Comparing the Major Identity Theft Protection Services

If you’ve decided to take control of your financial identity and protect yourself against identity fraud and theft, you may have considered signing up with a service that makes it easier to protect yourself. You could do most of the protection work yourself, but it would cost you a lot of time, and it may be difficult to keep up with all of the steps that need to be taken.

If you determine that it’s better and more cost-efficient to sign up with one of the professional identity theft protection services, your next step is to decide which one. The major services are:

  • - LifeLock (we’ll be talking about their “Command Center” product here)
  • - TrustedID
  • - IDWatchdog
  • - Identity Guard
  • - Debix

There are certainly many similarities among the various services, but there are also some subtle differences as well. This article will highlight both, in order to help you choose the service that best fits your needs.

Basic Monitoring Protections

All of the major services provide fraud detection and credit card monitoring. This feature alone could end up saving you countless hours in trying to monitor your own files yourself. This is also the primary feature of the Debix service, and Debix distinguishes itself from the other providers in fraud detection by contacting you by telephone, and allowing you to launch investigations into fraudulent activities almost immediately. Identity Guard goes a step further and also actively monitors your Credit Score for any problems.

The other four service providers also monitor thousands of public and private databases for any changes to your personal information. The services also search the shadier parts of the Internet, where identity thieves buy and sell credit card numbers and other personal information, to make sure your information is not available.
LifeLock, TrustedID and IDWatchdog also extend coverage to your immediate family members. Believe it or not, identity theft crimes against children are on the rise, and they often go undetected for long periods of time because most people do not actively monitor their children’s credit files themselves. This can be an invaluable feature for subscribers with children.

LifeLock and TrustedID also scan your medical records, to make sure that you are not being victimized by medical insurance or reimbursement fraud. This is another way that identity criminals are exploiting honest individuals.

Identity Theft Insurance

The major services also provide insurance coverage of $1,000,000 to cover all out of pocket expenses associated with restoring your identity if you become the victim of identity theft while you are a customer.

Lost Wages

Even as a subscriber to one of these services, if you somehow do become a victim of identity theft, you’ll need to spend some time on the phone with the credit agencies and companies to resolve the issues. Three of the services provide real cash compensation for the time that you spend fixing your financial identity.

Proactive Protection

LifeLock and TrustedID can automatically request that your name and address be removed from the marketing lists that are used by credit card companies to send you “pre-approved” credit card offers. This means that you’ll stop getting those offers in the mail, and that makes your identity safer, because thieves often steal these offers from mailboxes and use them to get credit cards in the victim’s name.

Protecting Yourself At Home

All of the major providers (except Debix) also provide their customers with Internet security software to install on their home computers. One of the ways that the fraudsters begin taking over someone’s identity is getting hold of usernames and passwords from one or more Internet websites. Many of us use the same username and password for multiple sites, so getting hold of that information for one website makes it more likely that the criminal will be able to access other websites (possibly our banking or investment accounts). Without anti-spyware software on our computers, it’s much easier for the identity thief to get this information.

Each of these five companies – LifeLock, TrustedID, IDWatchdog, Identity Guard, and Debix – will provide you with services that make it much easier to protect your identity and your financial future than trying to do it all yourself.

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