Do identity protection services really work?

How effective are their scanning/monitoring methods? Can they truly protect consumers? The answers may vary. Identity theft protection is designed to protect you from new lines of credit being opened in your name—and along with the recovery/restoration component, it’s designed to clean up the mess.
It’s safe to say I’m an expert on identity theft protection. But honestly, sometimes I get confused by what different companies offer for identity theft protection. Sometimes their marketing copy is confusing and often misleading. There has always been a lack of transparency when it comes to identity theft protection.
Identity protection should be transparent. If you are spending 10 or more bucks a month, you want to know what you are getting.
Monitoring of credit bureaus: Monitoring may consist of one to three credit bureaus. So when a credit check is made, you are notified.
Monitoring of Social Security numbers (SSN) via credit applications: Some services have technology that is in place with major creditors and phone companies, and this technology looks for your SSN and alerts you when it’s in use by anyone, including you.
Monitoring of the internet: There are chatrooms and forums filled with criminals who broker our stolen data. There are websites that store our information. If your sensitive data shows up, you are notified.
Medical identity theft protection: Some companies say they will help protect you from medical identity theft. I’m not sure how, but maybe they have relationships with the Medical Information Bureau.
Recovery: When you read the fine print, it usually says the company will only help you recover from identity theft when the service’s product fails to provide the protection you bought. However, most protection services will at least walk you by the hand or point you in a direction to solve your issues. They don’t usually leave you stranded.
Lost wallet protection: With this, you can register your credit cards with the service so in the event your wallet goes missing, one call to the service will shut them all down and reorder new cards.
Credit card protection: Identity theft protection can’t protect your credit cards. Your bank might offer a service that involves a form of “zero liability” in the event your card is compromised.
Bank account protection: Identity theft protection can’t protect your bank account, but their recovery services may help you in the event you are hacked.
Service guarantee: Many offer a million-dollar service guarantee or something comparable. The point of this guarantee is to let you know the service will spend up to that dollar amount to fix your problem. In reality, it shouldn’t take more than a few dozen phone calls by a professional and maybe the services of a lawyer to make identity theft go away.
These services know what they are doing. It’s their life. And we at know what we are doing, so check out how we disseminate what’s what—and decide for yourself.

Identity Theft is the Fastest Growing Consumer Crime in the United States.

Identity theft is the fastest growing consumer crime in the United States. According to the Federal Trade Commission, approximately 9.3 million individuals are victimized by the crime every year, so it’s no wonder that more and more people are turning to ID theft protection services to safeguard their identities. But consumers aren’t the only ones at risk. Any size business, whether a giant corporation or a small business, must be vigilant to protect themselves from identity theft.
There are two types of services in the market today that attempt to alleviate some of identity fraud’s expenses to deal with the aftermath of identity theft, but it does nothing to prevent it. Even the National Association of Insurance Commissioners states that identity theft insurance “cannot protect you from becoming a victim of identity theft and does not cover direct monetary losses incurred as a result of identity theft.”
ID Theft protection services, on the other hand, offer consumers, corporations, and small businesses proactive protection and recovery service. There are many competing companies out there, and not all of them offer the same level of service.
When evaluating ID theft protection services, look for these features:
A 24/7 hotline to call if you suspect you have been a victim of ID theft.
Expedient delivery of an ID Theft Resolution Kit that includes forms to be submitted to the IRS, DMV, Social Security Administration, and the three credit reporting agencies. An identity theft affidavit and forms specific to the type of ID theft should also be included.
Assistance in reporting the identity theft to your local authorities and creditors, requesting that creditors cancel existing cards and issue new ones, and placing a security freeze on your credit records. Be sure the company will obtain 7 year credit freezes for you.
 Updates whenever there is activity on the case, including follow-up with creditors to ensure that they properly repair your accounts.
Recovery specialists, preferably with law enforcement experience, who have the expertise and connections to launch a full investigation into the identity theft, reverse the damage, and bring the identity thieves to justice if there is an opportunity to do so.
Return your identity to pre-theft status, reducing the likelihood of a member’s identity being compromised.
While an ID theft protection service is an effective way to safeguard against identity theft, consumers and companies should also use common sense to shield their identities as well, such as:
Keep copies of credit card information in a safe place
Obtain their credit reports from the three major credit bureaus once a year from each
Implement credit freezes
Linda Vincent, R.N., P.I., is an identity theft and healthcare fraud prevention expert specializing in medical consulting and investigations. She teaches corporations, professional practices, and consumers how to prevent identity theft and healthcare fraud. Visit