Picture_3Security breaches have become a common thing in today’s digital landscape. Hackers are constantly creating problems, especially for major companies. You’re not just imagining it, in 2014 alone, more than one billion personal records were illegally accessed and some of the world’s largest companies have lost money & clients due to major data breaches.

Identity theft is a serious problem that more and more companies are dealing with. The bad news is that identity theft cannot be prevented 100%, even if you have purchased a software or company’s protection services. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t cover yourself and your business from this threat.

There are various free identity theft protection companies available on the market. If you are willing to pay for them, you will decrease the chances of being breached. Many identity theft companies are specialized in certain aspects such as card fraud. Others, but not many of them, try to combine different types of services, extending their services to more than one aspect of the identity theft risk.

What Do Most of the Identity Theft Companies Offer?

Even if you pay to receive the services of an identity theft protection service, don’t rest assured that your identity could never be stolen. These companies cannot prevent this from happening in all situations. What they do is mainly monitoring all your financial and credit card activity. This way, you will know whenever someone tries to do something shady and access your accounts.

Main Activities of an Identity Theft Company

Stolen Credit Cards in Hands of Thief Trying to Use Cards Online without Owner Permission. Online Payments Security and Identity Theft Concept Photo.
Image description: Stolen Credit Cards in Hands of Thief Trying to Use Cards Online without Owner Permission. Online Payments Security and Identity Theft Concept Photo.
  • Monitoring your credit report. Many hackers will try to get to your credit account to spend all the available money in your name. If you benefit from a protection company’s service, you will know exactly when that happens. The company takes care of that, by keeping an eye on your account’s activity. This way, you will be able to alert the authorities and take measures quickly.
  • Overseeing your financial accounts. Any suspicious activity on your financial reports could be a sign of identity theft. All your financial situation, from cards to credit applications and bank accounts, will be supervised by the protection company. If any fraud happens, they will know what to do next.
  • Supervise your personal information. Your financial activity isn’t the only thing that hackers can target. Personal details, such as your social security number, can also become targets for identity thieves. Many aspects such as your driver’s license, medical records, and other things, will be monitored by the protection company. If they discover some changes that were not authorized by you, they will let you know.
  • Installing security software on your computer. Hacking is the most common way in which identity thieves steal your personal details. Most protection companies provide specific software, as well as antivirus programs, to make sure your computer is a safe You will have to keep almost all accounts under a lock. Usually, it will require using an encrypted login.

Tips on How to Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft protection

Having an identity theft company to back you up is a great choice. However, you must also take care of the way you handle things. Keep your personal things private.

  • Be careful when you go online. This applies to all your social media as well as e-mail accounts. Make sure to erase all the suspicious e-mail or spams without even opening them. Other cautious methods, such as constantly updating your antivirus program and going only on secure pages, are also good ways to avoid identity theft. Try not to send any personally identifiable information over the internet, via e-mail or in other ways.
  • Do not keep private records. Gather all your card statements, receipts, financial solicitations, and all the other important The second step is much simpler: destroy them. Yes, that’s right! You should shred all these papers to reduce the risk of someone stealing your identity.
  • Secure your mailbox. The best thing to do when it comes to your e-mail security is to get an inbox lock. When you need to mail private documents such as bills and checks, you should consider using the post office. Another option would be a secure mailbox.
  • Pay attention to your social security number. This is one of the main targets when it comes to identity theft. By using this number, hackers will gain access to all your credit and bank accounts. It is best to memorize it. Meanwhile, you should keep it inside a safe deposit box or in a private place at home.
  • Regularly verify your credit report. Do not wait for the identity theft company to tell you when something wrong is going on, even when you benefit from this type of services. Pay attention to any unusual transactions. Some banks charge a small monthly fee to offer you the possibility of freezing your account, if necessary.
  • Do not trust strangers or suspicious people. More precisely, be aware of scams. Don’t share personal details with people you don’t know. There were cases in which some individuals impersonated different identities and tried to fool people into offering them their private information, voluntarily.
  • Create strong passwords. You can significantly reduce your risk of being hacked if you come up with a different password for each account. Furthermore, don’t use simple or short identification words. Try to combine letters with signs and numbers. This way, it will be much harder to be cracked. The best thing to do is to memorize them instead of writing them down on paper.
  • Don’t ever take your social security card with you when you go out of the house. For example, don’t keep it in your wallet. For safety reasons, it should be locked in a secure firebox. As I previously mentioned, you should memorize your social security number.

