Staying Safe: What You Need to Know About Identity Theft Security Plans

Business.com / Business Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

With so much personal information on the internet, staying safe is important. But, are security plans enough? We take a closer look.

Thieves and hackers use several methods to get your private information.

It does not matter what we do to protect ourselves, they still seem to discover ways to get their hands on customer data and personal information.

It's not just about protecting our own information, it's also about protecting our family and those around us as well.

The unfortunate truth is that no matter how many organizations make promises of being able to protect your data, hackers and thieves are getting better and better every day.

Related Article: “Secure Cloud” is No Longer an Oxymoron

Why Identity Theft Security Programs Face So Many Problems With Data Loss

When it comes to personal information, once it's accessed, a thief or hacker can do whatever they like with it. Now imagine what happens when complete data records are stolen for millions of customers after every huge corporation data breach. This creates quite the challenge for any organization to keep up with and be able to provide 100 percent protection against identity theft.

Another problem that these organizations continually come across are the different methods that a hacker might use your private information. Not only can it be used to pull up personal data and making purchases, but the data can then be sold in the aftermarket as well. Once this happens, there is no telling where your personal information might end up.

So, Are Identity Theft Protect Programs a Ripoff?

It's not so much a question as to whether or not protection programs are a scam -- rather if the ones you are choosing are actually providing a useful service. Security plans do have an objective even if they do not provide you with 100 percent protection.

One such service is to provide their customers with the ability to get in contact with someone if they feel their data was compromised while also providing guidance on the next security steps they should take. A quality security plan will also have measures in place to refund or compensate for any damages that may occur, or items that have been lost/stolen. In most cases, a security plan is much like an insurance plan in that it's there in case something should ever happen.

At the same time, there are also companies that specialize in identity theft, which have processes in place that alert you whenever your social security number might have been pulled for a credit report. This same type of reporting is done with many credit card companies and sending out alerts through email and phone whenever a charge over a specific amount is registered. Again, having an insurance policy in place is just as important as keeping an active eye on your personal data in the process.

Related Article: Data Breaches Hurt 43% of Businesses in 2014: Do You Have a Cyber Security Plan?

In many cases it's also not just about knowing where your data is and who is protecting it, it's also about having your own responsibility and keeping an eye on your personal credit score over time. You credit score is of extreme importance and something that could also be affected by a security breach and theft. 

There are many credit score reporting organizations that will allow you to check your credit score for free, as well as providing you with complimentary information on how to raise your credit score in the process. This is something businesses should also be doing with their federal tax ids and protecting themselves from corporate fraud.

In summary, the security of your personal data, finances, and credit score are all huge components to keeping your own data safe while also using identity theft protection services in the process.

Problems To Be Conscious Of With Some Security Plans

While most security plans will boast about the benefit of using their service, there are also some issues that you should be aware of as well.

  1. Protection plans may consist of some kind of credit score tracking, but what happens if a hacker commits scams within any of the other areas of identity theft instead of credit? This means you may not be secured with the existing strategy in place. Be sure to keep yourself informed of benefits and services your security provider includes, and also those they don't.
  2. Should a theft take place and there is a loss or damage, do you know how much your security provider will reimburse you for? This is an important question to ask, especially depending on how much coverage you are paying for. Read all of the fine print, both what you are paying for and the coverage offered.
  3. Security plans should not only provide a service but also keep you updated with what's going on in the industry as well. For example, when a big data breach happens at a Fortune 500 company that you already have a credit card or account with, your provider should be sending out alerts to let you know they are actively monitoring your data for any fraudulent activity.
  4. It's not enough to just protect yourself from identity theft or fraud, but also to know how to come back and repair your situation after it does happen. Many plans will allow you to monitor your personal activity and details, but some will offer additional upcharges and selling to help with the cleanup process afterward. Make sure you go with a legitimate provider that helps before, during and after the security breach process.
  5. Personal and financial security doesn't start when you hit the age of 18 or 21, it starts the moment you have an identity. Make sure to actively monitor all individuals within your family and that your security provider has the necessary tools and tracking in place to monitor anyone under the age of 18 as well.

Related Article: Two-Factor Authentication Makes Data Breach Protection Better Than Ever

Every year tens of thousands of individuals in America have to deal with some type of security risk or data loss. It is essential to not only personally monitor your data and credit score at all times but to also have a necessary identity theft security strategy in place as well. While this may not seem like something to put at the top of your to-do list right now, you will have wish you did should anything soon happen.

Protect yourself and your data -- don't become another statistic.

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