According to Experian, identity theft will impact 1 in 20 people in the United States. Whether the identity theft has to do with debit or credit cards, financial accounts and loans, or government information, the victim is left to deal with the fallout and recovery.
Identity theft protection services are available to alert victims of identity theft and assist as they try to get their lives back in order. What do these services include? Are they worth it? We’ve got the answers to help you decide if identity theft protection is a good choice for you.
Impacts of Identity Theft
Identity theft includes fraudulent financial charges, lines of credit or loans, or even falsified taxes and stolen government-issued IDs. The effects of these crimes on the victims can be immense. According to Javelin’s 2020 Identity Fraud Survey, U.S. consumers paid $3.5 billion in out-of-pocket costs connected to identity theft. If the financial accounts aren’t liable for fraud, this can mean the victims have no way to reclaims those lost funds.
Additionally, victims must deal with the emotional fallout of the crimes. The Identity Theft Resource Center reported that of those who had experienced identity theft, 77% experienced increased stress levels and 55% felt fatigue. Identifying the damage and managing the recovery can take a lot of dedication, time, and effort for the victims. This can be an overwhelming process to go through during a devastating time.
Identity Theft Recovery
Recovering from identity theft can be an intensive process that requires time and effort. Once the fraud or crimes have been identified, you will need to begin repairing the damage.
This will begin by contacting companies related to the fraud, closing or freezing accounts, updating account credentials, and placing a fraud alert or credit freeze on your information. This may also be the appropriate time to file a police report. The reparations will continue as you remove and contest bogus charges, request corrections and contest inquiries on your credit report, and replace government-issued IDs. In extreme cases, you may need clear your name from criminal charges that took place under your stolen identity.
Identity Theft Services
Identity theft services are available to provide credit monitoring, alerts, and recovery assistance. Prevention or early recognition of fraud and identity theft crimes can make a big difference when it comes to minimizing the damage incurred by victims. For prevention, they can monitor your credit with each of the credit bureaus and alert you to any new inquiries or credit under your name.
They also assist in monitoring to find any potential security breaches or personal information that has been shared online. These services can monitor information that is often outside of your own resources and notify victims as soon as any fraud or potential fraud has been identified. This can include monitoring on social media, black market websites, and the dark web. If any leaked information or security risks are discovered, alerts are sent out to notify victims so immediate action can be taken.
Identity theft services can also help assist you throughout the recovery process by providing resources, professional recovery advocates, remediation, and more. With some services, a specific advocate will work on and manage your identity theft case, so you don’t have to. This assistance can help relieve some of the stress you experience as a victim, especially in a situation that is already stressful.
Is Identity Theft Protection Worth It?
If you have already been the victim of identity theft or don’t have the resources to adequately monitor your credit, utilizing identity theft protect is worth it. Identity theft protection services vary in cost and offerings, so it’s important to make sure you find a service that is reasonably priced and offers the help you need.
Wasatch Peaks offers our Benefits Plus® program for just $6/month with any of our checking accounts. Included in the Benefits Plus® program is access to Ultimate ID® – a program offering credit monitoring and identity theft services. This includes access to credit monitoring with Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, monitoring social media and black-market websites for your information, secure credential storage, and alerts for credit inquiries. There are also remediation services available, with profession recovery advocates available to manage your recovery process and assist in lost document replacement.