Unfortunately, identity theft has become all too common in today’s high tech world and is a special sort of crime that requires specialty protection.
An Identity Thief at Work…
You might not realize it until the next time you go to apply for a line of credit, re-negotiate your mortgage, or even apply for a new job; but someone may have stolen your identity.
Using your otherwise-excellent credit score, someone has taken out a credit card or opened an account in your name; one that you cannot access and never knew about, often to run off with overdraft money, leaving you holding the credit bag.
Our 24/7 wired culture has given us unprecedented access to information. However, it has given the greater world access to our information, too.
It simply isn’t feasible for most of us to log off completely, giving up email and internet banking, among other things. However, by putting an identity theft protection program in place, you can surf with greater peace of mind.
Protect Your Identity
There are dozens of popular identity theft services on the market, at various prices, offering different levels of protection depending on your needs. Here are Identity Theft Protection Reviews of the top providers.
LifeLock is a monitoring service that keeps an eye on your credit score, provides an insurance option to indemnify you against thefts done in your name. Lifelock became popular some years back when a number of users spoke publicly about its effectiveness, ease of use, ease of installation, and versatility. Today, Lifelock remains one of the most popular identity theft services on the market. This is because of its great reliability, remarkable versatility, and exceptional ease of use. Most people who sign up for Lifelock are able to figure out how to use it to the fullest within a few minutes, making it a true pleasure to play with.
Lifelock provides most of the features Trusted ID and Identity Guard offer, including the antivirus and anti-malware suites, keystroke encryption, and regular backups. Lifelock is different, however, in its focus on backup integrity. Both Trusted ID and Identity Guard produce some stunningly consistent backups, but Lifelock is really the expert of the three. It is built around the philosophy of monitor, back up, restore. If Lifelock sees no drive problems, it backs up; if it does, it will automatically restore your system to the state it was in when most recently healthy (if you choose to allow it to do so automatically). This is very nice from a convenience standpoint.
Here are a few reviews by current LifeLock members…
“LifeLock informed me about someone in Virginia, who tried to open a Verizon account with something like six or seven cell phones. It was more than just a one-cell-phone deal. And they had used my Social Security number. And I said, ‘Oh my gosh. What am I going to do?'”
-Gene Z.,LifeLock member since 2009
“I called LifeLock and I said, ‘This company is trying to get a hold of me, and they want know why I have over $1,000 that I owe them, when I’ve never opened up an account with them.’ LifeLock was so incredible. They took care of everything…”
-Kristina E.,LifeLock member since 2009
Like LifeLock and other identity theft protection systems, Identity Guard monitors your credit usage and score. It has the added advantage of having an agent work with you side by side to recover from a theft of identity. If your wallet is stolen, they will put a freeze on your accounts for you. If you are in fact compromised, they will work with the credit agencies to make sure your score remains largely unaffected by the breach.
Identity Guard is one of the most popular and powerful identity theft companies, providing users with just about everything they need to protect themselves as completely as they need to. Identity Guard caters to those with a non-technical education, so you have access to a variety of downloadable tools you can use without having to work through tedious details, such as systems-specific installations and the like.
Identity Guard provides members with a variety of useful tools. These range from the security standards, like antivirus and anti-trojan programs, to keystroke encryption algorithms that make your typing unintelligible to malware and an encrypted database for all your login information and credit card data. These alone are more than enough to keep you safe from most common forms of identity theft (social network phishing, compromised credit card information), but Identity Guard’s hardcore-level encryption keeps you safe from just about any sort of ID theft you or anyone like you is likely to meet.
Exclusive to AARP members, this service add-on is supported by TrustedID will monitor everything from your tax information to your social media usage to your medical identity – thus ensuring that no one is accessing services through Medicare under your name.
Equifax has their own credit monitoring service. They will monitor your credit on a daily basis, keep track of suspicious activity like address changes, prompt you via email or on a mobile device when a credit check is done for a third party, and will work alongside Experian and TransUnion to make sure your credit remains intact.
Though these and other services may seem invasive in their own way, they are a necessary evil in the modern world, much like theft insurance of other kinds, like for your home or automobile.
Trusted ID is a brilliant software set that takes near-perfect care of all your personal data and private information. Trusted ID provides users with a variety of tools they can use to back up their data, protect their passwords, stay secure while browsing, and just generally stay safe on the Internet, protecting themselves from Trojans, malware, and other such negative software suites. Trusted ID is easy to install, and, while a little bit pricey, not any more expensive than most other identity theft software out there.
Trusted ID provides users with the standard set of protection tools. These include antivirus and antispyware programs, along with an easily-tweaked firewall and special anonymity support for super secure web browsing. Trusted ID also encrypts your keystrokes, so no lurkers will be able to identify your password information by logging what you type and finding out what you wrote immediately after typing out your usernames.
Users review Trusted ID as one of the best services on the market, with easy installation, a versatile firewall, effective but not overbearing antivirus and anti-malware features, and a wide variety of add-ons that come with different copies of the suite.
ID Theft Protection Tips
On a day-to-day basis, there are things you can do to help, too.
* Change passwords frequently, especially for Internet banking.
* Monitor your credit score by checking 2-3 times per year.
* Deal only with major online retailers when shopping. Their encryption service will better protect your credit card information than another, smaller company.
* When shopping out in the world, use cash whenever possible. Every time you whip out the plastic, you provide another chance for thieves to glean your information.
* Put debit protection in place at your bank. Most credit cards already have it, but most checking or savings accounts do not. If your card is cloned, you could lose everything in your account.
We all know we need to defend against it somehow, but the problem is we don’t know what precisely constitutes that somehow. The software market has recently seen an influx of identity theft protection suites to try to address this ignorance, however, and many companies have been successful in developing effective tools that are easy to use. Today, we’ll take a look at three of the most effective identity theft protection services out there: Identity Guard, Trusted ID, and Lifelock.
Ultimately, it’s hard to show that any of these identity theft services is more or less less effective than any other. Most people would probably be best served by simply choosing any one of them for a trial. Our personal preference is for Lifelock, but many Lifelock users said they initially liked Trusted ID better before evolving a preference for certain features that Lifelock offers. In addition, Identity Guard has come on strong the past few years as a huge competitor. Something to keep in mind is that each one offers a money-back guarantee, so sampling each service prior to settling on one or another is a possibility. One thing is for certain – no matter which you choose, you’ll be more secure against identity fraud after, than you were before.