somebody becomes a victim of identity fraud every 14 seconds in the US with 33% of Americans affected at some point.
While these services can not completely safeguard against identity theft, they can equip you with the tools necessary to mitigate the repercussions. With comprehensive data reports, full loss reimbursement, and experienced case handlers, you can breathe easy knowing you have taken every precaution possible.
What to Look for When Choosing an Identity Theft Protection Service?
Like any product, the needs of every individual are different. While we can’t tell you exactly what you need without knowing your personal situation, here are some key factors to consider:
Affordability – Services typically offer monthly and annual subscription options. Prices usually range between $7 and $20 a month dependent on the additional features and level of protection.
Customer Service – Identity theft can occur from anywhere in the world at any time. As such, many services offer 24/7 customer support so there is always someone on hand.
Insurance Coverage – You want to make sure that any identity theft does not result in you losing a penny. Many services offer comprehensive reimbursement of losses up to $1 million.
Family coverage – Do you want to protect the identity of more than just you? Look for family plans which also cover spouses and children against theft.
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