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.
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.
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.
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.