From: Peace and Wisdom

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 19th, 2008 at 12:53 pm and is filed under Family.

Free Isn’t “Free” When It Comes to Protecting Your Identity

by Jed Jenson

Although the federal government has made it possible for each citizen to protect their identity by accessing free credit reports, initiating free fraud alerts and, placing their name and contact information on “do not call” or mail lists, many individuals do not realize that they must continuously request these “free” services in order to continue to protect their identity. When you consider the amount of time it takes to repeatedly request these “free” services and calculate the risks involved in forgetting to put these protective measures in place, “free” can turn into thousands of hours spent trying to restore one’s good name and credit and thousands of dollars of financial ruin. When it comes down to it, if time equals money, then free is not “free” when it comes to protecting your identity. There is however, an economic way to protect your identity and prevent identity theft through a company called LifeLock. LifeLock’s Identity Theft Prevention services can help you protect your identity and prevent identity theft in six valuable ways.

1. Fraud Alerts – LifeLock helps to protect your identity by requesting Fraud Alerts for you every 90 days. A fraud alert is a “flag” placed on your credit report that notifies a lender that they must, among other things, verify your identity before issuing a credit card or loan. If a LifeLock member has difficulty in obtaining credit because of a fraud alert on their credit account, LifeLock will contact the credit issuer for the member and clear up any concerns about the alert.

2. Do Not Call or Mail Lists – One of the easiest ways for thieves to steal your identity and affect your credit status is by stealing pre-approved credit card offers from your mailbox or calling under the guise of a telemarketer telling you that you have won a free trip and asking for your personal information, as well as a credit card, to pay for the expenses not covered by the award, i.e. room taxes. The best way to prevent this type of identity theft is to remove your name from calling or mail lists; however, this must be done on an annual basis. LifeLock makes it easy for you to continuously remove your name from solicitation lists by doing these steps for you on an annual basis.

3. Credit Reports – Checking your credit report is a good way to check to see if you have had any unauthorized loans or credit cards opened in your name. Although the federal government has made it a law for you to receive a free credit report from each of the 3 credit agencies yearly, the only way to ensure that your credit is checked all year long is to request a credit report from one of the credit agencies every 4 months. LifeLock takes the time and effort out of remembering to pull your credit report by sending you a copy of your credit report four times a year.

4. WalletLock – If you ever lose your wallet, LifeLock’s WalletLock system will help prevent identity theft by assisting you in identifying what was in your wallet and will assign you a WalletLock specialist who will help you contact each credit card company, banking institution, and any state and federal agencies who issue driver’s licenses, etc. to cancel the affected accounts and to begin the process of reinstating missing documents.

5. Identity Monitoring – With LifeLock’s eRecon and TrueAddress systems, potential identity theft threats are detected and eliminated through searching criminal websites and nationwide databases. eRecon protects your identity through searching criminal websites for the selling or trading of your social security number, credit card numbers, driver’s license number, email address, etc. and notifies you if such use is discovered. TrueAddress works by detecting any change of address information in relation to your name that occurs on nationwide databases. You will be alerted if a criminal tries to steal your mail or obtain your financial information by attempting to change your address. LifeLock also ensures that thieves do not open new bank accounts in a subscriber’s name by monitoring check systems.

6. Recovering Your Identity – Because criminals find ways around the system, preventing identity theft is not always fool-proof. Because of this, LifeLock offers a $1,000,000 total service guarantee that if someone happens to discover a weakness in their system and uses it to steal your identity, they will provide attorneys, investigators, accountants, case managers, etc. to restore your good name and, if you lose money as a result of the theft, LifeLock will reimburse you the amount of money lost. Todd Davis, CEO of LifeLock, has even been quoted as saying “If you get thrown in jail [because of identity theft], we’ll bail you out of jail.”

There are ways to protect your identity which will only cost you in terms of time and effort; however, there is no guarantee that you will recover your money and good name if your identity is stolen. LifeLock’s Identity Protection services offer six ways to save you time and effort in protecting your identity, preventing identity theft, and guaranteeing to recover your money and restore your good name if your identity is stolen.

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