Looking for the best identity theft protection services? Read on, as we cover the top-recommended providers in today’s feature.
Staying safe online is getting harder each year. Finding the best identity theft protection services is a great way to start, however. Keeping your ID secure, monitoring for breaches, and receiving alerts whenever your private data is discovered in the public can help head off cases of identity theft before they happen.
Along with finding a good identity theft protection company to keep a close eye on your data, there are a handful of other things you can do to keep your information safe. Start with a secure browser, look into running a background check on yourself, then get a reliable VPN to lock down your device with powerful encryption. Once you’ve taken care of that, check into one of our recommended identity theft protection services for the ultimate in security!
What the best ID protection services offer
In the past, keeping your identity safe meant shredding bank account statements and reporting a lost wallet to the police. These days, your data can go missing without you even knowing it, all thanks to the prevalence of digital tracking and online access. A good identity theft protection service can be the only thing that stands between you and true security.
Don’t let the world of identity theft overwhelm you with details! A good protection service offers a handful of features that can prevent ID theft, notify you of breaches, and even help you recover from an attack. All the best identity fraud protection services should offer:
- Advanced monitoring – Usually includes scans of online data along with checking social media sites or even the dark web.
- Financial reporting – Especially useful when it includes credit checks and credit card number monitoring.
- Alerts – Serves as your first line of defense against identity fraud, and should notify you immediately when something goes wrong.
The best online identity theft protection services
We’ve narrowed down the market to two services: Identity Force and Identity Guard. Both services offer the above features and a lot more, providing an affordable and effective method of online identity security anyone can use in an instant.
Here are the two best online identity theft protection services for your money:
Identity Force is a one-stop solution to ID protection that offers monitoring, alerts, and recovery services for everyone. With it you can guard against damage caused by identity theft, get instant notifications when trouble arises, and even receive personalized assistance in case an identity breach does occur. Best of all, Identity Force backs its service with a $1 million insurance policy, covering you and your assets in the most extreme of circumstances.
Using Identity Force is nice and straightforward. As soon as you sign up you can enter the details you want monitored, then sit back and enjoy the added security. Identity Force actively scans everything from credit card numbers to your name, address, social security number, and more. If information is found where it shouldn’t be, you get a notification along with a plan of action right away.
Fast, thorough, and easy to use, Identity Force is one of the best identity theft protection services on the market.
Identity Guard offers comprehensive identity theft protection that covers both personal and financial information, family member details, and even business interests. It comes with full monitoring and alerts that create a powerful early warning system fueled by artificial intelligence algorithms. Identity Guard scours billions of data points for vulnerabilities, everything from credit card records to the dark web, creating an impenetrable radar that catches even the smallest breaches and notifies you immediately.
The Identity Guard service offers full scanning, monitoring, and alerts for all of its users, allowing you to discover and react to threats as quickly as possible. All of this is backed by IBM’s Watson technology, utilizing cutting edge artificial intelligence to keep your identity safe. Even if all of these precautions fail, Identity Guard offers a $1 million insurance policy to ensure you’re never left out in the cold after an attack.
Identity Guard is a powerful and easy to use service that offers some of the most thorough ID scanning around. It’s one of the most affordable services, as well, making it a great entry point into the world of identity theft protection.
4 threats to your identity
You may think that identity theft protection is not worth the money, or even pointless altogether. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case. Data snooping and stealing is a vibrant world that’s always active, always searching. Even seemingly safe activities or secure connections can be compromised without your knowledge. Below are just a few of the threats to your identity that can result in your ID being compromised or stolen.
1. Data breaches
Massive company-wide hacks, leaks, and data breaches are growing more and more common these days. Cyber criminals have learned to target databases held by large companies, allowing them to gain access to millions of people’s identities in one dramatic movement. In the last few years alone, Verizon, Equifax, Bell Canada, HandBrake, Uber, and Yahoo have suffered breaches, resulting in over 1 billion records stolen.
There’s very little you can do about these data breaches. It’s up to third parties to keep your information safe. That means every time you sign up for a service, every time you hand over your e-mail, name, or phone number, you’re putting your identity at risk.
2. Credit card fraud
Identity theft reached an all-time high in 2016. The majority of these cases are directly related to credit card fraud, as what do thieves want more than our money? Credit card skimmers and online number scanners are at the core of these scams. In many cases it can take thieves days or even weeks before utilizing stolen numbers, making it difficult to trace the activity back to its origin. A good identity protection service does provide an effective barrier against this type of fraud, however.
