Identity theft is big business, and anyone who uses any online services must be cautious about protecting personal information related to identity theft. By using your personal cybercriminals can access your accounts, get medical assistance, claim your tax refund, and even open a new credit card in your name. By faking your identity scamsters can tarnish your reputation and do more harm than you can think, which is why you must stay highly alert to prevent your personal information from falling into the wrong hands. All these frightening things can happen to anyone, but it does not mean that everyone has the same kind of risk exposure that depends on the individual’s profile. Regardless of the risk you face, it is better to arrange for identity theft protection so that you can lead a worry-free life.
Safeguard your personal information all by yourself
You can safeguard your personal data by taking some basic actions that any company that offers services in protecting identity theft would offer. Indeed, you must devote time to it and act diligently to ensure that your data remains protected. Your credit reports are the basic indicators about what goes on behind your back. Besides tracking your credit score for free, you must carefully monitor your credit reports with help from some credit card issuers or various personal finance websites.
On detecting any theft of personal information, you can report identity theft and follow the paths of recovery outlined by the federal government by logging on to IdentityTheft.gov. Most importantly, you can freeze your credit files at Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian for free, which is out of the scope of any company that offers services in protecting identity theft. Freezing the credit reports is the most crucial step in the event of identity theft and the first thing to do whenever you see any red flag.
When you freeze your credits, it protects sensitive data in your file from access without your consent. As a result, it can block fraudulent credit applications even if criminals have your Social Security Number.
Avail professional services for identity protection
Protecting your identity can be overwhelming because it needs time and focus, which is often not possible for most people to afford because of their preoccupations. An easier way would be to engage a company that offers services in data protection and identity theft by taking charge of your personal data and raise a red flag on detecting any suspicious activities that can endanger your personal information.
The services offered by identity protection companies include monitoring your personal information, alerting consumers about its use, and arrange for theft recovery. Remember that preventing data theft is not within the services’ scope, but it is your responsibility to act on the alerts to protect your personal information.
Services offered by identity theft protection companies
Any identity theft protection company offers three primary services – monitoring, alerts, and recovery.
Monitoring – Your credit files are under the constant surveillance of the identity theft protection company you engage. They keep monitoring the files and raise an alert on detecting activity like whenever any new account is opened in your name or receiving credit inquiries to understand its correctness and react accordingly.
Alerts – Whenever your personal information is in use, the company will alert you, and if the use is not legitimate, you can take immediate action to prevent the fraud. The alert is handy because, in most cases, the fraud detection happens much late, and people come to know about it only after their credit card has been misused. Their bank accounts swindled, or suddenly their debt accounts swell with several new debts in their name.
Recovery – In the event of some data breach or hacking or malicious use of information, the identity theft protection companies can help clients recover lost money and work for undoing the damage to credit. Most companies offer insurance up to $1 million.
When to engage an identity theft protection company
Until you encounter any problems with your accounts or envisage much risk with your personal data, there is no need to avail of the services of an identity theft protection company. However, if you want to be extra cautious, you can go ahead. Usually, people engage a company for protecting their personal information when they encounter any or all the following situations.
When someone has already experienced a data breach that resulted in identity theft or feels that there is a high risk for it, it makes sense to hire a company to protect the identity and personal information. If you lose your social security card or the details have been compromised, you must engage a company that can help in recovery and future protection.
If you do not want to freeze your credit reports and know that the task of monitoring on your own is not your cup of tea, then engaging the company makes good sense.