The Full Disclosure: What We Do
As one of our readers, you have the right to know our goals and tactics. We have nothing to hide; if you’re reading a credit card review, for instance, we would rather you join the ones you trust (and make us money!) than have you get unhappy with a scam product and watch you walk out the door. It’s just common sense … and you’ll notice a lot of it along the way, as we point out the bad too!
Many of the products and services that appear on Elite Personal Finance are affiliated third-parties. This means it is possible that we receive compensation for what we review. This could impact how things show on our site. However, it does not affect the honesty; we base all our reviews on 100% facts, verified customer feedback, and user-reported experiences.
Any editorial-style content written on Elite Personal Finance conveys the opinion of the writer. This might not always fall in line with the general opinion. If you are unhappy with something you have read, simply post a comment on the article to voice your concerns. We’re always open to criticism, and there’s always room to improve — we love being made more self aware!
Disclaimer: The information provided about any product and/or service we discuss might not always be up-to-date. These details are not supplied by the affiliated company, but rather they are obtained by our contributors. If at any time you feel your business, product or service is being misrepresented by a review here, you can send us an email or forward.
Further, we’re 100% DMCA compliant — if you have a request that needs to be through to us, just send it through email and we’ll resolve the issue right away!
Understanding Elite Personal Finance Better …
Talk is talk, but action is what makes the difference. We’ve continued to supply our readers with helpful information for a long while. If you aren’t aware of what the Elite Personal Finance brand is all about, please get caught up to speed by reading our ‘About Us‘ page. We really are here to serve all of you!
Part 1 – Determining the Legitimacy of an Identity Theft Company
The first thing we had to do was decide how we would evaluate other companies. As a business ourselves, we understand how important it is to not improperly represent other entities. This became clear from day one as we started covering all the different identity theft protection companies that are around. We could’ve promoted the cheapest, or even the most popular, but we dug further to recommend the companies that would leave our users the most satisfied.
To do this, we looked at many trust variables … such as the following:
1. What’s their Better Business Bureau Ranking?
We take into consideration whether a company is certified with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), when they became BBB-certified, and how their rating has held up since. At the same time, we look for customer reviews on business BBB pages (yes, they allow user-based reviews!) as this usually gives the, “dirty details,” for any scam or fraud.
However, the BBB information of a business on its own is not enough. Sometimes we will be reviewing a company that’s BBB-listed under a different name, yet the business behind them stays in the shadows. If we realize there is a separate business that’s tied into the main company’s ownership, we’ll reference the reputation of the other BBB pages also.
What we truly believe: If you’re going to write something for the Internet, make sure you take ALL the facts and then add from there instead of just ‘telling people what they want to hear’ because that’s just not good enough.
So what else do we evaluate?
2. What’s their website history like?
You can learn a lot about a company by checking to see what their online authority was in the past. Archive.org gives us the chance to do this — this tool lets you view archived versions of websites even many years after they get saved. Therefore, even if a company came to the Web in 2003 we could watch how they progressed over time. This is particularly important for filtering out the businesses that try to re-invent themselves all the time.
We can dig even further by investigating the domain behind the website — many tiny details can be found through the domain’s Whois information page. We take these pieces of data as connecting dots to build a picture — to show the business is transparent, if it is.
3. What are their affiliated ventures like?
If you “think” you can trust the company, chances are they have other reputable entities. It’s also possible that they have other products or platforms that have turned into scams in recent years. This is especially common in the online money-making sites, where things can go from ‘great to worse’ in seconds. We can use their corporate site, check their backlinks, run through sites like Wikipedia, TechCrunch, and etc., and see how all the dots connect behind the scenes.
Once we find a scam, we’ll loudly label it as such. If it’s a product or site we’re making money off, we’ll drop affiliation with them immediately and publish a warning to our users. We believe things need to be truly transparent — if there’s a piece of information any of our authors know that could make you safer or wealthier, we have a responsibility to share that info with you.
We want you to feel entitled to the truth, we’re natural truth-seekers!
Part 2 – Determining the Value of Identity Theft Protection Services
Deciding whether a product or service is worth the investment requires figuring out two things. First, you must establish whether the company behind the product or service is reputable. If you have no doubt about their trustworthiness, then you have to evaluate the product or service to decide whether it’s right for you. But when we create these reviews, we expect you to assume that we will alert you if there are any weak points for the company behind the product or service we’re promoting.
