Author Topic: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?  (Read 7526 times)

stlbrah

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Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« on: February 06, 2016, 06:44:56 AM »
I recently had my ID stolen and sold so I bought a year of monitoring service.

My thoughts are that it is not completely necessary since you can put an alert through the Equifax or Transunion for free every 90 days, and can set up a 7 year monitoring if you send them the police report - I have actually never tried the 7 year one, I think there actually has to be a theft relevant to the ID theft - could be wrong on that, I haven't researched it much. I caught mine too early to have any damage done to my credit. You can also get credit reports for free from them, and I have other ways to see my credit score regularly as well.

To me, 90 days of alerting is useless. What if they wait until 91 days to try anything. I believe you can keep placing the monitoring after the 90 days is up, but when I called the government ID theft hot-line they said otherwise.

On the other hand, why not set it and forget it and spend an extra $10-15 a month for an extra layer of protection when ID theft is becoming more and more common?

In a way I kind of feel like I am justifying my purchase due to emotional logic and I am looking for opinions for either side of the argument. I am considering keeping the service permanently.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2016, 06:47:26 AM by stlbrah »

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2016, 07:00:50 AM »
I recently had my ID stolen and sold so I bought a year of monitoring service.

My thoughts are that it is not completely necessary since you can put an alert through the Equifax or Transunion for free every 90 days, and can set up a 7 year monitoring if you send them the police report - I have actually never tried the 7 year one, I think there actually has to be a theft relevant to the ID theft - could be wrong on that, I haven't researched it much. I caught mine too early to have any damage done to my credit. You can also get credit reports for free from them, and I have other ways to see my credit score regularly as well.

To me, 90 days of alerting is useless. What if they wait until 91 days to try anything. I believe you can keep placing the monitoring after the 90 days is up, but when I called the government ID theft hot-line they said otherwise.

On the other hand, why not set it and forget it and spend an extra $10-15 a month for an extra layer of protection when ID theft is becoming more and more common?

In a way I kind of feel like I am justifying my purchase due to emotional logic and I am looking for opinions for either side of the argument. I am considering keeping the service permanently.

Sorry you've been a victim. I've had to cancel my debit card once and credit card twice, and it's no fun.

That said I've never had a liability, lost no money and refuse to pay a company to monitor something I can monitor myself.

Here are some things you can do instead:

1. Use a credit card, not a debit card for all online purchases, gas stations and traveling. It's much easier to dispute a transaction and get your money back on a credit card.
2. Check your credit reports for free.
3. Set up notifications if a line of credit is opened in your name.

While minor identity theft situations like mine have become very common, more involved situations such as opening new accounts in your name are still relatively rare. Just because you've been a victim once doesn't mean you'll be targeted again. You're paying for a false sense of security.

ender

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2016, 07:22:35 AM »
Monitoring seems a bit silly. Mint gives me a notification when I have a hard pull against my credit anyways. I periodically pull my free credit report too.

If you do get insurance for this, make sure your insurance will actually resolve the problem -- not just notify you.

BlueHouse

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2016, 07:31:12 AM »
We're all paying for it. Like millions of others, my sf-85 with every bit of info that could do me financial or emotional harm was stolen during the OPM theft. So taxpayers are footing the bill for all of us to have ID theft protection.
I've always checked my own credit reports 3x per year by rotating the free annual. Now I also get notifications when a sex offender lives in the neighborhood. Not too helpful when you live in the area I do and when sex offender lists can contain almost anything.
The two times I've had a card number used unauthorized, AMEX caught it within hours.
I'd be screwed though if someone hacked Vanguard.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2016, 08:19:18 AM »
This shit scares the crap out of me and its only going to seemingly get worse

SoftwareGoddess

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2016, 11:30:51 AM »
If you are in the US (and maybe other places, but not Canada, unfortunately), you might consider a security freeze instead.

http://krebsonsecurity.com/2015/06/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-embrace-the-security-freeze/

stlbrah

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2016, 01:45:51 PM »
I think I will probably just set a calendar reminder for every 89 days and just keep adding the fraud alert on my credit every 90 days. I am glad I made the thread to give me a nudge and point out anything I might have missed.

I kind of went into panic mode and bought a year subscription to an identity theft "1,000,000 insurance" company before I finished researching what to do when you have an ID theft. I was applying to a fraudulent credit card page and after I finished the form I noticed that the confirmation page was not HTTPS so I knew I was screwed. I definitely know better, I could have paid closer attention to the address bar, etc, but I was multitasking and not being careful enough.

Also, when I bought it, the person on that government ID theft hotline (forgot its actual name) told me that you only get 90 days of fraud alerts and if you want longer you have to buy a service that offers it. That was definitely incorrect. The correct answer would have been after 90 days, just call equifax again and sign back up.

