Learn About The Identity Theft Protection Programs

People have asked me time and again if there are any good identity theft protection programs, and I tell them again and again that there is none. Even FTC warns you that most of these identity protection programs offer services at a fee that you can do for yourself without spending a dime.

However, sometimes it’s worth to have some extra protection depending on what you want the program to do for you. But usually people buy into a program without even knowing what it does and doesn’t. That leads to confusing and unpleasant conversations with the company down the road.

Credit Monitoring

It’s extremely important because more than 50 percent of all the identity theft victims report a new line of credit in their name by identity thieves. And it takes longer to discover those accounts and clear them up.

A credit monitoring service informs you immediately if something appears on your credit report, such as a charged-off debt or a new line of credit. Expert say credit monitoring service is the best place to start if you really want to safeguard your identity.

But if somebody has stolen your Social Security Number and opened a new credit card using your SSN and a different name, you won’t be able to detect it. Not until your credit score begins to decline and lenders turn you down for a loan. That’s the way American credit bureaus are set up.

Reimbursement Program

A reimbursement program is usually attached to homeowner’s insurance. If you recall, your insurance agent must have used it as one of his selling points. They would have told you that the reimbursement program will protect your home as well as your identity. That’s not true.

It will only pay you back the amount you take out of your pocket when you fall prey to identity theft. That will be paid only in certain circumstances, and there are many strings attached. In case you use it, your premiums will shoot up. The money put on your credit card or stolen from the bank account will be considered “actual losses.” Reimbursement services never pay you for actual losses.

Identity Theft Resolution Program

This program has gained popularity in the past few years. If you fall a victim to identity theft, they give you personal assistance in fixing the problem and guide you through the process. Some companies assign you an agent while others operate like a call center – whoever is assigned to your problem will tell you what to do next. They all follow a step-by-step guide and standard script.

However, it doesn’t really do anything that you can’t do for yourself with some help of Google. If you are sure that you can deal with your problem, you need not spend your money on resolution programs.

Restoration Program

A restoration program is the best identity theft protection service your money can buy. It takes care of the ID theft problem for you, just like an insurance company takes care of your vehicles and house. Of course, a restoration program is relatively expensive and hard to find. A real restoration program will require you to sign a limited power of attorney so that they can work on your behalf.

A restoration program is the best identity theft protection service your money can buy

It’s better to ask them what they are going to do with the power of attorney you give them. Sometimes the companies say they are doing one thing, but they are doing something else. For example, some companies say they offer restoration program, but in reality, they simply walk you through what you should do next, just like a resolution program.

Legal Help

Identity theft usually leads you to legal troubles. Many states now have a special legal procedure to help ID theft victims recover. But most identity theft protection programs limit or exclude the access to legal help. You can contact your attorney for direction.

When considering a specific program, don’t hesitate to ask pointed questions. Ask them about what they do, how they do it, exclusions, etc. Do some research online.

Finally, the programs help you only if you already have them in place before you need them. Have you used any of these services? Were they really useful? I’d appreciate it if you share your experience with other readers.

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