There is nothing worse than learning that someone stole your identity. As long as another person has some basic information like your social security number, date of birth and current address, that person can take out loans, open new lines of credit and even use your insurance to pay for his or her medical bills. LifeLock offers three programs that can protect your identity as well as a plan for the younger members of your family, and you can pick and choose from those programs to create your own family plan.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a crime that occurs when one person uses the private and confidential data of another to steal or otherwise use that person’s identity. This can result in the person opening multiple credit cards, taking out a car loan or borrowing money in other ways in your name. Identity theft costs American citizens millions of dollars every year.
How Does it Compare to Medical Identity Theft?
Though you may not realize it, there is a chance that someone can use your identity to either fraudulently obtain health care insurance or use your own insurance. This often requires the use of a team who work together. Many teams have someone working inside a hospital or a doctor’s office who can steal your insurance information and use that insurance to get treatments elsewhere.
The main problem with medical identity theft is that you may not even know it happens until you get a bill in the mail. Your insurance company may send you a bill for the remainder of your treatment, which lets you know that someone else used your insurance. Even if you file charges, the insurer may still hold you responsible for that balance.
Potential Identity Theft Problems
When you learn that you were a victim of identity theft, you must contact law enforcement and file an official complaint. The police will then investigate and decide whether to press charges or find more evidence. Though you might think the process is easy, there are a number of potential problems and issues that can arise.
The main problem is that the creditor may not believe your claim. Creditors will often ask for proof that you are who you say you are and that you did not take out that line of credit, which is often hard to prove. If the creditor does not believe your claim, it may hold you responsible for paying back the money borrowed.
Each of those debts will also appear on your credit report, and when the identity theft stops making payments, those missed payments and defaults will cause your credit score to slowly drop. This can make it difficult or even impossible for you to obtain credit of your own in the future.
Of the programs and packages that LifeLock offers, the most basic is LifeLock Standard, which you can sign up for online. The company charges a fee of less than $10 per month for this service. It comes with $25,000 worth of stolen funds protection that will help you replace the funds that you lost up to this total amount.
Purchasing this package also provides you with the company’s Identity Alert System that will send out alerts every time it finds your name or social security number used somewhere in credit records. You decide how you want to receive those alerts, and the company will send alerts via email, a phone call or a text message. Its Privacy Monitor tool can monitor the web for usage of your name and let you know about those mentions to increase your privacy online.
You might hear the term black market and wonder what it means. This refers to the dark web, which is the criminal portion of the web. Shoppers can buy everything from illegal drugs and weapons to social security numbers and credit cards on the back market.
With LifeLock Standard, you get black market website surveillance. LifeLock will use patented computer technology to search for your name and personal information on more than 10,000 black market websites. If it finds any of your information, it will automatically notify you.
Your package comes with lost wallet protection too. When you lose your wallet or have your wallet stolen, you need to contact every credit card company to turn off your old cards and issue you new cards. You may need to replace your social security card, driver’s license or other personal documents too, but LifeLock offers a service designed to make replacing all those cards easier.
One common reason why identity theft occurs is because of the pre-approved credit card offers you get through your mail because identity thieves can use those offers to open credit lines in your name. LifeLock can help you get your name off those lists to receive fewer offers through the mail. You’ll also learn what to do when someone takes out a credit card in your name.
Another helpful feature is the $1 guarantee offered by the company. LifeLock guarantees that if anyone steals your identity while you are a paid member that it will spend up to $1 million of its own money to pay attorneys, legal fees and other expenses that can come out as you fight back against that thief.
LifeLock offers plenty of support too like identity restoration support that can help you more easily restore your identity when someone steals it. With live member support, you can also go online and contact customer support 24/7, including on holidays and weekends. All other packages available from the company come with these services and others too.
With LifeLock Advantage, you have the option of paying just $19.99 per month or an annual fee of $219.99 to get more protection than the Standard plan offers. It comes with all the benefits of that plan but with new features like credit and banking alerts. These alerts help significantly reduce fraudulent activity on all your accounts.