Yearofsue

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2016, 01:53:18 PM »
Agree with credit freeze.  Your homeowners policy may contain an coverage endorsement for identify theft

Beardog

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2016, 03:21:02 PM »
I put a permanent freeze on my credit about 5-7 years ago.  That way no one can take out credit in my name.  However, this may not work for you if you frequently obtain new credit cards because you have to pay a small fee to lift the credit freeze - $15 last time I did it.  I've had to lift the freeze about 3 times, but the peace of mind is priceless to me.

wwweb

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2016, 08:59:10 PM »
If you are in the US (and maybe other places, but not Canada, unfortunately), you might consider a security freeze instead.

http://krebsonsecurity.com/2015/06/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-embrace-the-security-freeze/

+1 for a credit freeze.

I've given the topic of credit monitoring quite a bit of thought, and I'm not sure it does much good. Getting an early warning that someone has stolen my identity is nice, but the annoying part of having credit card stolen etc is all the paper work and the monitoring companies can't do that for you. I check my credit report fairly regularly and don't see the need to pay some an extra $15 per month to do so for me.

katsiki

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2016, 09:08:51 PM »
I think this is a personal decision.  Unfortunately, I have plenty of free monitoring due to OPM and other breaches.  I also use Mint's monitoring.

misshathaway

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2016, 02:29:06 AM »
Don't have to. Every couple of years some big name store that I have shopped at has a credit card breach. They provide the credit monitoring through a third party for a year. I'm currently on Home Depot's monitoring. So far the monitoring agencies haven't uncovered any problems. I rotate the 3 free credit checks we all get throughout the year anyway.

Seems like an unnecessary expense once you're retired, since it mostly is to cut down the time you have to spend cleaning up after a breach. You'd have plenty of time.

BrickByBrick

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2016, 05:26:55 AM »
Like others have said, I currently have free monitoring as a result of very public hacks on various institutions.  Target, Home Depot, and especially Anthem (since that apparently included SS#).

I signed up for Anthem's two-year protection offer (AllClearID).  But monitoring only does so much.  I opened a new credit card and it took two weeks for the monitoring company to call me and ask about it.  So as others have suggested I froze all my credit with all the major institutions (don't forget Innovis).  It's really not that inconvenient when you need to get a credit check - just ask whoever is running the check which bureau they're using, call the associated #, enter the PIN you created during the freezing process - and it will unfreeze your credit at that bureau for 24 hours.  I find it helps to keep a flash card with the four phone #s and PINs hidden somewhere.

Of course, none of this protects you from actual identity fraud - such as a criminal trying to get a driver's license/apply for government benefits/file a tax return in your name/etc.  There is little defense against that aside from just being vigilant, and if you're really concerned your best bet would be to get a ID Theft Plan that actually assigns a case worker to handle the mountains of BS you will have to go through to reclaim your identity.  Fortunately, that type of identity theft is harder to pull off and the most common victims are children/seniors/deceased.  It takes a lot more work on the part of the career criminal to make use of a stolen identity in those ways and may not be as readily profitable as stolen credit card numbers or applying for new credit.

On the other hand, in many cases where someone has their entire identity stolen, my understanding is the most common perpetrators are friends and family.  It's very sad.

stlbrah

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2016, 08:35:26 AM »
I am considering the complete freeze at the end of the year. I have heard of it, but didn't know that much about it, so thanks for educating me on that. Since I already have the Lifelock plan this year and Equifax alerting every 90 day period, I think it would be excessive at this point. I have churned credit cards a lot for travel miles so it would be an inconvenience, but I anticipate only 2-3 cards per year, so if that is $45, that is still saving a lot of money over $150+. Since I plan to churn a couple of cards this year, and already have the protection service until early next year, I feel that a freeze would be a waste of money this year.

You are supposed to get assistance with the paper work with the ID theft services that I bought.

I have too had free plans in the past, most recently with the ScottTrade compromise, but they all expired.

If anyone is reading this thread and not that knowledgeable about identity theft (besides just a simple credit card theft) I would recommend doing some research so you aren't caught with your pants down if it happens to you like I did.

I agree that actual ID theft isn't that common compared to CC theft. I once had someone try to sign up for a WebCam Girls site with my credit card number. I do know of 2 people that had ID theft, one had a bunch of cards opened in her name, and another was a friend, who's criminal twin brother kept giving his name to the cops.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 08:39:46 AM by stlbrah »

ender

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2016, 12:56:18 PM »
If you are in the US (and maybe other places, but not Canada, unfortunately), you might consider a security freeze instead.

http://krebsonsecurity.com/2015/06/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-embrace-the-security-freeze/

+1 for a credit freeze.

