Identity theft is not a static threat. While many companies claim to be able to prevent it, the truth is that you cannot guarantee your identity will always be secure. It just takes the wrong piece of information entering the right hands to make anyone a victim. It’s true, or else there would not be so many cases of celebrities becoming identity theft victims over the years.
How Do Identity Theft Protection Services Work?
A company offering identity theft protection does not have some special way to keep you safe. The truth is, all these companies do is go through the extensive steps one must take to make themselves less vulnerable. It involves the company setting up security layers at every avenue possible, though the specific features will vary by company.
Here’s a look at what an identity theft protection services include:
- Lost Wallet Protection
When your wallet gets lost or stolen, it’s easy to forget about one of the cards you own. Not notifying the company could open the doors to an identity fraud attack. These companies will reach out to each of your card companies, as well as other providers, to let them know of the potential security threat.
- SSN Monitoring
If your Social Security Number ever gets used fraudulently, you can assume an identity thief will victimize you for a long time to come. These companies watch out for instances of your number getting used and they notify you whenever there is suspicious activity.
- Black Market Surveillance
Information through data breaches and hacking often gets passed between black market criminals on the Web. There are well over 10,000 websites where these individuals might sell or share such content. While many users are able to outsmart this security measure, there are still quite a few instances that get caught.
- Court Record Scanning
Your identity could get stolen by a criminal, who is looking to avoid liability for a crime they committed. If this happens, your name will show up in court record databases. Identity theft protection companies monitor for instances of this, which covers an entry point many never would have thought to protect.
- Credit Monitoring
From bank account monitoring to watching over your credit report, identity theft services do a lot to keep an eye on more than just your identity. Some even pull credit reports and scores as frequently as once per month, making it easy to catch an attack after it happens.
Consumer Reports published these features that shines some light on why some are not as effective as they appear. It is a worthwhile read that also discusses some of the unfair marketing techniques used by these companies, which any potential subscriber should first understand.
The Problem with Identity Theft Protection
While identity theft protection services are helpful, they still have many limitations. One of the biggest issues is that you are doing more to find out about an attack than you are to prevent it. This might be great for the fact that you can save yourself from liability, but it does not guarantee your name stays safe.
That’s because there is no way to guarantee such a thing. Identity theft is such an alarming concern in the United States, with around 15 million victims claimed annually, because there’s no defense. You can only put security measures in place to mitigate the damage.
Some of those security steps help a lot, for instance you can use a 90-day fraud alert (renewable) to force phone verification before a creditor opens a new line in your name. For the most part, what these services do are things that anyone can do on their own at no cost. But, there’s not much else you can do or rely on to ensure your identity stays safe from the unlimited risks that exist.
What About KeepMyID?
If you are up-to-date in the identity theft prevention world, you might have heard about KeepMyID’s identity theft protection service. This company does things a little different than the rest; while it’s not the same as the others, will it really guarantee identity theft protection?
While it’s not any more certain, you might find that KeepMyID’s service does offer a fair bit more than what you would get from a typical identity theft protection company. In fact, they even administer the fraud alerts on their own and make sure they get renewed. This is something that had everyone in an outcry, because the other providers dropped fraud alerts as a feature a few years ago.
Further, the legal counsel retained through KeepMyID offers more in the way of help to victims of identity theft than what most competitors give through guarantees or insurance coverage.
Should You Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
You have to understand that identity theft protection services will not keep you secure from identity theft. There are too many ways for a criminal to attack once they get their hands on your personal identifying information. All you can do is make yourself as aware as possible, for the sake of making the identity restoration process less stressful.
If you are considering identity theft protection, please do remember that you will end up limiting yourself to one service. The protective layers in place are dependent on the service that you use. This makes it imperative to compare; even this review on KeepMyID states that there’s no bulletproof approach to identity theft prevention, regardless of the diversity in protective layers.
Above all else, you want to limit your exposure to identity theft risks. This involves knowing all about the ways these criminals work and making the efforts to put security layers in place. An identity theft protection company will save you a lot of time, just not money.
In the end, your goal should be to reduce your exposure to identity theft threats while also making it easy to catch an attack after it happens.