The way it works is pretty simple and highly convenient too. LifeLock will put all your credit card information and banking account, including checking and savings account, details in one place, which makes it easier to look for for errors. LifeLock will notify you each time someone makes a large withdraw from one of your accounts, makes a large purchase with one of your accounts or transfers a balance from one account to another, which can occur when a thief transfers a balance from one credit card to a card in your name.
Fictitious identity theft occurs when someone uses your social security number but links it to another name. This can help a person use your identity to find a new job or open a credit card that connects back to you. LifeLock will both scan the web and credit reports for your social security number as well as any addresses or names attached to that number.
Did you know that identity thieves can use your name to get themselves out of hot water with the law? When a police officer pulls someone over, that individual can give the officer your name and date of birth or even show a false driver’s license with that person’s photo on the front but your name on it. This can result in you losing out on new jobs or getting credit because of black marks on your criminal record.
LifeLock is one of the only identity theft protection companies that offers court record scans that let the company scan all public court records online to find any instance of your name or other personal details in your record. It will alert you of any instances it finds. You will also get help disputing those charges and cleaning up your record.
Many people suffered financial losses and lost their credit card information after hackers attacked both Target and Walmart. LifeLock offers protection through data breach notifications. It monitors retail shops, insurers, private employers and even hospitals and doctors’ offices for data breaches. If it finds a security breach that will possibly hurt you, the company will send you a notification.
One of the best ways to protect your identity and keep an eye out for threats is with regular credit monitoring. You have the legal right to pull a copy of your credit report at least one time every year. Doing so is a little confusing and can take some time though, which is why LifeLock makes this easier.
LifeLock gives you secure access to your credit report, which lets you look for minor errors like a missed or late payment as well as more serious issues that might indicate someone stole your identity. You also have secure access to your credit score, and LifeLock will show you what credits look for when processing your credit application. If you think you need more protection, take a look at the company’s Ultimate Plus plan.
LifeLock Ultimate Plus
LifeLock calls its Ultimate Plus plan the best protection against identity thieves. You can pay a $29.99 monthly fee or pay an annual fee of $329.99 when you sign up as a new member. The plan comes with all the same benefits as the other plan but with some new benefits as well as up to $1 million in funds that the company will replace, if you become a victim of an identity thief after paying for a plan.
The problem with catching identity thieves is that many operate outside of your current city or state. While police can go to a local credit union, look at security footage and see that someone else used your name to open a credit card or bank account, they cannot do the same thing when thieves work on the other side of the country. That is why LifeLock will monitor all major financial institutions to keep you safe.
With its checking and savings account application monitoring, LifeLock will track all major financial institutions, including credit unions and traditional banks, for any signs of your name or social security number, which you need when opening a new account. It actually tracks institutions all across the country too. If it finds someone using your information on an application, it will send you an alert and help you close that account and prove your own identity.
You also get something called bank account takeover protection. Hackers can break through firewalls and other security features to take over your bank accounts. While some thieves will simply move or drain your account, others will add themselves as authorized users, which they can then use to request a debit card linked to your account or check books that let them use that account.
LifeLock will monitor your bank account for any new users and send you an alert when it finds one. If you made that change, you can let the company know and update your account, but if this is an unauthorized user, LifeLock will help you remove those users from your account. You can even get help opening a new and different bank account.
If you have an investment portfolio or a retirement portfolio, you probably put money back with each paycheck or a few times a year to set aside money for your future. LifeLock offers account monitoring that both monitors your portfolios and accounts for fraudulent activity and notifies you of that activity. This simple service can protect your future nest egg.
You may not know that when a creditor pulls your credit, it can drop your score by a few points. When a thief opens credit lines in your name, it can cause your credit score to drop before that person spends a dime. LifeLock can notify you each time a creditor runs your name, which can help you know when someone tries to fraudulently use your identity.
In addition to the free credit report that you get with the last plan, the Ultimate Plus plan comes with access to all three of the major credit reporting agencies, which use different factors when determining your credit score. You can also track your credit score every month. This lets you see when you score drops significantly, which may indicate that someone opened new credit lines with your information.
