Identity Theft Protection Overview

Oct 13, 2023 By Susan Kelly

Often, major corporations are the targets of data breaches reported in the media. However, many small companies and people are daily targets for hackers and other criminals. There are a variety of routes that cybercriminals and identity thieves might take to get your personal information. They use this for malicious purposes, such as stealing people's identities. Using identity theft protection services might lessen your chances of being a victim. Yet, it's possible that you already have access to free protection from identity theft.

Identity theft protection services are often provided at no cost by financial institutions. In many cases, this can help prevent identity theft. In addition, the security features of your computer and mobile device can help prevent identity theft at no cost to you. Identity theft may be avoided in many cases by using appropriate security settings to restrict access to sensitive information and online accounts. There are other measures you may take to safeguard your information as well.

Free Protection from Identity Theft

Identity theft affects around 33 percent of people living in the United States annually. What this means is that every 14 seconds, another person falls victim. Using identity theft protection services for free might help you avoid becoming a statistic.

Many forms of free identity theft protection can help you lessen the likelihood of fraud. Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian are the three major credit reporting bureaus. Every one of these agencies provides some type of free insurance against identity theft.

Cost-Free Credit Report

Every credit reporting agency, for instance, allows you one free copy of your credit report every year. Checking your report might help you avoid being a victim of fraud or identity theft. A fraud alert or security freeze can be added to your credit reports for added protection. For a nominal extra premium, you may also enroll in services to monitor your identity for theft, resolve fraud, and cover losses due to theft.

Banking and Credit Union Services

Some banks even provide free identity theft protection to their customers. SunTrust Bank, for instance, provides free identity theft protection and credit monitoring to its customers. In addition, Fifth Third Bank offers services that can assist you in maintaining the safety of your accounts. Security and privacy enhancements are available from various financial institutions, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase Bank, and others.

Don't forget to inquire about your bank's free identity theft protection services if you haven't previously done so. You can move your money to a different bank if you are unhappy with the level of service provided by the current institution.

Credit Card Companies Provide Complimentary Identity Theft Protection Services to Their Customers

Most of the leading credit card companies have various identity theft protection services for their customers. Credit monitoring and dark web scanning services are available from Capital One, Mastercard, and Chase. The dark web scanning service is about checking if your personal information is being sold on the dark web. You may get identity theft insurance from Chase for up to a million dollars. In addition to SSN monitoring, JPMorgan and Capital One both provide credit report monitoring.

For a low monthly cost, both Discover and American Express provide services that are comparable to this one.

It's worth noting that anyone may use Chase's free identity theft protection program. You need not be a Chase customer to utilize this. It's free, but it doesn't offer quite as much security as other options.

Homeowners Insurance That Includes an Add-on for Identity Theft

Most basic homeowner's insurance policies do not have protection from identity theft. There are, however, situations in which an endorsement can be obtained from a specific insurer. While not quite free, the cost of this identity theft protection is typically rather reasonable.

There's a chance that the suggestion won't even help you avoid identity theft. Instead, it helps you recover from identity theft's emotional and financial fallout. If you have been the victim of identity theft, a case manager will assist you in rebuilding your credit. But, you must notify each credit card company separately if you suspect fraud.

Identity Theft Protection at No Additional Cost to You at Work

Depending on the company you work for, identity theft protection services may be provided at no cost to you. More and more companies realize how important it is to protect their employees' privacy regarding sensitive data.

The spread of COVID-19 has also contributed to a rise in the number of people who do their jobs from home. Providing identity theft protection to remote workers is a smart move for any company. For the simple reason that if a hacker or cybercriminal can breach an employee's home network, they may theoretically breach the business's network as well.

Companies That Offer Free Identity Theft Protection Services

Some organizations, such as AAA and AARP, provide free identity theft protection programs. Common features of these services include credit monitoring and help with fraud issues. For a small fee, further security measures can be put into place.

Tips on Preventing Identity Theft

Using the aforementioned free services isn't the only thing you can do to protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft; there are other precautions you can take as well.

You Must Use a Secure and Distinct Password at All Times.

Use lengthy, unique passwords for all of your accounts. In addition, two-factor authentication should be used whenever possible (2FA). Cybercriminals will be strongly discouraged by this measure. Use a password manager to keep track of all your different login credentials.

Maintain a Consistently Up-To-Date System, Both in Terms of Hardware and Software.

In order to get access to a system, hackers frequently look for security flaws in older versions of the system software and apps. To avoid these flaws, it's preferable to update to the latest software version available. It's possible to automate everything, even software upgrades, freeing you from duty.

Throw Away Sensitive Documents.

Traditional methods of identity theft were still used by many. By going through garbage cans, identity thieves can gain access to personal information that might be used to commit crimes. Shred any documents that include sensitive information, such as your Social Security card or credit card statements, to prevent identity theft.

Your Credit Should Be Frozen for Safety.

You should freeze your credit if you plan to avoid taking out a loan or doing any other actions that might need a credit check soon. The ability to use a credit card won't change. If your credit is frozen, no one can use your personal information to get credit in your name.

Keep these tips in mind, and make use of any resources available to help you avoid being a victim of identity theft. Hence, your vulnerability to attack will be reduced.

Related Articles