Sponsor Robert Siciliano as he runs the Boston Marathon for Miles for Miracles, Children's Hospital Boston
ROBERT SICILIANO is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds.

FREE EBOOK

Check here if you're human

Sponsors

Do You Really Need Identity Theft Protection?

1
Pin It

I see plenty of articles disclaiming any form of identity theft protection and the related expenses. They have titles like, “Identity Theft Protection Doesn’t Work,” or, “Poor Man’s Guide to Identity Theft Protection.” Most of these articles have some degree of merit, but they usually miss the point.

The fact is, you can’t protect yourself from all forms of identity theft, and the types that you can guard against require a Rain Man-like focus. One way or another, it’s going to cost you time or money or both.

Identity theft protection detractors say, “Why pay a monthly fee when all you have to do is…”

Securely dispose of mail. The standard advice is to thoroughly shred preapproved credit card offers and anything that includes any account information. While this is good advice and should be heeded, it’s not going to protect you when your bank or mortgage company or utility provider tosses your information in a dumpster that is subsequently raided by identity thieves.

Opt out of junk mail and preapproved credit card offers. This is good advice and can be done at OptOutPrescreen.com. However, even if you opt out of new offers, others will still arrive. It’s inevitable. You also need to get a locking mailbox, but that still won’t fully protect you.

Get a P.O. box. This won’t protect you at all. Anyone who recommends this tactic doesn’t understand how identity theft occurs.

Check your credit for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. This is an excellent way to stay on top of your credit reports and keep tabs on what accounts may be open under your name. However, it’s only good for one credit report per bureau per year. You should really check your credit report monthly, and that isn’t cheap.

Set fraud alerts. Fraud alerts are a great layer of protection, but they expire every 90 days, and most people don’t bother to renew. Plus, fraud alerts only serve as a guideline for creditors, who are not required to contact you before issuing credit.

Get a credit freeze. This is a great way to help prevent new account fraud. I recommend this. But by itself, a credit freeze is not enough.

These are all layers of prevention that will help, but by themselves or even in combination, they cannot provide the same degree of protection offered by a reputable, full-service, paid product.

To ensure peace of mind and protect your most valuable asset, your identity—subscribe to an identity protection service, such as McAfee Identity Protection, which offers proactive identity surveillance, lost wallet protection, and alerts when suspicious activity is detected on your accounts. For additional tips, please visit http://www.counteridentitytheft.com

Robert Siciliano is a McAfee consultant and identity theft expert. See him discuss an identity theft “pandemic” on CNBC. (Disclosures)

About the Author
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.

Similar Posts

  • Part 1 of Identity Theft – 5 Identity Theft Myths Unveiled
    #1 You can’t protect yourself from identity theft. Some, not all Identity theft is preventable. There are many things people can do to minimize their risk, both online and offline. Shred anything that has names and account numbers or any other data that can be used to con someone else into divulging even more information. Keep
  • Everything you need to know about a Credit Freeze
    A credit freeze locks down your credit report so lenders can’t see your scores, making your credit/SSN useless to them because they don’t know their risk level. If thieves get ahold of your ID, they can’t get credit in your name as long as your credit is frozen. Freezing your credit will seal your credit reports.
  • Credit/Debit Card Identity Theft Concerns Trump Terrorism
    Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert A recent Unisys study found that, in the midst of the global financial crisis, American’s primary fear is credit and debit card fraud. 68% of those surveyed are extremely or very concerned about the security of their credit or debit card data, and 66% are extremely or very concerned about identity theft. Compare that
  • What Identity Theft Protection Looks Like
    You hear a lot about identity theft protection these days. But what does it look like? I’ve subscribed to no less than six different services in the last decade. Most of them make their presence felt in the form of a charge on your credit card statement, and that’s about it. One thing I like about
  • Child Identity Theft
    Child identity theft is a growing problem. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that there are 500,000 new victims every year. The culprits are often parents or others who have direct access to the child’s Social Security number. (In my own experience, I’ve had to give out my children’s Social Security numbers to hospitals, insurers, and

One Response to “Do You Really Need Identity Theft Protection?”

What are good ways to protect yourself from identity theft?…

It all depends on what kind of identity theft you are referring too. New account fraud requires identity monitoring of a credit report, and/or a fraud alert and/or a credit freeze. There are services that will do this for you. Account takeover requires…

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Xtreme School

Featured in

Anderson Cooper John Stossel Robert Siciliano Featured in
Browse by Month

Browse by Category