New identity theft protection services appear every day. It’s not surprising—identity theft is growing as a concern for everyone. With such a bewildering array of choices, how can you choose the plan that’s right for you?
Assess Your Needs
Will you need a family protection plan, or are you an individual? Do you prefer adding extra steps between others and the credit process or do you simply want to see alerts if anything extra happens? What kind of budget do you have for purchasing identity theft protection services? All of these are the kinds of factors that will ultimately impact your decision, and immediately help you rule companies in or out.
Find Comprehensive Coverage
Many identity theft protection services don’t go much further than watching your credit report. This seems thin coverage indeed when you realize that there is a whole wealth of reasons why people might steal identities. Find a plan that watches out for all the possible uses of your SSN: employment records, medical records, credit records, driver’s license bureaus and criminal records. Some services even take this a step further, offering payday loan monitoring, file share monitoring and sex offender service monitoring. Any of these uses of your identity can prove extremely problematic later, and you’d never know about many of them by watching the credit reports. A medical bill, for example, only shows up on your credit after it’s been sent to collection agencies—and because it’s your information, the skip-tracers invariably track you down to get the money, not the thief.
Knowing your identity has been compromised is nothing if you can’t get something done about it. Look for an identity theft protection service that offers identity restoration services as well as insurance. Take a look at services that remove you from junk mail lists as well.
More than you could do for yourself
You already know that you can order your annual credit report online for free and check things over for yourself, and plenty of basic, subscription services from the credit bureaus will alert you every time there is a change. So don’t get an ID Theft protection service that merely duplicates these basic activities. If you’re going to make the monthly investment do it in a way that reassures you that you and your family will be protected if the worst happens. Even good ID Theft Protection services can’t always guarantee that someone won’t rip you off—but they can help you keep it from going any farther, and they can make sure that you have the resources to continue your life and reclaim your identity when it does.