3. Stolen devices
Have you ever left your phone on the train? Forgotten your tablet at a cafe? Stepped away from your laptop at the library only to see someone else sitting there when you got back? Accessing or even stealing our hardware is a surprisingly common method of identity theft. With your device in hand, criminals can access your entire online life, from financial accounts to e-mail to social media, all without restriction.
4. Man in the middle attacks
Man in the middle attacks, sometimes called Wi-Fi spoofing, are more common than you might think. They’re essentially a method used in public spaces such as libraries, hotels, cafes, or restaurants to duplicate a local Wi-Fi connection point in an effort to trick people into logging on. As soon as you do, they have access to every keystroke you make, including passwords and login information for sensitive data. Remember: public Wi-Fi isn’t always safe. Be extra cautious when connecting.
Protecting your identity – steps to stay safe
Having a service like Identity Force or Identity Guard on your side is an incredible way to check for deep breaches and hidden identity attacks. There are a number of things you can do on your own to help keep your information safe, as well.
Use a VPN on all of your devices
The foundation of online security lies in encryption. VPNs are one of the fastest, easiest, and most affordable ways to add encryption to your devices, from PCs to laptops to smartphones. With a secure VPN on your device, every piece of data that leaves it will be wrapped in a layer of code impenetrable to outside sources. Even if a thief did scoop up all of your data, they would be unable to read it, as only the VPN itself can decrypt the code to see what’s inside.
VPNs do more than just keep your data safe inside an envelope of encryption. They also allow you to stay anonymous thanks to non-local virtual IP addresses, a feature that makes it possible to stream videos from around the world, break through censorship barriers, and so much more.
Create strong passwords
Far too many people neglect basic password security. If you use the same password for more than one site, or if any of your passwords look like “password123” or your spouse’s name or birthday, you could be risking a serious security breach. Password lists are routinely stolen from companies and either released to the public or sold to third parties. All it takes is a single breach and your information is out there.
There are a wealth of online password generators you can use to create secure, easy-to-remember but difficult-to-guess passwords for all of your online accounts. Make sure you use a different one for each site, and make sure they follow the basic rules of being at least eight characters long, featuring a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, and include one or more non-standard symbols.
Does that sound like a lot of work? Don’t worry, there are plenty of password management systems in place that can handle the heavy lifting for you. Two of the best are LastPass and Bitwarden. Create an account there (with a secure password, of course), then let them store all of your data and enter it for you. Easy, safe, affordable, and effective.
Keep your details to yourself
What’s the most effective way to prevent identity theft? Keeping your identity to yourself. If you never type your e-mail address or private data into a website, no one can steal it. It’s nearly impossible to completely withdraw from the Internet, of course, so in lieu of going full-on luddite, you can keep data sharing down to a minimum. The steps below are a great place to start.
- Use an e-mail address that isn’t connected to your name.
- Don’t sign up for services you don’t need.
- Don’t give out telephone or physical address information.
- Close online accounts you never use.
- Use made-up names for non-essential sign-ups.
Keep your identity safe by fortifying your browser
Almost all of our online activity passed through our web browsers. Even with a good identity theft protection service in place, it’s a smart move to make your browser as secure as possible.
Choosing a reliable browser
If you’re using Microsoft Edge simply because it was already on your computer, you might want to consider an upgrade. A number of well-known browsers have emerged in recent years with a full focus on providing privacy and security for their users. They don’t track your data, they prevent scripts from monitoring you, and they do so in a friendly and customizable environment.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, just focus on two of the best and most secure browsers on the market: Firefox and Brave. Each of these are made specifically to provide users with as much identity and data protection as possible. For more suggestions, including the top browsers for mobile devices, check out our guide to the most secure browsers.
Install secure browser extensions
Even with a good browser in place, there are other steps you can take to secure your identity. The best of these include installing secure browser extensions that watch for threatening scripts, block unwanted ads, and just generally keep your data as safe as possible. For the full list of security, privacy, and encryption plug-ins, check out our guide on the 8 must-have browser extensions.
The best identity theft protection services form a strong barrier between you and having your virtual ID stolen. They monitor the world wide web, checking for data breaches and suspicious activity, and they alert you the moment something unusual occurs. The top ones in the industry such as Identity Force and Identity Guard even feature recovery and insurance features to make sure you don’t lose everything in case of identity theft!
Which identity protection service do you prefer? Got any suggestions on preventing data theft? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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