Tag: Identity Theft Protection

Advertiser Disclosure

Identity Theft Protection, Reviews

Review: ProtectMyID Identity Protection

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Advertiser Disclosure

Pickpocketing at the subway station

Experian is one of three major credit bureaus that collect data to produce our credit reports and scores. One of the products Experian offers is ProtectMyID, an identity theft protection service. ProtectMyID will monitor your Experian credit report and other sources to detect and prevent identity theft.

ProtectMyID Identity Protection at a Glance

This product is broken down into three main components, detection, prevention and resolution.

Detection – ProtectMyID keeps its eyes peeled for any threats against your identity in a few ways. It monitors your Experian credit report daily for the 50 top indicators of identity theft such as new loans and medical records in collections. You also get one free Experian credit report when you sign up. Whenever changes are detected on your Experian report, you’ll get a notification.

ProtectMyID will also monitor the national change of address database to pick up on anyone attempting to forward your mail to their own home. It performs internet scans with your accounts and Social Security number in dark places of the web where sensitive information is bought and sold.

Prevention – If you lose your wallet, an identity theft representative can assist you in cancelling and replacing your cards. You can subscribe to the ChildSecure service as well. This service will alert you if any accounts are opened using your child’s name and Social Security number.

Resolution – ProtectMyID partners you with a fraud specialist if your identity is stolen. This specialist will guide you through the necessary steps to restore your identity including contacting the police and setting up fraud alerts for your file at all three credit bureaus.

Part of the resolution service is $1 million of identity theft insurance. This insurance will cover costs associated with reinstating your identity and, in some cases, pay you back for unauthorized electronic transfers.

Out of all the ProtectMyID services, restoration and insurance hold the most value.

The ProtectMyID $1 Million Insurance Policy

So, what exactly does this insurance policy cover?

It reimburses you for lost wages, travel expenses and elder or child care costs you incur while resolving identity theft.

Of course, there are some limits to this coverage. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Lost wages – $1,500 per week, for 5 weeks maximum
  • Travel expenses – $1,000 per policy period
  • Elder, spouse or child care – $2,000 per policy period

Besides the expenses above, the identity theft insurance policy will cover the cost of re-filing loans, ordering medical records, notarizing documents, replacing your IDs and other expenses needed to restore your identity.

Hiring an attorney and private investigator may be covered if you choose someone to represent you approved by ProtectMyID.

In the case of unauthorized electronic transfer, the insurance policy pays out the principal amount stolen from your accounts. But, only after you seek reimbursement from your financial institution first and it’s proven that the transaction did happen because of fraud outside of your control.

The deductible for the insurance plan is $0 from the start.

The Cost of ProtectMyID

ProtectMyID costs $15.95 per month and it comes with a 14-day money back guarantee. There’s a 10% discount for adults 55 and over.

As mentioned, ProtectMyID offers you one free credit report from Experian in addition to regular monitoring. If you want another report from Experian or from any of the other two credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax, you’ll need to buy them.

(Remember, you’re also entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from www.annualcreditreport.com.)

Other Identity Theft Alternatives

Identity Guard has credit monitoring, credit reports and credit scores from all three credit bureaus, if you choose one of the two premium plans.

The very basic plan (without credit monitoring) includes database scans of your Social Security number, ID verification alerts, lost wallet protection and $1 million of identity theft insurance.

Here are the plans in detail.

  • Identity Guard Essentials – $9.99 per month for identity theft victim assistance, lost wallet protection and online “black” market monitoring.
  • Identity Guard Total Protection – $19.99 per month for everything in Identity Guard Essentials plus address change monitoring and 3-bureau credit report monitoring quarterly.
  • Identity Guard Platinum – $24.99 per month for everything in Identity Guard Essentials plus address change monitoring and 3-bureau credit report monitoring monthly.

IdentityForce offers two plans that monitor public records and the back alley internet for your personal information. There’s also 24/7 identity restoration and $1 million of identity theft insurance.

A step beyond the basic service, the premium plan includes daily credit monitoring of all three credit bureaus along with credit reports and scores.

Here’s the breakdown of costs.

  • UltraSecure+Credit – $239.50 per year or $23.95 per month
  • UltraSecure – $179.50 per year or $17.95 per month

Is ProtectMyID Worth the Cost?

ProtectMyID is competitively priced compared to other identity theft protection services and the insurance coverage is a key benefit. But, ProtectMyID doesn’t monitor all three credit bureaus. This is a red flag.

Your credit reports aren’t the same across the board, so having only one credit report monitored for fraud puts you at a disadvantage. Even ProtectMyID mentions the importance of monitoring all of your credit reports on the website facts page. But, getting all of these reports on ProtectMyID will cost you money.