Though you may not know it, you risk exposing yourself online each time you use a popular file sharing site, including those that let you share photos of your family and friends and those you use to search for music and videos. LifeLock is the only company that offers monitoring of those top sites to identify anyone who gained information from those files. This feature is only available with the Ultimate Plus plan.
Another reason to sign up for this plan is because it comes with scanning and monitoring of sex offender registries. If a criminal uses your name and social security number when arrested for a sexual crime, it can result in you landing on one of these registries, which can damage your reputation. The Ultimate Plus plan from LifeLock will notify you when your name appears on one.
Any member of your family who is under the age of 18 deserves identity theft protection of their very own. That is why LifeLock now offers a Junior plan that you can purchase with any adult plan. It costs $65.99 a year, or you can sign up for a monthly fee of $5.99. This plan comes with some of the same features as its adult plans with some features designed specifically for younger users.
The LifeLock Identity Alert System monitors banks, financial institutions, creditors and private companies for any references to your child and sends an alert that lets you know when someone used your child’s identity. As with the adult plan, you can choose between receiving text messages, emails or phone calls. Restoration specialists will then help you fix those problems and recover your child’s identity.
With its black market web surveillance, you’ll never again worry about someone selling your child’s personal information online. Kids can randomly stumble across websites and reveal more about them than you would like, and thieves often target kids because they know that most will not learn of any credit problems until they turn 18. This feature lets you know each time someone mentions your child or attempts to sell the child’s personal details.
The Junior plan comes with file sharing network searches too because these sites are so popular among kids looking for new videos and music. Even if you use security software, kids can steal reveal information online that thieves can use. LifeLock monitors and searches those sites to find out if anyone gained access to that information and will automatically alert you when/if it finds anything.
As a parent, you may carry private or personal information relating to your children in your own wallet, including social security cards or student cards from their schools. If someone steals your wallet, you may have no idea of what you should do next. LifeLock will jump into action as soon as you call to help you replace all those valuable cards.
Though it was once pretty easy for people to turn on utilities or take out new credit cards with a minor’s identity, new lending rules made this a little harder, but that doesn’t mean someone can’t use your child’s identity before he or she comes of age. That is why LifeLock offers credit file detection that monitors credit files and lending companies for your child’s name and social security number to let you know when someone attempts to use your son’s or daughter’s identity.
Members under the age of 18 get a $1 million service guarantee that states LifeLock will pay out up to $1 million out of its own pocket to pay legal fees and any other costs you face when fighting an identity thief. You also get a stolen funds replacement of up to $25,000. If a thief uses your child’s name to take out lines of credit and you cannot recover those funds, the company will reimburse you up to this amount.
As with other plans, you get lots of support from the company too. LifeLock offers both life member support that you can access anytime you need and identity restoration support that helps you restore your child’s identity.
Building a LifeLock Family Plan
Now that you know more about the plans available from LifeLock, you can build a plan based around your family. While the company does not offer dedicated family plans, it gives you the option of picking a plan for you, a plan for your spouse and then signing up for a Junior plan for each of your minor children. You can create a family plan for less than $30 a month that covers both you and your child, or you can purchase additional coverage for other members of your home.
Though you already know that you need a Junior plan, you may need some help picking the best adult plan that will cover and protect you. All plans come with great features like lost wallet protection, black market web surveillance, a $1 million service guarantee and live support. Each plan also comes with address change verification to let you know when someone requests an address change in your name, which identity thieves often do to keep new bills from coming to your home.
You may want to look at the maximum amount of stolen funds replaced with each program. The basic plan will only give you back up to $25,000, but the Advantage plan will replace up to $100,000 of the money that you lose. With the Ultimate Plus plan, LifeLock will give you up to $1 million to cover the funds that you lost.
Though no one call tell you exactly which plan is right for you, you should really build a family plan around what you can afford to spend. Paying the entire fee upfront can help you save over the cost of paying a monthly fee. With a LifeLock family plan that you build yourself, you can protect every member in your family from both traditional identity theft as well as medical identity theft.