Whether you’ve been a victim of identity theft or you’re trying to be proactive to avoid the damage and upheaval of identity theft, identity theft services can help keep your information safe in the future. However, once you’re ready to move forward, you’ll need to choose which identity theft service to move forward.
There are a variety of services available to assist you with identity theft, but not all offer the same benefits or services. You’ll need to do some research to find out which one offers the help that you’re looking for. We’re here to help you know what to look for, what’s covered, and how these services work.
How Does It Work?
Identity theft services are available to help prevent and minimize the damage of identity theft. This can include alerting you to any potential breaches or fraudulent activity regarding your personal information. They do this by monitoring websites and databases for this information, which can include your social security number, bank account details, ID numbers, and even email and passwords. Additional options may be offered for credit monitoring, which will track and monitor your credit and credit score for any updates or changes.
What is Covered? What's not?
Identity theft services vary in what products and services they provide, so it’s important to know what may or may not be covered. Some of them may be considered optional or may be available at an additional cost, while other services may include them all.
Identity Theft Monitoring
Identity theft monitoring is a crucial part of these services, but there are different forms of monitoring that you’ll want to make sure are included. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your identity to commit financial fraud or criminal activity, which can include fraudulent charges, new loans or lines of credit, tax fraud, ID theft, and much more. These forms of monitoring include dark web and black-market transactions, criminal records, public records, healthcare fraud, and any known scams or fraud that may impact your personal information.
Some things that you may want to investigate include alerts and pre-existing theft events. It’s important to know how and when alerts regarding identity theft are issued. Timely, clear alerts can help you avoid and minimize the damage you may experience. Additionally, you may discover theft events that were previously unknown to you that need action and recovery. These events may not be included in your service, so make sure to find one that can assist you even if these pre-existing events are discovered.
Credit monitoring looks for any of the fraudulent or criminal activity that is specifically tied to your credit. This can include inquiries and opening of new loans or lines of credit, delinquent accounts, or other credit events that may impact your credit score. There are 3 major credit bureaus that lenders utilize to verify your credit score when they extend credit. Many services will provide you with the option to decide which of the credit bureaus that you would like to monitor, while others may include all 3 bureaus with their service.
Again, you’ll want to look into how any potential alerts are provided to ensure that you can minimize the impact you experience. Additionally, you’ll also want to explore the options available for credit score tracking. Your credit score can be a great indicator of potential fraud, especially if it’s declining unexpectedly. Depending on the service, you can receive tracking updates monthly, quarterly, or have it available all the time.
Another vital component of identity theft services is the opportunity for recovery assistance for victims. There is a large assortment of recovery services that these companies choose to utilize and offer, making it particularly important to research.
Many of these identity theft services will offer a fully managed recovery utilizing a Limited Power of Attorney (LPOA). You’ll want to verify the access and updates you’ll have for the victim cases being pursued. Some services, like Benefits Plus, offer a team of licensed investigators and examiners who specialize in different aspect of fraud to ensure that you have all the resources to manage and repair the damage from the fraud. Others will offer services from specific individuals, like a licensed private investigator.
The process of recovering and repairing the damage of identity theft can be intensive and time consuming. Having the additional resources to manage and complete this process can be invaluable as you deal with the fallout as a victim.
Educational opportunities and updates on current scams and risks can help you to avoid falling victim to identity theft. Some of these services offer newsletters with updates on current trends, potential risks, and tips to keep your information safe. You may also find websites or other resources created solely for the purpose of educating customers like yourself on how to stay safe, keep your information protected, and how to respond should you become a victim of identity theft.
Services to look for and to avoid
Beyond the basic services included with the identity theft services, there are still a few other things to look for and to avoid. A lot of these considerations will be made based on your circumstances and what fits best for what kind of service you need.
An important aspect to consider is who is included in the service. Some include the entire household regardless of the cost or plan, while others provide individual coverage and can be upgraded to include more people for an additional price. Benefits Plus® even includes parents living with adult children, at an assisted living facility or skilled nursing home, or who have been deceased for twelve months of less. Depending on your situation, these coverage options may influence which service is best for you.
Extra costs may also be charged for some of the previous services we’ve discussed. Some services and monitoring may be considered optional, like credit monitoring. This can include increasing specific services like credit monitoring from a single bureau to all 3 bureaus or upgrading your credit score tracking from quarterly to monthly.
There can be a lot to consider and compare when you’re looking at different identity theft services. Overall, you’ll want to look for the most coverage possible, especially in areas that you know you may be at greater risk of theft.
Here at Wasatch Peaks, we offer our Benefits Plus® program, available with any of our checking accounts for just $6 a month. This program includes access to our Ultimate ID® Theft Protection, which includes identity theft monitoring, credit monitoring from all 3 major credit bureaus, and a team of certified recovery advocates. They will keep you notified of any suspicious activity and will monitor the black market, social media, and dark web to ensure your personal information has not been leaked.