I am sure you have seen the commercials that depict identity theft scenarios. Identity theft protection is a $3 billion a year business. In 2015, 13 million Americans were affected by identity theft at the cost of $15 billion. Their services offer a range of coverage and can cost as little as $5 a month up to $30 a month. Are we able to protect ourselves without paying for these services? Are these protection plans even worth it? Here is some information about the four types of services- credit monitoring, identity monitoring, identity restoration, and identity theft insurance. Hope you enjoy Cathy’s Tuesday Tip! ~Cathy
Regularly checking credit reports for any indication of fraudulent activity is all that credit monitoring services offer. These reports track the data on illicit websites to ensure sites do not share their customer’s information. Credit services also monitor public records. These companies offer nothing to prevent theft, though. These services only make the customer aware of fraudulent activity. The only real benefit, besides you not doing the monitoring on your own, is the company may discover the action sooner.
On the other hand, identity theft is a personal attack. Quite possibly, someone could land you in jail for using your identity against your will. Your social security number could be stolen. Additionally, your social media and mail gather critical information. The thief can then use the information to create new documents. In turn, the thief could use that to get health insurance. If that happens, you could receive the wrong type of treatment when you visit the doctor due to medical record corruption. With someone else having access to your personal information, it leaves your financial information vulnerable for fraudulent activity.
Identity restoration does the heavy lifting after the theft occurs. They require a form of limited power of attorney and also the police report. They can bypass customer service representatives and go straight to those who can get results. They will use their staff attorneys to speak directly with those who will be able to resolve these issues. These companies keep outstanding relationships with the Social Security Administration and also have access to law enforcement databases to expedite the restoration process.
Identity Theft Insurance
Identity theft insurance reimburses victims for money spent on reclaiming their financial identities and repairing their credit reports. Many homeowners/renters insurance policies cover identity theft. If you aren’t covered, you may be able to add it to your current policy or ask for a stand-alone policy.
Nobody is immune to the possibility of identity theft – should we prepare as we do for any other disaster? Sure, we all may be able to use free credit checking services to stay on top of our credit report but are we able to do it often enough? We able to research the dark web to ensure the security of our credit and personal information? Will you have the patience for the countless hours spent trying to restore your personal information that you have spent a lifetime securing? Will having an insurance plan put your mind at ease? These are all important questions that you should ask yourself before making your decision.
I hope you enjoyed Cathy’s Tuesday Tip this week. To view more of Cathy’s Tuesday Tips, visit our blog.