5 Things to Look for in an Identity Theft Service

By Staff Reporter , Updated Jul 20, 2021 10:54 AM EDT
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5 Things to Look for in an Identity Theft Service
(Photo: Unsplash)

Modern technologies allow us to do almost anything we can imagine online. Shopping, communicating, running a business, and receiving financial consultations or applying for a credit card are just to name a few of the available options. Our lives are much more simplified as compared to the situation five or ten years ago. But there's another side to these conveniences. 

With one-click purchases, your sensitive details online such as banking details or personal documents come with the risk of hacking that leads to personal data exposure, and identity theft. The examples of identity theft vary from creating an artificial identity with your social security number to getting access to your credit cards. Nevertheless, there's something in common for all these incidents: they always have unpleasant outcomes like financial losses, reputational damage, or threat to your physical security.  

That's why you need to take care of your personal protection and learn the basics of safe internet conduct to counteract social engineering attacks, know how to differentiate legitimate websites from phishing scams and protect your personal information to minimize the chances of identity theft. 

Luckily, there are tools designed to increase your identity protection to make this process easier. So if you are considering one, here is the list of criteria you need to take into before the purchase:

Real-time reporting

The most important factor in any identity theft service is its ability to fetch the data from multiple places to your account in real-time so that you can immediately react to any suspicious matches. Otherwise, if there are delays in informing you about a potential breach, it may be too late to prevent the negative consequences.

Enhanced monitoring

Another key feature is the number of services and websites the protection software checks. The more data sources there are, the better because it can give you a full picture of what is going on with your information. Resources under the monitoring should include social media, information from banks, and other financial institutions (to monitor your credit history, track financial activity and check bank account applications and detect non-legitimate requests based on the user's personal details), public governmental databases, and Dark Web resources. 

Alerting system

A reliable alerting system that allows receiving modification is also critical in such time-sensitive matters as identity theft detection. It should include multi-channel informing via emails, automatic phone calls, and in-app alerts. Also, there should be an option to select your preferences if you want to get notified using just a few of the supported channels. If the service has its own mobile application with push notifications, it's even better, because this way, chances to miss the warning or suspicious match are minimized. 

Compliance with data protection laws and standards

Since the identity protection services will lookup for the matches based on the personal information you enter, make sure that the software you use is compatible with the latest security standards like PCI and GDPR if you are a member of the European Union or legislation of other regions with similar personal data protection laws (like CCPA in California), to rest assured that your protection is in right hands.

Access Protection 

Last but not least check if the protection service that contains your personal information offers additional access protection apart from username/password. These may be 2FA via email, authentication app, or OTP (one-time password), so that even if you lose your device, or your email address is compromised, your data is safe. 

There are tons of security products on the market that offer identity theft protection services varying in the number of features and extra secondary parameters that can drag the attention of potential buyers. These may include a convenient interface, attractive prices,multi-platform support, etc. Some vendors even offer reimbursement for the funds stolen from your credit card and lawyer expenses coverage. That's why you need to conduct your own research and check the feedback on the tool, online reviews, and industry news to get acquainted with public opinion and the experience of other users. Also, if there's a possibility to play with the demo account to check the tool in action, make sure to try it. This way you will be able to make a final decision and choose the best option based on your personal preferences.

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