Best Identity Theft Companies and Programs

There are plenty of options on the market when it comes to identity protection organizations. However, choosing the best one for you might be a little tricky. There are some main factors to take into consideration. Among these areas of interest, there are the following aspects:

  • Conduct Research. Find reviews and testimonials that prove the efficiency of a particular company. This method is useful, and it can save you a lot of money, time, and energy.
  • Find an honest company. It is hard to do that, I know. However, try to choose a transparent protection firm that offers full disclosure. Reputable companies are usually good at what they do.
  • Compare prices. You have to find the best identity theft protection company that you can afford. A good company has to offer more details and give solid arguments when it comes to their pricing list.

1. Identity Guard

Identity Guard - identity theft company

This identity theft protection company offers its clients a free trial period. This is, however, limited to 30 days. If you want to continue receiving their services, you will be required to pay a 16.99-dollar monthly fee. Identity Guard provides customized protection programs.

They will monitor your credit activity. As a competitive advantage, the company has a protection plan specially created for the case in which children are attacked. If something suspicious happens, you will receive notifications. All their clients get monthly updates and reports regarding their financial situation.

Besides their mobile app, Identity Guard also has an antivirus software in their offer. They have created three different types of memberships: Essentials which is the basic one, Total Protection, and Platinum, which is the premium level. On the downside, the firm does not offer credit freeze option. Also, some users consider their services to be a little expensive.

2. IdentityForce

Identity force - identity theft company

This company has its own ID Analytics engine. With it, it can monitor your entire financial situation such as bank accounts, credit cards, and more. Also, it can discover if your personal information was stolen via e-mail or somewhere else in the online environment.

IdentityForce does not offer full protection, though. For example, they do not supervise your driver’s license numbers. This protection firm is popular among potential clients due to its many years of activity and experience in the identity theft domain.

This specific company provides two types of membership: one of them costs 14.95 dollars per month, and the other one is 19.95 dollars per month. Even though the prices differ, both programs have a restoration support.

3. IDShield

ID Shield - - identity theft company

IDShield is a good option for when you want to be protected from identity thieves. It has many advantages such as low prices for family plans, a large coverage of many personal details, regular reporting, and continuous monitoring, and more.

Like the company previously described, this one also offers two different memberships: an individual plan and a family program. They both have quite similar benefits. The second one covers up to 10 related people. You will receive immediate support as well as unlimited consultation.

On the other hand, IDShield has a poor mobile presence. The mobile website does not cover all protection aspects, and their mobile app has disappointed many clients. Don’t expect to get any mobile notifications. All in all, they will let you know when something suspicious happens, and they will immediately offer their support.

4. LifeLock

Lifelock - identity theft company

With LifeLock, you will get 24/7 customer support as well as bank monitoring and credit card supervision. Furthermore, it will keep an eye the websites you access to see if your personal information is at risk. Unlike IDShield, LifeLock has both the mobile app and mobile notifications.

If you choose to use this company’s services for the entire family, you will have to pay more compared to other firms’ services. This is because LifeLock does not offer a family plan. This identity theft protection company provides memberships for every budget. Prices start at 8.99 dollars per month and can reach a 26.99-dollar monthly fee.

You can choose one of their plans, but be aware of the fact that they do not offer a computer security software. A weak point might be their outdated website. All in all, LifeLock offers great protection programs.

5. TrustedID

TrustedID - identity theft company

The main advantage if you choose this protection plan is that you can include all your family members in it. Although the company does not cover criminal data or public records, it monitors all the most common aspects of identity theft.

You can opt for the demo version. This is a free trial that is available for 14 days. Their monthly fees are situated between 10.42 dollars and 27.99 dollars. You can choose from two memberships: individual protection, and family plan.

TrustedID has been on the market since 2005, and since then they managed to be one of the most popular identity protection companies on the market.

Let’s Recap

Identity theft is a common problem nowadays. Should you choose to purchase a protection program? You definitely should. You will sleep better at night knowing that your personal information is monitored by a specialist. They will handle your overall financial accounts, and they will notify you when something seems dubious.

Even though there are simple ways in which you can protect yourself, the wisest thing to do is to purchase a family or business membership from an identity theft company. This way, you will not worry that something might have slipped your mind, and you won’t expose yourself to hackers.