ID Protection Plan Review
You can access a number of sites that do Identity Theft protection plan reviews, and run down a checklist of features and benefits. Sometimes with charts, you miss important details. So this review has a different format.
Companies and ID theft plans are grouped according to their main benefit, so you can decide what benefit is most important to you. Companies that offer multiple benefits will be mentioned in multiple benefit catagories with a extended explanations.
Your identity is your most valuable asset. This will be one of the most important buying decisions you make this decade. Take the time to understand what each plan provides. After all, we are talking about something that is irreplaceable - your good name, your identity.
Monitoring Your Credit Activity
Monitoring your credit activitiy usually implies daily monitoring through at least one of the credit reporting services - Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion.
Monitoring services are usually sold through financial institutions, and really only provide an early warning of financial, or credit card fraud.
Daily monitoring is a great early detection device, but it is not recommended as a “stand alone” program. Why?
If you become a victim of ID theft, monitoring services usually only offer resolution service on the back end, which means they will provide some general guidelines, and you will be doing the actual identity cleanup.
- Equifax Credit Watch Gold - $14.95 mo
- True Credit -$14.95(from Trans Union) Monitors all three credit bureaus
- ProtectMyIdentity.com (from Experian) - 9.95 mo. Also offers “lost wallet” protection, and scans internet for personal information being used on underground identity theft sites.
- Identity Theft Shield - Monitors credit 24-7, but the meat of the program is full identity restoration service
- ID Watchdog - monitors credit, and also medical, social security, criminal and other records. ID Watchdog also offers full restoration service
- iDefend - monitors credit, and also medical, social security, criminal and other records. iDefend guarantees full identity restoration.
Fraud alert messages notify potential credit grantors to verify your identification before extending credit in your name in case someone is using your information without your consent.
Even though this service costs nothing to do yourself, companies are selling this service.
Fraud Alert Plans
- Debix - If you are looking for a company that does fraud alerts, Debix is the leader of the pack. They have a unique electronic system that tracks and handles all credit phone calls. For a single person, just $24.00 a year.
- Lifelock - $10.00 mo.
- Trusted ID - Family plan $19.99 mo, individual plan $10.00 mo.
Make sure you understand the trade off with fraud alerts. Fraud alerts automatically disqualify credit monitoring. If unscrupulous companies ignore the fraud alert, you have no monitoring in affect to pick up suspicious activity.
All but 3 states now allow for credit freeze. In these 3 states, all three credit bureaus allow voluntary credit freeze. A Credit Freeze will prevent access to your credit report, allowing you to control which companies may see your credit report. Without a credit report, it becomes harder to open new accounts in your name. There is a charge to place or subsequently lift the freeze, depending on each state’s rules.
Credit Freeze Plans
You must read terms of reimbersement insurance carefully. Each company has very specific terms. Reimbursement insurance ranges from simple coverage of exact expenses in filing claims to reimbursement for legal services, lost wages, and actual charges. Most homeowners insurance offers some sort of ID theft reimbursement for about $40 extra per year.
Reimbursement Insurance Plans
- Add-on from your homeowners insurance
- Lifelock - be sure and read the terms carefully!
- Trusted ID
Remember - resolution is not the same as restoration. Here is another area where you want to read the fine print very carefully.
Resolution ranges from being mailed an information packet, to getting more personalized phone assistance. Bottom line, with a resolution service you are doing all the work - hours of phone calls, mailings, searching for missing pieces to the id theft puzzle. It can truly be overwhelming.
- Equifax Credit Watch Gold
- True Credit
- Debix- Gives phone support
- TrustedID- Gives phone support.
Restoration is having a qualified person working on your behalf to restore your identity. Although there are many companies offering Identity Theft protection plans, there are very few companies offering identity restoration, which should be the most important part of any plan, as it requires actual work.
- Legal Shield Identity Theft Plan - Offers full restoration from licensed investigators provided by Kroll Background America. Stand alone plan covers partners for $14.95 per month, or combined with legal services for $31.95 monthly.
- ID Theft Watchdog - Guarantees trained staff will restore your identity. Based in Denver, used by Colorado Bankers Association. Offered at $19.95 per month.
- iDefend - Guarantees identity restoration through National Identity Recovery. Family plan $24.99 per month, individual plan $14.99 per month.