As more companies reveal data breaches on large scales, the need to protect yourself, your reputation, and your financial interests with identity protection services is growing daily.
Types of Services
Services should go beyond monitoring your credit score. A good credit monitoring service will let you know whenever someone does any of the following:
- Checks your credit history
- Opens a new loan or credit account in your name
- Reports a late payment
- Adjusts your credit limit
- Files for bankruptcy
- Changes your personal information (phone number, address, etc.)
Identity monitoring goes beyond that by reporting when people use your personal information in ways that might not appear on your credit report, such as:
- Payday loan application
- Social media networks and accounts
- Change of address requests
- Dark web sites that trade in stolen information
- Utility, cable, and wireless orders
- Arrest records
- Court documents
Identity recovery services come in after the fact and help you regain control of your finances and restore your good name.
Assessing Your Needs
Unfortunately, there are many different types of identity theft. And, there are no services that protect from all the types that currently exist.
Financial identity theft. The most commonly recognized, thieves gain access to bank or credit accounts.
Medical identity theft. One of the most dangerous forms of identity theft and can also be financially disastrous and very difficult to resolve.
Criminal identity theft. People commit crimes in your name. Most people are not even aware until they find themselves in handcuffs after routine traffic stops.
Driver’s license identity theft. It begins as a simple purse or wallet theft. Once they have forged a driver’s license in your name, it can be easy to get other forms of identification.
Social Security identity theft. Your Social Security number may be your most valuable—and vulnerable—pieces of information. Contact the IRS immediately if you suspect someone is using your SSN.
All services for identity theft monitoring and protection are not the same. You’ll have to decide which service offers the best assistance for your needs or if you are better off using multiple services. Prevention, and proactively protecting your information is the best cure; however, when data breaches occur, it’s good to have other eyes on the problem with credit monitoring and identity monitoring services. If your information and identity are compromised, a reputable identity recovery service can be invaluable.