It seems that every month we are informed of a new data breach at a retailer, bank, credit card company or insurance company. Protecting our identity now is more important than ever. What can we do to protect our personal information? The first step is to protect our passwords. The Teaching and Learning Toolbox discussed the importance of password protection in a previous Tip of the Month: https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/lastpass/
Next, we suggest keeping a close eye on your personal credit by enrolling into a credit monitoring and/or identity theft service. These services offer a variety of layers to protect our personal information. At a minimum we should be monitoring our personal credit reports. Credit monitoring involves a regular review of credit reports for accuracy and a credit monitoring service allows us to keep an eye on our credit report and score. We can receive early warnings of changes to our credit and respond quickly. Credit monitoring also allows us to detect instances of identity theft. Protecting our credit from identity theft is key to ensuring that others don’t open credit in our name and then leave us with a big problem to fix. When we compare credit monitoring services we need to compare the fees. Some services are free while others charge for their services. Also, it is very important when choosing a credit monitoring service to choose one that covers all three credit bureaus, not just one.
If you’ve already been a victim of identity theft or a data breach, it’s worth it to pay for credit monitoring. There are many services to choose from, but Cathy and I utilize Identity Guard. According to Identity Guard, twenty years ago, our identity was our name and our social security number. Today it’s a complex web made up of hundreds of digital pieces we share on a daily basis. For a reasonable annual fee, some of the features that we like with Identity Guard are:
- Dark Web Monitoring
- Risk Management Report
- Safe Browsing Tools
- Anti Phishing Mobile App
- Monthly Credit Score
- Address Monitoring
- 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring
- Tax Refund Alerts
- $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance
You can get started today with a “free” trial period utilizing Identity Guard today at: https://www.identityguard.com/
CLASS NOTE: This is a great topic to cover when discussing Internal Controls, Financial Literacy and Personal Finance.
NOTE: Other credit monitoring and identity theft services to consider are: Credit Karma, Experian, ID Shield, ID Watch Dog, Identity Force, Identity Protect, Identity Works, Intelius, Life Lock, My FICO, Privacy Guard. These companies provide a variety of services and fee structures.
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