6 Important Benefits of Having Identity Theft Programs
As cybercriminals grow more sophisticated, the average business won’t always succeed in keeping them out completely. Large corporations sometimes have data leaks that compromise customers’ personal information. Organizations that have your Social Security Number (SSN) on file usually have cybersecurity experts on staff, but even systems implemented and monitored by professionals are not foolproof.
No matter what you do to protect yourself, your information could be leaked by someone else. Identity theft protection programs allow you to monitor your data and receive an alert if any new financial activity is conducted in your name. Here are six important benefits of having an identity theft program subscription.
Benefits of Identity Theft Programs
Dark Web Monitoring
Most banks do an excellent job of quickly letting you know if a fraudulent credit card transaction has been made in your name. However, they don’t usually monitor your information for appearing on the dark web, which is the part of the internet where hackers and other criminals buy and sell information.
When your credit card number, password, Social Security Number, or other personal data appears on the dark web, you need to act fast to secure your information and change what you can. Identity theft monitoring programs scan the dark web to give you this critical warning ahead of potential fraud. Without it, you might end up reacting to fraud events instead of proactively avoiding them.
Identity theft programs can be configured to send you text, email, or app alerts as soon as they detect possible fraud. They may ask you to confirm a recent transaction, line of credit, state identification card, or another event linked to your credit card or Social Security Number.
These alerts often come through minutes after a transaction occurs, but depending on the reporting method, they may come a few days or weeks later. By reviewing these alerts as soon as you get them, you can make sure your financial and personal information stays out of the wrong hands.
It’s essential to ensure the alert is authentic before providing any information, especially if the alert is coming via phone call, email, or text message. If in any doubt, you can call the identity theft monitoring provider directly instead of responding to the messages from them. They’ll be able to confirm the events or give you more information about what to do next.
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In some cases, the aftermath of a fraudulent loan or transaction caught by an identity theft monitoring program can take weeks to repair. This is especially true if the criminal managed to commit multiple fraudulent acts in a short period.
Many identity theft programs have experts on hand to give you personalized assistance when their systems detect fraud. They can help you reach out to banks and other creditors to clear up any new accounts that have been opened. They can also help you communicate with the major credit bureaus to remove incorrect information from your line of credit.
Plus, these experts work behind the scenes to investigate the fraud themselves and identify steps you can take to prevent a recurrence. They can also report the information to law enforcement to help them identify the criminals and even recover some of your money.
Protecting Childrens’ Future
Child identity theft is a growing problem because of how easy it is for someone to take out a line of credit in a child’s name. Because credit bureaus can’t verify all the information of someone who’s opening a line of credit, they don’t always realize that the Social Security Number and name in use belong to a child.
This type of fraud isn’t always preventable just by being careful about your child’s information online. In some cases, a child’s relatives will steal the identity and abuse it.
Thieves love to use children’s information because they have a clean line of credit. Although they won’t have much beneficial credit history yet, thieves can build that up briefly before bringing it crashing back down by running up fraudulent charges.
If your identity is abused, you can send a letter to notify the banks and other institutions. Usually, they can cancel the charges. However, some charges are more difficult to erase than others. In cases where nobody detects the fraud right away, you might end up on the hook for at least part of the bill.
Some identity theft programs include insurance that protects you if the fraud is not caught in time. You may use this money to cover fraudulent charges, legal fees, or both, depending on the terms and conditions of the program. This peace of mind is a massive relief for growing families who need to cover current and future expenses like college and retirement.
Crime and Medical Identity Theft
Although financial identity theft is commonplace, two sneakier forms of theft are even harder to catch on your own. Criminal identity theft involves stealing someone’s identity for committing a crime. This makes it much easier for the criminal to flee while out on bail, leaving you stuck with a warrant out for your arrest.
Medical identity theft involves a criminal posing as you, to access your medical benefits, often because they have your insurance membership ID card or number. This identity theft usually works by billing your existing medical insurance plan, but sometimes the thief will sign up for a government program in your name. Medical insurance fraud can continue for years unnoticed, especially if the insurance company never catches on.
This kind of situations can be really serious in the long run that's why you might want protection as early as now. There's a lot of great companies that offer security like Lifelock ID theft protection programs and some other good options.
Identity theft programs sometimes stop this type of theft from occurring in the first place by notifying you when your personal information has been found on the dark web. Other times, the program may notice new public records related to an arrest in your name or medical debt sent to collectors.
Read More: Lifelock Family Plans Guide
How to Get the Best Identity Theft Prevention Program
Some credit monitoring services include identity theft monitoring as a separate add-on option. However, antivirus programs include dark web monitoring and other identity theft services as part of the package.
If your bank already offers basic credit monitoring, consider a more tech-focused solution covering the other benefits you need. Look at services’ features closely to find the best option for you, especially if you have children who need identity theft monitoring as well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Calvin Fellows is a former military security agent and police detective who headed security administration. Calvin is experienced and knowledgeable in all avenues of personal and corporate security, and is dedicated to educating people on how to preempt any physical or cyber security attacks before they happen.
calvin fellows // Security Expert
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