I've given the topic of credit monitoring quite a bit of thought, and I'm not sure it does much good. Getting an early warning that someone has stolen my identity is nice, but the annoying part of having credit card stolen etc is all the paper work and the monitoring companies can't do that for you. I check my credit report fairly regularly and don't see the need to pay some an extra $15 per month to do so for me.

Woah this is interesting! I didn't realize you could do this.

I think that if my wife and I buy a home we will just do this. We don't use credit at all (not even for credit card churning) and it seems like this would be a great solution to many of our worries.

FIRE me

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2016, 02:59:55 PM »
I am considering the complete freeze at the end of the year. I have heard of it, but didn't know that much about it, so thanks for educating me on that. Since I already have the Lifelock plan this year and Equifax alerting every 90 day period, I think it would be excessive at this point. I have churned credit cards a lot for travel miles so it would be an inconvenience, but I anticipate only 2-3 cards per year, so if that is $45, that is still saving a lot of money over $150+. Since I plan to churn a couple of cards this year, and already have the protection service until early next year, I feel that a freeze would be a waste of money this year.

You are supposed to get assistance with the paper work with the ID theft services that I bought.

I have too had free plans in the past, most recently with the ScottTrade compromise, but they all expired.

If anyone is reading this thread and not that knowledgeable about identity theft (besides just a simple credit card theft) I would recommend doing some research so you aren't caught with your pants down if it happens to you like I did.

I agree that actual ID theft isn't that common compared to CC theft. I once had someone try to sign up for a WebCam Girls site with my credit card number. I do know of 2 people that had ID theft, one had a bunch of cards opened in her name, and another was a friend, who's criminal twin brother kept giving his name to the cops.

Last month I experienced my first credit card fraud. Someone used my Chase account number to try to buy a Vitamix blender online directly from Vitamix, for almost $800. The charge was denied by Chase (probably due to shipping address and phone number not matching) and I got an email from Chase asking if I made the purchase.

Chase canceled my card and had me a new card in my mailbox a few days later.

I pulled my Equifax report today, and no unauthorized applications for credit, so it looks like it was just some jerk typing in random cc numbers trying to get a free Vitamix blender, rather than a full blown identity theft.

About LifeLock, my two cents on them is that they are not worth it. LifeLock was fined 12M by the FTC for making false claims.

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2010/03/lifelock-will-pay-12-million-settle-charges-ftc-35-states

v8rx7guy

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2016, 03:49:15 PM »
Included in my homeowner's insurance

Mongoose

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2016, 07:35:00 AM »
Does placing a credit freeze affect existing accounts? I'm specifically wondering about existing insurance. I think I remember that they check your credit at some point and heard a rumor (from unknown source) that if credit is frozen, they might use that as an excuse to increase rates.

Has anyone used opt-out to quit receiving insurance and credit offers? I looked at the website and hesitated because you, obviously, have to provide personal information. It does say https, does that mean it is safe?

FIRE me

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2016, 09:54:06 AM »
Has anyone used opt-out to quit receiving insurance and credit offers? I looked at the website and hesitated because you, obviously, have to provide personal information. It does say https, does that mean it is safe?

I opted out of credit offers, over ten years ago. Works well, with one exception I only get offers from banks that I do business with. I don't recall the site I used to opt out.

In the way you mean, no. HTTPS only means that if the site is a phishing site (instead of the legit site), no third parties can see the info you are handing over to the scammers.

Can't Wait

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2016, 06:40:23 AM »
Just a FYI -

When you call one credit bureau to place the 90 day fraud alert, they say they will forward the alert to the other bureaus for you but I experienced a recent case of identity theft that occurred because the initial bureau I called for the 90 day fraud alert did NOT forward the alert to the other two bureaus.The identity thief was able to open up accounts in my name thru creditors that used the other two credit bureaus to run their respective credit checks.

Paying for credit monitoring only monitors hard pulls and new accounts and such, it does not prevent identity theft.

The security freeze is the way to go. Its easy to set up and prevents any unauthorized hard pulls or new accounts set up in your name. It seriously takes like 3 mins to lift the freeze if you want to use your credit and it costs $5 or so per bureau per occasion. You might even be able to get the lifts done for free if you have an identity theft police report on file with the bureaus, I never looked into it, but I know they will place the initial freeze for free if you send them a police report.

I'd also request an identity theft pin from the IRS - this will prevent fraudulent tax returns done using your information.

FLBiker

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2016, 07:45:03 AM »
Personally, no.  I did the free 90 day one when someone tried to open a bank account w/ my info, but that's it.  And I've been called once or twice by credit card companies who found something suspicious.  Actually, I've been called a lot more than that, but that's because my favorite Lebanese market always gets me flagged for some reason.

