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Updated on Tuesday, February 23, 2016
You spend your lifetime paying bills on time, saving for retirement and building good credit. But, in a blink of an eye, it can all get snatched away if your identity is stolen.
Since keeping our identity safe is also protecting our livelihood, companies like TrustedID provide identity protection services to individuals and families. The IDEssentials product offered by TrustedID includes identity theft protection, credit monitoring and identity theft insurance.
Let’s discuss the product in detail.
The service includes free credit reports, credit monitoring and credit scores from all three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. TrustedID uses the Equifax Credit Score model to calculate your credit score and not the FICO score model.
The FICO score is still considered industry standard and used by most lenders to determine your creditworthiness. But, the Equifax Credit Score is just as good in this situation. The purpose of the credit report and score monitoring is to alert you if there’s significant change to any of your accounts that could indicate identity theft. A FICO score isn’t required to measure change.
Another key part of the IDEssentials product is identity monitoring to see if anyone is using your personal information. TrustedID also performs online searches using your information to give you an Identity Theft Score. The Identity Theft Scores shows how at risk you are for identity theft. We’ll discuss this in more detail in the next section.
Aside from the services above, the IDEssentials product includes:
- Lost Wallet Protection
- Medical Benefits Protection
- Junk Mail Reduction
- $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance
- Protection Specialists
- Fraud Alerts
- Facebook Privacy Monitoring
Identity Threat Score
The Identity Threat Score is one aspect of IDEssentials that sets it apart from other identity protection products. According to TrustedID, identity thieves are getting craftier in their approach. Fraudsters can piece together bits of information here and there on cyberspace to steal your full identity.
In order to determine how at risk you are for identity theft, TrustedID analyzes data about you online including sources where your information can be found and how much information is readily available. After assigning you a risk score, TrustedID offers suggestions to help you avoid theft.
In the fine print, there’s mention that the service is not guaranteed to catch all instances of your personal information online. The Identity Threat Score isn’t foolproof, but it may still be a worthwhile resource.
TrustedID $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance Explained
Something TrustedID doesn’t offer is restoration specialists to help you recover your identity if it’s stolen. But, it does provide insurance to help you recoup costs incurred while restoring your own identity. Included in the insurance policy is coverage for:
- Lost Wages – If you need to take off from work to restore your identity, the insurance policy will cover up to 4 weeks of wages or up to $5,000.
- General Out-of-Pocket Expenses – Along with lost wages, TrustedID will pay for approved expenses necessary to restore your identity like extra credit reports or postage.
- Legal Defense – TrustedID will also cover the cost of an approved attorney if you need assistance in a legal claim resulting from identity theft.
To get warranty coverage, you have to notify TrustedID before taking any action on your own and within 30 days of discovering identity theft. TrustedID does not reimburse you for money lost from theft, but it will cover costs necessary to recover funds from someone else.
Cost of TrustedID
TrustedID offers two plans for individuals and families. Each plan includes a 14-day free trial period.
Family Plan – The annual family plan costs $300 per year or $25 per month. You can cancel the plan at any time and get a refund for months you don’t use. The month-to-month family plan is $29.99 per month.
Individual Plan – The annual plan for individual subscription is $170 per year or $14.17 per month. You can cancel at any time and get a refund for the months you don’t use. The month-to-month individual plan is $16.99 per month.
TrustedID is transparent in its advertisement of the service. It positions itself as a monitoring service instead of one that can prevent identity theft altogether; something no company can really promise. Still, credit monitoring and reports are things you can get for free.
You can obtain free credit reports and monthly monitoring from sites like Credit Karma. Some credit card companies even offer free credit scores and credit monitoring with products. Check there first.
Most banks and credit card companies also allow you to set up spending alerts. If you set up these notifications, you can catch fraud on your own.
Other Identity Theft Alternatives
For comparison sake, here are two more options for identity theft protection:
IdentityGuard offers three plans. Each plan includes identity theft victim assistance, $1 million of identity theft insurance, social security monitoring, black market monitoring and lost wallet protection. Here’s the cost of the three plans:
- IdentityGuard Essentials – $9.99 per month, includes the basic services above.
- IdentityGuard Total Protection – $19.99 per month, includes services above plus quarterly credit reports and score updates.
- IdentityGuard Platinum – $24.99 per month, includes services above plus monthly credit reports and score updates.
Zander’s Identity theft protection services start at $6.75 per month for individuals or $12.90 per month for families. This service is quite affordable, but doesn’t offer credit monitoring at all. This can certainly be done for free elsewhere, using sites like CreditKarma, but if that’s something you want on auto-pilot then Zander may not be the best fit. Zander will make sure your information isn’t being sold on the black market, and it also offers a comprehensive identity restoration service. Alerts are received via email.
Is TrustedID Worth the Cost?
The Identity Theft Score and identity theft insurance are two parts of the TrustedID service that provide the most value. But, if you plan to pay for identity protection, you should probably look for a service that includes identity restoration as well.
After all, recovering your identity after theft is the stressful part.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. So, you may benefit more from a service like IdentityGuard because it includes monitoring, insurance coverage and restoration services for a few dollars more each month.