ID Theft Protection Products: 3 Important Considerations
Did you know there are now over 50 id theft protection products and services all telling us we need to have their product to keep our identities safe? That’s because it’s an unregulated industry. It’s not an exaggeration that virtually anyone can offer “protection”, call it whatever they want and charge whatever they think they can get for it. In my experience, the more closely you look at all the products and services in this space the scarier it gets. The threats aren’t even the same: “cybercrime”, “credit fraud”, “identity theft”, etc, etc. And don’t even get me started on the hidden fees, contracts, upfront “discounts” and lack of credible customer service. If you own an identity theft protection product or service---and we all need one—then you may know what I’m referring to.
For the past 5 years, I have been marketing one specific product as an independent rep called IDShield, offered by the world’s leading legal services company, LegalShield. When I started, I knew almost nothing about identity theft. Today, thanks to 5 years of training, study and mentorship by true identity protection experts, I can honestly say I am associated with what I believe to be the most affordable AND comprehensive id theft protection product. Of course, that’s what you might expect me to write in my own blog. Here’s what you might not expect me to write: anything is better than nothing, so buy something if you don’t have one as you read this. Before you lay out your hard earned money, I advise doing your research.
Here’s what I consider to be the three most important areas to examine carefully:
What will product or service do for you if you become a victim? A victim means someone uses some aspect you’re your identity to do something in the world in your name without your authorization. It could be a simple as some get a managing ticket and manages to make it look like you did it instead of them. Or maybe they take out a loan in your name—a boat, a car, a mortgage, a line of credit, etc. Besides hitting your credit score, when they stop making the payments, a bill collector will eventually find you and the real nightmare begins. This would be a very long blog if I started outlining and describing all the ways criminals can use our information to do bad things while posing as us. The point I’m making is that important to ask: what will your id theft product do to make you whole again? Will they give advice and information about which government agencies to contact and then say, “good luck, call if we be of further assistance”? Or will they say, “here’s an expert who’s licensed to restore your identity and disconnect you from all that damage”? That’s called identity restoration. Very few companies actually do any restoration and even fewer will do it comprehensively.
Hidden fees and charges usually make an “introductory price” more expensive than you ever expected. One not so obvious example of this: charging by the person. If your immediate family contains more than just you, this is one way even more credible company can eventually cost you a lot more than the initially advertised price. Another common one: “save money by paying this one low annual amount”. That’s called an annual contract—and good luck getting any of that upfront money back if you’re not happy later. In my opinion, any product or service that delivers high value can be offered on a month-to-month basis (ideally, with no future price increases) so it earns your business every time you use it.
How long have they been in business and what are their ratings by name-brand independent consumer advocacy services. Three that come to mind: C-Net, Consumer Reports, and Better Business Bureau. As a consumer in our digital age, I’ve noticed that much of the “consumer/user reviews” are actually sponsored, white-washed, manipulated, or otherwise taken out of context to suit someone else’s agenda. That may be ok for picking a new restaurant for a one-time meal. It’s not how I want to decide who to trust with my identity and personal information.
It will not shock you that IDShield checks all of these boxes:
It fully restores your identity with the work performed by licensed privacy investigators
There are no hidden fees or charges. It’s $9.95/month for an individual; $24.95 for a family (defined as spouse/partner and/or up to 8 children under 18) It never goes up in price—that’s just how LegalShield operates with all its members
IDShield is usually one of the top rated products on any consumer advocacy website and has an NPS rating (Net Promoter Score) in the ’90s which are almost unheard of
So do your homework so you can make a fully informed decision. I think we can all agree it’s important that we always know what we are really getting and how much it’s costing us--now and later.