I don't worry about being liable for it.  I like the freeze idea, but as a low-level churner, I'm not interested right now.  Good to know about, though.

stlbrah

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2016, 10:17:00 PM »
Just a FYI -

When you call one credit bureau to place the 90 day fraud alert, they say they will forward the alert to the other bureaus for you but I experienced a recent case of identity theft that occurred because the initial bureau I called for the 90 day fraud alert did NOT forward the alert to the other two bureaus.The identity thief was able to open up accounts in my name thru creditors that used the other two credit bureaus to run their respective credit checks.

Paying for credit monitoring only monitors hard pulls and new accounts and such, it does not prevent identity theft.

The security freeze is the way to go. Its easy to set up and prevents any unauthorized hard pulls or new accounts set up in your name. It seriously takes like 3 mins to lift the freeze if you want to use your credit and it costs $5 or so per bureau per occasion. You might even be able to get the lifts done for free if you have an identity theft police report on file with the bureaus, I never looked into it, but I know they will place the initial freeze for free if you send them a police report.

I'd also request an identity theft pin from the IRS - this will prevent fraudulent tax returns done using your information.

Thanks, this one really convinced me that a freeze was best, not that the other posters weren't helpful too.

I just placed a freeze on TransUnion, Experian, Equifax, and Innovis. The 3 main ones were $5 each, and it is $5 when I need to lift them. I probably could have gotten Equifax for free if I submitted my legal report, but $5 to not have to obtain documentation and snailmail it was worth it. It was opened with the FTC too so it might not even count as police.

I then called Lifelock and they gave me a pro-rated refund (kinda shocked, didn't argue or anything).

As far as the IRS, I sent the 14039 Form this year, but I will go ahead and get a pin. I just tried to get one but the site threw an error to try again later. gotta love IRS
« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 10:19:15 PM by stlbrah »

Can't Wait

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Re: Anyone Pay for Identity Theft Protection?
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2016, 04:35:16 PM »
Just a FYI -

When you call one credit bureau to place the 90 day fraud alert, they say they will forward the alert to the other bureaus for you but I experienced a recent case of identity theft that occurred because the initial bureau I called for the 90 day fraud alert did NOT forward the alert to the other two bureaus.The identity thief was able to open up accounts in my name thru creditors that used the other two credit bureaus to run their respective credit checks.

Paying for credit monitoring only monitors hard pulls and new accounts and such, it does not prevent identity theft.

The security freeze is the way to go. Its easy to set up and prevents any unauthorized hard pulls or new accounts set up in your name. It seriously takes like 3 mins to lift the freeze if you want to use your credit and it costs $5 or so per bureau per occasion. You might even be able to get the lifts done for free if you have an identity theft police report on file with the bureaus, I never looked into it, but I know they will place the initial freeze for free if you send them a police report.

I'd also request an identity theft pin from the IRS - this will prevent fraudulent tax returns done using your information.

Thanks, this one really convinced me that a freeze was best, not that the other posters weren't helpful too.

I just placed a freeze on TransUnion, Experian, Equifax, and Innovis. The 3 main ones were $5 each, and it is $5 when I need to lift them. I probably could have gotten Equifax for free if I submitted my legal report, but $5 to not have to obtain documentation and snailmail it was worth it. It was opened with the FTC too so it might not even count as police.

I then called Lifelock and they gave me a pro-rated refund (kinda shocked, didn't argue or anything).

As far as the IRS, I sent the 14039 Form this year, but I will go ahead and get a pin. I just tried to get one but the site threw an error to try again later. gotta love IRS


I'm glad you decided to go with the security freeze. The freeze has certainly given me a sense of relief. I had an identity thief hit up nearly every single department store you can think of and open up credit cards in my name and he filed a fraudulent tax return in my name. I'd consider myself lucky since I haven't experienced any financial loss from the ordeal, other than the time I have spent on the phone with all of the creditors.

The other tidbit about the fraud alert - when you have a fraud alert on file, a creditor is supposed to either call you or send a letter to your mailing address to verify your identity. This process does prevent a new account from being opened in your name, however it does not prevent the inquiry from the creditor. So you'll still have to spend time on the phone with a creditor's fraud department to get the inquiry removed from your credit report.

Fraud alert tidbit # 2 - the identity thief can simply call the credit reporting agency and change the phone number you have listed for your fraud alert. The identity thief already has all the necessary personal information to do this. So if a thief realized you have a fraud alert, he can call Experian for example and just list his own cell phone number as the number that is called to verify your identity. I haven't heard of anyone doing this yet but it's a simple step that I'm sure more and more thieves will start to take now that more people are becoming aware of identity theft.

Fraud alerts were a nice thought but basically useless. Security freeze all the way..