Should you pay to prevent identity theft from happening to you? Depends on what you’re looking for.
I’ve come face to face with credit card fraud a few times. The kind when you get the call from a credit card company telling you of a suspicious charge on your credit card that was made somewhere you’ve never visited in your life. These days, you can protect yourself from this sort of thing by making sure you’re more vigilant and careful about your (financial) activities.
Due to the busy nature of ordinary life, you may want to consider checking out a service that can offer you identity theft protection. I’ve covered credit monitoring services here including myFICO products before. This time, I’d like to take a look at another service called IDENTITY GUARD.
IDENTITY GUARD Review: Top ID Theft Protection Service
It’s important to keep an eye out on our own credit information, and this can easily be done for free by ordering your free credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com. But this resource only offers free reports from the three major credit bureaus (you’re entitled to one report per year from each agency). If you’re looking for something beyond this, and are interested in picking up FICO credit scores or would prefer receiving alerts on any changes made on your credit information, as and when they happen, then you may prefer to sign up for a credit report monitoring service.
Credit bureau monitoring aims to capture instances of fraudulent activity against your credit account or report. If certain actions are taken against your account (e.g. someone steals your mail and opens a Visa account in your name), this type of activity should be flagged by an id theft protection service.
Along with tracking new credit card activity, the credit monitoring service can also track actions such as new cell phone accounts and mortgages. The internet surveillance is useful because you’ll be alerted if the service detects any misuse of your critical information like your Social Security number, credit card account numbers, and bank account numbers online.
Getting your credit information and credit score can give you a good idea of your current financial state. If you happen to notice any errors or mistakes, you can take measures to correct the information now instead of waiting until it causes problems later. For instance, let’s say your bank forgets to list one of your credit card payments. By fixing the error now, you’ll avoid any unpleasant surprises in case you happen to be shopping around for a loan.
Key Features From IDENTITY GUARD
So what can you expect from IDENTITY GUARD? Here are the key features of their EXTRA CAUTION service:
- Get a free 30 day trial that allows you to view your 3 credit scores from the major bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion).
- After 30 days, you will be billed $14.95 per month if you choose to continue with the service.
- While on the service, you’ll get unlimited access to your 3 credit scores.
- You’ll get quarterly updates of your scores to keep you aware of changes to your credit file.
- You’ll receive a detailed analysis showing what is affecting your scores.
- You’ll receive email alerts when certain changes are made to your credit reports. If anything suspicious is detected, you’re alerted via email, text, or phone.
- Your credit reports will be monitored and tracked.
- You can expect unlimited, toll-free customer service support.
- You’ll benefit from internet surveillance of your sensitive information. The service actually reviews Internet chat rooms and newsgroups with patented Web-crawling technology, then alerts you if your Social Security number, credit cards, and bank accounts numbers are being compromised.
- There’s lost wallet protection: you can call the service and cancel your credit card accounts; you can receive up to $2,000 emergency cash from your account, in case you need this.
- You have the help of a Personal ID Theft Response Team.
- You’ll receive up to $1,000,000 ID Theft Insurance coverage with no deductible. If anyone actually steals from you through ID theft, you’re given loss reimbursement insurance* to cover your losses.
- You’re given access to ITAC, the Identity Theft Assistance Center, for help if you become a victim of identity theft.
*Reimbursement will be provided by insurance carrier. Insurance underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa. The description herein is a summary only. It does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for complete details of coverage and exclusions. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions and is subject to actual policy language.
The IDENTITY GUARD EXTRA CAUTION service comes with toll-free calls to customer service; tools to help you sort through your credit and finances; Lost Wallet Protection, which can assist you in case you need to cancel your credit cards; and if you find yourself a victim of identity theft, you can call on the Identity Theft Recovery Unit for aid.
Before you commit to Identity Guard, you should take a look at Your Identity Dashboard. At a glance, you’ll be able to see the message center, which is where any alerts will show up. You’ll also be able to study your credit information and file, credit score, internet monitoring activities, and a section for support if you want assistance.
To sign up, you’ll need to provide your personal information like your address, date of birth, and Social Security number. You’ll also need to provide your credit card number for billing purposes. Once your free trial ends, your credit card will be charged monthly until you cancel the membership.
It’s possible for you to keep an eye on your identity by going to AnnualCreditReport.com, setting up Google Alerts for your personal information, and other means, but a service like IDENTITY GUARD seems less time consuming and pretty user friendly.
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