What goes into deciding the true value of a product or service comes down to what type of product or service we’re reviewing at the time. We look at what the current best within the respective market and see what makes everyone love them so much. Then, we consider all the essential features that should be included and confirm whether the top considerations include them. In the end, we usually manage to find at least two or three products or services that are worth your consideration. The rest get filtered out for one reason or another; if there’s a equal product that costs less, or that’s less popularly known, we’ll still promote it to the top!
Our review content is very well-researched. We only scratched the surface of what goes into researching a company; after you add a product or service, there’s a lot more that goes into it. And these extensive efforts come for a reason; any website developer could find a list of offers to promote, but few go the extra mile and give people 100% insight on what they’re examining. We never mind doing just that, because there’s endless information on the Web about products and services that make them easy to review honestly.
When scouring the Internet for information, we take into consideration details found on many avenues.
Which Identity Theft Reviews Hold Weight in Our Eyes:
a) Major retailer sites, through the form of user reviews and comments,
b) Major review websites, such as TomsHardware.com, which are known for their expert takes,
c) Niche forums, by using Google search functions like, “inurl:forum” + #product-name to see what real people are saying,
d) Social media sites — their public groups, user’s publicly shared statuses and tweets, etc., and, even,
e) Reddit — you would be surprised how much inside insight you can get on there!
All things said, our product and service reviews are written by industry experts. They already have a breadth of knowledge on the products and services they’re evaluating and this makes it a lot easier to determine their worthiness for our readers. This also gives us the chance to give true insider tips, which could save you a lot of money in some scenarios.
For example, everyone talks about how useless identity theft protection is — and to an extent, we agree — but there’s never a mention of what these services do better than you can. If you’ve ever tried setting up all different kinds of alerts and monitoring, you’ll quickly realize you don’t have the skills or know-how to make it happen. There are too many unique features found in identity theft prevention plans. Yet, we always advise our users to implement a security freeze if they still aren’t okay with paying for identity protection.
Part 3 – How We Compare Identity Theft Protection Features
You will find that the identity theft protection plans we review look very similar. That’s because there’s not much that makes these plans different. However, there are some features that are a bit outside of the norm too. We recommend all our readers get familiar with what each of these features really mean. Far too often, you’ll find an identity theft protection review that mention the same feature terms without providing much details on them. We make sure there are no confusions, and that you know EXACTLY what you’re investing in ahead of time.
To give you a better idea, here’s a look at many identity theft prevention features a user might want:
- 24/7 identity restoration services
- $1 million identity theft insurance
- Bank account monitoring
- Bank account takeover alerts
- Court records scanning
- Data breach notifications
- Fictitious identity monitoring
- File sharing network monitoring
- Fraud alert placement
- Lost / stolen wallet assistance
- Sex offender registry reports
- Stolen fund replacement
- Credit inquiry alerts
- Monthly credit score tracking
- Tri-bureau credit reports and scores
Part 4 – What Credit Report & Score Sites Do We Recommend?
When it comes to affiliating with credit report products and services, things get a little fuzzy.
We’re big believers in taking advantage of the annual credit report — which you can do online, through AnnualCreditReport.com — because this is a free, government-authorized credit report that you are entitled to once a year. Further, we regularly advise our readers to space out their free credit report request so they get a report from one of the three bureaus every four months.
But we understand if that’s not enough access to your credit report — and even more, we get the fact that you would like your credit score to go with it. So there are some credit report products and services that we recommend from time to time. You can see what we promote here:
- How to Get Your FICO Score for FREE – Elite Personal Finance
- Best Credit Report Site for 2016 – Elite Personal Finance
Each is unique in its own right. It is really hard to find the perfect credit report and score site. The two aren’t always paired together; when you find a comprehensive offering, there’s also no guarantee it runs on a regular basis. Even in the list of companies we reviewed, you won’t find any that offer monthly FICO scores and full credit reports without charging full price.
Is There Something You Want to Know?
We are all about full disclosure; whether you have a question for our authors, our management staff, or you just want to say ‘thanks’, you can head over to our Ask Our Experts page. Our contributors are always on hand, ready and willing to help. So feel free to submit your questions or concerns that way; if there’s something we’ve failed to disclose, simply ask so we can become even more transparent for all of you!