Identity Guard or IdentityForce are both services that will monitor all three credit bureaus for you. Or you can use a free site like Credit Karma to monitor them on your own. Credit Karma offers free reports from Equifax and TransUnion.

Keep in mind, unauthorized transactions can happen on your current accounts and that won’t get picked up on your credit reports right away. ProtectMyID is not a substitute for setting alerts on your accounts for suspicious bank and credit card activity.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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Identity Theft Protection, Reviews

Review: LifeLock Identity Theft Protection

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Advertiser Disclosure

Pickpocketing at the subway station

LifeLock is one of the better-known identity theft protection companies out there, serving over 4 million customers. CEO Todd Davis is infamously known for advertising his Social Security number to the public, claiming that LifeLock would protect him, and then subsequently having his identity stolen 13 times.

With identity theft and the number of companies offering protection services on the rise, it’s natural to look into possible solutions. Having your identity stolen is not a simple matter and can be a harrowing process to go through. Although no company (or person) can completely prevent identity theft from happening, it’s worthwhile to look into the preventative measures you can take.

LifeLock has been around since 2005 and focuses primarily on protecting consumers against identity theft and fraud. Let’s take a look at what it offers.

Overview of LifeLock’s Identity Theft Protection

LifeLock is built upon three layers: detect, alert, and restore.

According to its website, LifeLock monitors over one trillion data points every day using its own technology to ensure your personal information isn’t being used by someone else. Depending on the plan you enroll in, LifeLock can also monitor your other financial accounts.

If LifeLock detects any suspicious activity, you’ll receive an alert via email, text, or phone asking whether or not you’ve taken a certain action with your information or accounts. In the event you did not take that action, Lifelock has a U.S. based support system that works around the clock to assist you in preventing fraud.

Should your identity or accounts get compromised, LifeLock representatives will work with you to restore your identity. You’re protected under a $1 million “total service guarantee” which means you won’t incur out-of-pocket expenses (such as hiring a lawyer, going to court, lost wages, or replacing documents) during the restoration process.

To expand on that, here’s a list of benefits LifeLock offers under the service guarantee. It largely serves to cover costs incurred as a direct result of identity theft. Contrary to what most people believe, the purpose of this guarantee isn’t to cover stolen funds if a thief uses your accounts or credit cards to make purchases.

LifeLock states it’s willing to pay $1 million toward the cost of getting your identity restored by hiring professionals, but that the $1 million total service guarantee is not considered insurance. If you look at the benefits offered, the only mention of covering stolen funds is the coverage of “Fraudulent Withdrawals.” LifeLock will cover up to $10,000 – $25,000 (depending on the level of service you choose) of “fraudulent withdrawals resulting from any one Stolen Identity Event.” That’s very different from purchasing a $1 million insurance policy in the event $1 million worth of funds are stolen from you.

Here are some of the services LifeLock offers:

  • Lost wallet protection: If your wallet is lost or stolen, LifeLock will help you cancel or replace credit cards and any form of identification you had on you.
  • Address change alerts: If a change of address request is made in your name, you’ll be notified.
  • Decrease in pre-approved credit card offers: LifeLock will get your name taken off the mailing lists for pre-approved credit cards.
  • Identity restoration: Representatives are available at any time should your identity be stolen.
  • Court records scanning: This ensures your identity isn’t associated with any crimes you didn’t commit.
  • Monitoring financial accounts: LifeLock can monitor your credit card, checking, savings, investment, and retirement accounts for suspicious activity.

As you might notice, many of these services are offered for free – you can do them yourself, or your credit card or bank will help you resolve any issues should they arise.

For example, LifeLock offers to send you credit reports from the three major bureaus, which you can obtain for free at www.annualcreditreport.com.

The main thing to focus on is the identity restoration service, as that’s what you’ll be paying for if your information is compromised.

How it Works

Signing up for service through LifeLock takes a few minutes via the website. You’ll need your Social Security number, credit card information, and personal information to register. Keep in mind that when you register, LifeLock will only be monitoring your information. Your spouse and children aren’t included – separate plans must be purchased for each individual.

LifeLock sends alerts via email, text, and phone. Email and text are likely to be the quickest, as phone alerts only occur during normal business hours. Besides, if you don’t normally answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize, an alert may go missed.

Once you receive an alert, you can respond to it via email, text, or your online account, and view the full report associated with it. If action needs to be taken, you can contact a representative immediately.

[Worth It Or Not? Identity Theft Protection Reviewed]

How Much Does it Cost?

