I’m not going to say that this is over, but it is certainly down to a “2” on my 1-10 worry scale. For a couple of weeks after writing this post, I still received some notices in the mail from companies where lines of credit were attempted to be opened. However, all of the fraud work that I had done in the week prior to this post paid off in spades. Not a single application got past the first stage of the process because all roads ended with the company checking in with me. I got a phone call, told them it was fraud, and then got a piece of mail a few days later stating the application was denied/closed. I guess the system works once you get ahead of it. I think the key to this was the 7 year fraud alert on my credit report.
I’m still checking my credit report at regular intervals, and I’m still enrolled with InfoArmor. But, I did upgrade my service plan to cover all three credit bureaus. It cost a few extra bucks but it’s well worth it. The benefits team at work was very interested to hear about my experience, and how InfoArmor played a role (since the benefit was provided through work). Based on my feedback, they got with InfoArmor, and were able to get the higher level protection added as an option for people signed up for the benefit. THANK YOU WORK!
Once this post came out, I got a couple of pings and comments that talked specifically about the value of an Identity Theft Protection Service. One commenter pointed out that you (personally) can do everything that these services do, and you don’t have to pay for it. To a certain extent, that is true. But, that is time you need to set aside and dedicate EVERY MONTH to this process (FOREVER). In my mind, it becomes a value proposition. If you sign up for a service to facilitate this process for you, is it worth the $6-$15 per month that you’ll spend for piece of mind? I can’t answer that for you – that is something you need to figure out for yourself. For me personally, I do see value in the service.
And this is a big BUT.
I realize that having a service like this in your stable isn’t a “set it and forget it” proposition. You still need to check on stuff and be vigilant.
Let me say that again – EVEN IF YOU HAVE ONE OF THESE SERVICES, YOU STILL NEED TO BE ACTIVE IN MANAGING YOUR CREDIT AND CREDIT REPORT.
Don’t think that this is your invisibility cloak. AND, don’t think you can just be sloppy and careless in your credit/internet life. Hackers and criminals still can get to you if you make yourself the low hanging fruit.
But, having one of these services is like having a sherpa or guide along the way. And, if something does happen, some of these services offer help along the way to recovery. The best thing you can do as a consumer is look at ALL of the players in this market, see the services/protections that are offered, and make a purchase based on what you see as the value proposition.
If you are in the market for such a service/product/program, here is a website you can reference to get information on some more companies (not listed in the original post). This site (by lendedu.com) discussed the pros/cons of some of the larger players in this space. In addition, they also provide some nice bullet point information on what you can do to keep your identity safe.