With services out there like Lifelock, Trustedid, and Identity Guard, many people wonder if they really need these identity theft protection companies. After all, many of the things that these companies offer can be done yourself.
So do you really need a company to help you guard against identity theft, or is this something you can do yourself?
This is kind of a yes and no answer here. Yes, you can do some of the things that ID theft services do, but you can’t do all of it, and the average person does not take the necessary steps to guard their own identity in the first place.
For instance, you can put fraud alerts on your credit report so that when a creditor pulls up your information they will be extra careful to make sure your identity can be verified. But you would have to put one on all three credit bureaus and after 90 days those alerts expire. If you read some Lifelock reviews you will see that the company automatically renews these alerts for you and does a lot more to protect your credit too.
Identity theft is about much more than just your credit, but that seems to be the only thing people think about when they think about the crime. Thieves can use your private information to do anything from filling out a job application to getting medical care. Of course that medical bill will never get paid and you will get stuck with the bill and find out that someone has assumed your identity.
This is why it is important for an identity theft company to scan many parts of the web to look for your stolen information. Many times the person who took your social security number or other data will not use it themselves.
These crooks will try to sell that information to someone else through a forum or chat room so they can try to retain some anonymity. But services like Lifelock will actually scan these websites were known identity thieves hang out and if your info pops up they will take action immediately. In this way, this is a service you could not take care of on your own.
It should be mentioned that no identity theft protection company can make it impossible for your identity to be stolen. They can help protect you and be proactive in guarding against your private information from falling into the wrong hands, but these crooks are constantly at it and there is no 100% guarantee that it will not happen to you. But you can better your chances.
With one in every four homes being affected by identity theft it really underscores how much of a problem this growing crime is.
There are still things you should be doing to help protect your identity. You can stop the junk mail from coming to your house, shred those credit card offers and other trash with sensitive data, and always keep your social security card under lock and key.
Do not carry your social security card in your wallet as you will be in a world of trouble if it is ever lost or stolen. Of course, if you had an identity theft protection service when your wallet was lost you can just make one phone call to get everything straightened out, or you can try to do everything on your own.
The convenience these services offer have made them very popular among people who want to be proactive in guarding their personal information.