There are three types of plans offered:

  • Standard: $9.99 per month, or $109.89 annually ($9.16 per month). This includes the alert system, lost wallet protection, address change verification, receiving less pre-approved credit card offers, dark web surveillance, 24/7/365 access to support, and a $1 million total service guarantee.
  • Advantage: $19.99 per month, or $219.89 annually ($18.32 per month). This comes with everything the Standard plan has, plus fictitious identity monitoring, court records scanning, data breach notifications, credit card, checking, and savings account activity alerts, and an online credit report from one bureau.
  • Ultimate Plus: $29.99 per month, or $329.89 annually ($27.49 per month). In addition to the above, the Ultimate Plus plan gives you access to your credit report from all three bureaus, investment account activity alerts, alerts when someone applies for a checking or savings account in your name, a bank account takeover alert, credit inquiry activity, sex offender registry reports, and more.

It’s worth noting that LifeLock doesn’t provide alerts for all transactions, and it can change which types of transactions it monitors at any time. That’s why we recommend signing up for alerts via your bank and credit card accounts.

For credit activity, you can sign up with Credit Karma or Credit Sesame for free. Either company will provide you with alerts when a new inquiry is made.

Transparency Levels

LifeLock has not been known for its transparency over the years. In fact, the FTC took legal action against LifeLock in 2010, and is investigating the company again at the time of writing. The FTC claims that LifeLock has violated its 2010 order to tighten its security by:

1) failing to establish and maintain a comprehensive information security program to protect its users’ sensitive personal data, including credit card, social security, and bank account numbers; 2) falsely advertising that it protected consumers’ sensitive data with the same high-level safeguards as financial institutions; and 3) failing to meet the 2010 order’s recordkeeping requirements.

On its FAQ page, LifeLock only addresses this by stating:

LifeLock maintains a standards-based information security program that is designed to provide a high level of protection of member data. The security program includes the use of industry-standard encryption, active monitoring and response to potential attacks, pro-active assessments to discover and remediate potential system vulnerabilities and physical security mechanisms.

LifeLock is compliant as a Level 1 merchant under the PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). PCI-DSS is a set of requirements that help protect cardholder data and is the accepted standard for all organizations that process credit card information.

However, LifeLock isn’t just an organization that processes credit card information. It handles extremely sensitive information, as it will be monitoring your financial accounts, and you’ll also be required to give your Social Security number over.

You can visit the website here to review all legal documents associated with LifeLock.

Other Alternatives

LifeLock is arguably a bit expensive for what it offers. Again, you’re mainly paying for the identity restoration service when enrolling in an identity theft protection program. You’re capable of setting up alerts on your other accounts and viewing your credit reports for free.

Zander is a great alternative because it’s slightly cheaper at $6.75 per month (or $75 annually). Family plans are $12.90 per month (or $145 annually), which aren’t offered with LifeLock. It’s a mostly no-frills identity protection service that comes with the basics. Alerts are only provided through email, and credit monitoring isn’t offered.

[Read our full Zander review here]

Prosper Daily (formerly BillGuard) is good solution if you’re looking for an app that does it all. In addition to monitoring your accounts and coming with identity restoration services, you can also track your spending. A basic account is free, a “Pro” account is $5 per month (or $35.88 annually), and the “Ultimate” account is $10 per month (or $83.88 annually).

Conclusion

LifeLock is one of the more expensive options out there, and with the ongoing investigation with the FTC and the lack of transparency offered by the company in the past, it’s not our top recommendation. You’re much better off choosing a less expensive identity theft protection service like Zander, while signing up for free alerts where you can.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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Advertiser Disclosure

Identity Theft Protection, Reviews

Zander Insurance Group Identity Theft Protection Review

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Advertiser Disclosure

Pickpocketing at the subway station

Over 16 million people were affected by identity theft in the United States in 2014, according to a recent study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. 86% of victims had their credit card or bank account compromised, while 4% had their identity used to open a new account.

With identity theft on the rise, you might be wondering if it’s worth paying for help to protect your identity and finances. Before considering whether or not an identity protection service is right for you, keep in mind that no company can completely prevent identity theft.

One company that offers identity theft protection is Zander Insurance Group. It’s personally endorsed by Dave Ramsey, and the company has been in business for over 80 years. It’s an affordable solution should you want assistance in recovering after experiencing identity theft.

Overview of Zander’s Identity Theft Protection Plan

Zander offers the following services with its identity theft protection plan:

  • Personal information monitoring
  • Unlimited recovery services
  • Child information scan
  • 100% recovery success
  • $1 million reimbursement
  • Proactive measures and support
  • Electronic stolen funds coverage

This might sound like an impressive list, but the reality is, most of these services you can get elsewhere for free. What you’re really paying for is the recovery service, because filling out the paperwork to reverse the damage is the most painful process associated with having your identity stolen.

As our guide on identity theft protection explains, you can set up an alert from any of your accounts so you know when a charge is made, and you can sign up for free credit monitoring through services such as Credit Karma and Credit Sesame.

Additionally, you can receive your credit report from the three bureaus for free at www.annualcreditreport.com, and you can put a freeze on your credit at any time for about $10. This takes care of “proactive measures.”

