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You're wise to ask that question, given that an average year sees as many as 14 million consumers reporting that they've been victimized by identity thieves - with losses reaching nearly $17 billion.
Those numbers may obscure the devastation experienced by an individual when their credit history is ravaged by fraudulent transactions. Scammers can use Social Security numbers, birthdates and other personal information to open bank accounts and credit cards, access medical care, and even claim tax refunds that don't belong to them - taking what was once an excellent credit score and dragging it down. Unfortunately, the unsuspecting victim may not realize their identity has been stolen until they try to apply for a loan or start getting calls from collection agencies, and by then the damage has already been done.
Wednesday, August 4th
Identity Guard gives you everything you could want from an identity theft protection service: multiple plans to choose from, so that you only pay for the coverage you need, affordable pricing and a reputation for quality customer service. All plans use IBM Watson Artificial Intelligence to monitor your identity and come with $1 million in insurance that includes stolen funds reimbursement. Identity Guard is the perfect mix of comprehensive and economical, and the service earns our highest rating.
Zander Insurance offers the most affordable identity theft protection plans for individuals and families. Their coverage might best be described as supplemental insurance in the event your identity is stolen - because their plans don't monitor any of the credit bureaus (or your credit card activity). You'll have a generous $1 million policy to cover any financial losses due to identity theft, but be aware that Zander Insurance's monitoring might not do much to prevent it from happening in the first place.
ID Shield's identity theft protection plans are extremely straightforward: decide if you want monitoring of one credit bureau or all three, and if you're covering an individual or a family, and you're ready to go. They offer a comprehensive package of coverage on all four plan options, at prices that easily meet or beat their toughest competitors'. And, members have given this company high praise for prompt detection of identity fraud and an even faster response-and-repair time. ID Shield is one of our favorite identity theft protection providers.
Identity Force is an award-winning identity theft protection service, and their two plans are comprehensive, affordable and competitive with similar providers. The only drawback is for families, who will have to call in for plan details and pricing. In every other way, from an effective multi-dimensional approach to identity protection to very positive feedback from both customers and the BBB, Identity Force earns a good ranking among services that can help prevent and repair identity theft.
New to the identity theft marketplace in 2020, ID Seal is off to a good start with comprehensive coverage and an "A" rating and accreditation from the BBB. However, their pricing is much higher than most of their competitors', and family plans only include one adult. Plus, being so new to the industry, there isn't as much feedback on how this service actually performs when identity theft occurs. Keep an eye on this company, but for now you may want to reserve your trust for a more proven protection service.
For a long time, LifeLock was our #1 service for identity theft protection. However, due to a high number of customer complaints - which resulted in an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau - we can no longer give them our recommendation. Their plans and pricing are confusing, and tend to be more expensive than many comparable services out there. We suggest you look at the higher-rated providers in our evaluation for a more customer-friendly identity theft protection plan.
Identity Defense comes up extremely short when compared with other identity theft protection companies. From typos on their website to having no posted information about their business or even how to contact them, they don't have what it takes to reassure prospective subscribers that they're on the up-and-up - despite apparently being backed by Intersections, an established and reputable company with several other identity protection platforms on the market. Identity Defense earns our lowest ranking.
Even children can be prime targets for identity thieves. Because most people don't open credit cards or borrow money until adulthood, their information can be used for many years: imagine starting out as an 18-year-old with a horrible credit history that you did nothing to deserve! By that time, criminals may have already taken lavish vacations, gotten expensive cosmetic surgery, or bought luxury furniture - all using the identity of a child.
Experts recommend that consumers be constantly vigilant to protect their personal information. Basic steps like shredding documents with sensitive data and not disclosing too many details on social media can help prevent identity theft. However, scammers abound and are determined to find ways to access what they need. That's why identity theft protection services are a smart idea: while no service can offer a 100% guarantee that you'll never be a victim, their plans can often nip unauthorized access in the bud before things get out of hand. And, most of them not only help you clear your name and restore your credit history if identity theft occurs, but they also insure any financial losses up to a million dollars or more.
With many identity theft protection services to choose from, how can you tell which one is right for you? Here are several criteria to keep in mind:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best providers of identity theft protection available today. We hope this information helps you choose the service that offers the most peace of mind at the best price.
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