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You can’t stop identity theft, but you can take measures to protect your personal information. Along with shredding personal documents, regularly checking your credit report for abnormal or unauthorized activity, there are also a number of services available which guarantee to protect consumers against identity theft. But, are they worth it?
“The problem with protecting your identity is chances are, you’ve likely [already] given private information to hundreds of agencies,” says Jayfoley Mud, executive director at the Identity Theft Resource Center (IRITC).
To save you time and money, many identity protection services offer 24-hour assistance in helping you straighten compromised information. While IRITC does not endorse any of these products, Mud provided feedback on how some of the most popular programs stack up.
Created by Trusted ID, ID Freeze provides name and address scanning of Websites and online databases, as well as public records. The program also provides bank account and credit card scanning of “the black market Internet where identity thieves buy and sell credit card numbers,” Mud says.
–Public database scan monitors hundreds of public records online that contain information about everything from your marital status and address, to court and business applications.
–Users’ medical benefit statements are reviewed to ensure that you and your family are the only ones being treated with your insurance.
–Users can opt for family protection which extends the services of your spouse or children.
–Free annual credit reports are listed as a feature but consumers can access this information themselves by going to AnnualCreditReport.com.
–While the credit card and bank account scanning isn’t necessarily a con, any purchase made on your credit card will show up on your monthly statement– the same for your bank account– so consumers are paying for something that can be self-monitored.
–Since anyone can quickly place a fraud alert on their credit report, using this service is yet another way consumers are paying for a service they can do themselves. What you’re paying for is the convenience of having someone else do it.
Family plan: $15.83 per month for 12 months
Family plan: $19.99 for one month
Individual plan: $8.25 per month for 12 months
Individual plan: $10 for one month