It’s important to understand what the $1 million insurance policy covers. You can read the full policy benefits here, but to summarize the document, the insurance will cover:

  • Costs incurred as a result of identity theft, such as replacing documents, postage required to get documents replaced, and obtaining credit reports
  • Lost wages as a result of having to take time off of work to deal with restoring your identity
  • Legal fees and expenses incurred as a result of having to go to court to contest any accounts opened without your knowledge due to identity theft, or to hire a lawyer

As you can tell, this policy only reimburses you for costs directly incurred from having your identity stolen. The coverage is useful in extreme situations. For example, if you file for your tax return and find that someone has already filed for it, you’ll have to deal with the IRS on top of everything else. That process could take weeks, or months, to get through.

If you don’t have the time to deal with the hassle of paperwork and phone calls to recover your identity, it could be worth paying for the identity restoration service, and Zander has one of the most affordable options.

On top of that, membership with Zander grants you access to an “ID Self Defense Academy” so you can educate yourself on how to reduce the risk of having your identity stolen.

If you’d like a detailed overview of what Zander offers, it has its benefits summary and terms of service available here.

[Worth It or Not? Identity Theft Protection Reviewed]

How it Works

Zander offers a comprehensive “Personal Information Monitoring” program along with its recovery service. While you can monitor your accounts and credit for free, Zander takes this one step further by conducting daily searches for your information online. It will search thousands of websites to ensure your information isn’t being sold. If it finds anything suspicious, you will be alerted immediately via email.

This service is optional and included in the identity theft protection plan. If you’d like to take advantage of it, you need to opt-in after signing up for membership.

The star of Zander’s identity theft protection is its full-service recovery plan. In the event your identity is stolen, Zander will file all the necessary paperwork and make phone calls on your behalf so you don’t have to deal with the process. A representative will work with you to restore your credit to its pre-theft status. (Zander is not a credit repair agency, and will not advise you on how to improve your credit score; it works to fix the damage that was done from identity theft.)

When Zander finds something suspicious, you will receive an email telling you to log into your account where you can view the full report. Included are instructions on what actions you need to take next. If necessary, a representative will help you, but not all alerts will require you to take action.

Note that Zander doesn’t offer credit monitoring, and it doesn’t have to with other companies offering this service for free. It will send you a reminder once every four months to check your credit report so you can stay on top of it.

Zander also doesn’t have access to your bank and credit card accounts, and it recommends you set up separate alerts and check in on those daily to lessen the chances of identity theft occurring.

If you receive an alert after business hours, you can submit a form online and a representative will contact you the following business day.

What Does it Cost?

Zander offers its services for individuals at $6.75 per month. If you sign up for a year of service, you’ll pay $75 (or $6.25 per month).

For a family plan, you’ll pay $12.90 per month, or $145 per year ($12.08 per month). The family plan covers your spouse and dependents up to age 26 who live with you.

Transparency Levels

Zander is upfront in stating that “no identity protection service can prevent identity theft from happening.” It places emphasis on its recovery services for that reason. We’re on the same page as Zander – we don’t believe you should be paying an arm and a leg for things you can do for free.

Zander’s customer service is also top-notch. The representatives are friendly and quick to respond.

Other Alternatives

Zander has a great identity theft protection plan for anyone not completely comfortable with technology, as it relies on email and its website for communication. If you prefer another solution, two we recommend are:

IDShield: Individual plans are $9.95 per month, and family plans are $10.95 per month. For that price, you get access to unlimited consultation, complete monitoring, and a $5 million service guarantee. Support agents are available “24/7/365 for emergency situations” as well. Its services are very similar to Zander’s.

Prosper Daily: (Formerly BillGuard) This is an app with three payment tiers. You can download it for free, but you can only connect one financial account. A “pro” account is $5 per month (or $35.88 for an annual membership) and allows you to connect four financial accounts. The “ultimate” account is $10 per month (or $83.88 for an annual membership), and you can connect an unlimited amount of accounts.

Prosper Daily offers a way to track your spending, credit score, and even the location of your purchases. It also alerts you whenever there’s fraud with your bank account, credit card, credit report, or if something is found on the black market. It will keep you up to date on data breaches as well. On top of all this, it offers identity restoration services and $1 million in identity theft insurance. It’s a good all-around solution if you’d rather handle your finances via mobile.

Paying for Peace of Mind

Zander is an affordable option for those that would like peace of mind when it comes to their credit. Identity theft can happen to anyone, and with hackers getting smarter and data breaches becoming more frequent, it pays to be on top of your financial accounts.

While you can do a majority of the monitoring yourself for free, restoring your credit may be difficult on your own. Check https://www.identitytheft.gov/ to get an idea of what the process looks like. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, consider outsourcing this to a company like Zander.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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