The Best Identity Theft Protection Services in 2021
When it comes to identity theft protection, you can’t afford to take any risks. You need a sturdy and reliable service to protect your details from being stolen and distributed online.
Identity theft protection starts with credit monitoring, which will alert as soon as there is a change in your credit score and status. Identity theft protection services cannot actually freeze your account for you but can alert you as soon as some suspicious activity occurs. This allows you to freeze your account before your savings are stolen or you’re lumped with a pile of debt.
Who Should Use an Identity Theft Protection Service?
The world has moved online. This means there are more details online than before, making it fertile ground for identity scammers. Without identity theft protection, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to the increasingly sophisticated tools and methods of online scammers.
Identity theft is now so common that as of 2016, 1 in 16 Americans has been the victim of identity fraud. Everyone who is online should consider getting identity theft protection. You should be looking for the best identity theft protection service if you:
- You’re already a victim of identity theft, and you want to make sure it does not continue
- You’re at high risk of identity fraud
- You cannot freeze your credit reports
- You cannot afford the threat of identity theft or a bank account hack
Choosing the Right Identity Theft Protection Company
The right identity theft protection is essential for having peace of mind when using the internet. Choosing identity theft protection is like any insurance; you don’t want to use it, but if you have to, you want to make sure you have the best.
These are the features you should look out for when picking your identity theft protection:
You should always teach your kids about safe internet surfing, but you might also consider using parental blocks, depending on their ages. Because you can’t always be looking over your kids’ shoulders, Identity theft protection will cover all your family’s devices, not just yours.
Most ID protection services track your credit score and status, but the really good ones will also alert you in charges to your savings account and current account. Financial crime is the most common area of identity theft, so this is a very important feature.
ID theft rehabilitation
Identity theft recovery involves using counselors and case managers to help you to recover from it. The process of contacting your debtors, managing paperwork, and working through the dispute process can be time-consuming, so the extra help during this process can be extremely beneficial.
ID theft insurance
ID theft can incur many unexpected, unwanted costs and damages, This includes lost wages, stolen money, a damaged credit rating, and a few attorney’s fees. Having these costs insured could save you a small fortune and a serious headache in the future.
Social media and dark web monitoring
Some sophisticated services will monitor both the dark web and social media to see if your details appear nefariously in places they shouldn’t be.
Comparing the Best Identity Theft Protection Services in 2021
Now that you know what to look for in an identity protection service, here’s our comprehensive list of the top five identity theft protection providers on the market.
#1 Identity Guard
Identity guard is one of the best ID protection services on the market and uses IBM’s Watson Artificial Intelligence software to keep your details safe online. The service also has an app for both iOS and Android.
One of the key features of this service is that it provides up to $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance. Its best features are as follows:
- Risk management score
- High-risk transaction alerts
- Safe browsing tools
- Anti-phishing mobile app
- Credit and Address monitoring
- Social insight report
Cost: Starting at $7.50 per month.
This is the best ID theft protection for families because of it’s competitive prices for children. It is one of the best-rated services online. Its services include:
- Fake ID monitoring
- Bank account and investment tracking
- Easy to use mobile app
- Limiting your online exposure
- Removing your information from public sites
Cost: Starting at $13 per month
If you have already been a victim of ID theft, Identity Watchdog is a good option, as one of their key features is that it offers ID theft insurance with existing theft. You’ll receive up to $1,000,000 insurance coverage, as well as round-the-clock credit monitoring.
#3 Advanced Identity Protector
Advanced Identity Protector uses state-of-the-art software to make sure that the personal information kept on your computer is safe. By doing this, it makes sure that your most private and sensitive information, including bank details, passwords, and social security numbers are kept safe.
Key features include:
- Autosync all of your contacts across multiple devices
- Create a master password that can access all of your accounts
- Has a 60-day money-back guarantee
Cost: Starting at $39.95 per month
All You Need to Know About Identity Theft
Identity theft happens more than you think, and you need to know what you’ll be facing if it happens to you. Here’s what you should do if you have been a victim of identity fraud.
File a fraud alert with all three credit reporting agencies
Immediately notify Experian, TransUnion, & Equifax that you have been the victim of identity theft. They will place a 90-day alert on your credit file, which means your financial accounts will be closely monitored for unusual activity.
Order Copies of Your Credit Report
You should also request a copy of your credit report. By law, you may receive 1 free report every 12 months. When you receive it, review it for accuracy and file and corrections you may have if anything is out of order.
Create and File an Identity Theft Report with the Federal Trade Commission
This step is critical to protecting yourself from fraud to identity theft. You’ll need to submit to an identity theft affidavit and a police report to the FTC.
File an Identity Theft Form with the IRS
Many times social security numbers are used to fraudulently apply for jobs and then collect taxes (and refunds). Make sure you inform the IRS that your identity has been compromised by filing Form 14039. They will likely issue you a special identity protection PIN, which will allow you to file and communicate with them in the future without issue.
As mentioned, the best identity theft software providers will be able to help you with all the administration that is associated with identity theft.
There are however a handful of measures you can take, on top of using an identity theft protection service.
How You Can Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
There are a series of measures you can take to prevent yourself from identity theft in the first place.
Be mindful of where you share your data online: Social media is a hotbed for identity thieves and online criminals. A nosey amateur could find out what you look like, where you live, your birthday, and your name in a few minutes. Keep your accounts private and don’t resume the same password across multiple accounts.
Keep your Social Security Number Safe
This can be used to commit tax fraud, so make sure it is safe and secure on your computer.
Keep an eye out for Phishing
Phishing has been on the rise since COVID 19 and having so many people at home. This is why it is important to be mindful of any adverts you see posted. If anything looks suspicious, like a miracle cure, vaccine, or quick pay job, then you should be extra cautious.
Set up notifications from your bank
You can get in contact with your bank to ensure that they send you notifications every time there is any suspicious activity in your account.
Regularly check your credit status
It is much easier to limit the damage of an attack if you catch it early. By checking your credit reports frequently, you can increase the chance you catch the attack earlier and freeze your accounts.
Monitor your physical mailbox
Many scammers may actually find out your original name and address by scanning your mail details. Consider asking your neighbor to look out for your mailbox if you leave town for any stretch of time.
The Bottom Line
Identity theft is a crime that is on the rise. 7 million consumers experienced identity theft in 2017, according to an online survey by The Harris Poll in 2018. It also happens very regularly, so you have to make sure that you’re protected all the time.
Since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic, things have only gotten worse, and Identity Theft is more prevalent than ever. Make sure you’re as protected as possible by adopting the best online safety habits and investing in some high-quality identity theft protection software.