Identity theft is a huge industry for criminals and the term itself covers a wide range of offenses. The most common type of identity theft is financial fraud. Financial fraud can include crimes like credit card fraud, bank fraud, loan fraud, and more. The alarming fact is that financial fraud is growing rapidly. In fact, credit card fraud jumped up 18% from 2017 to 2018. Of course, there are ways to fight back. Both credit monitoring and identity theft protection are security measures people can employ to help prevent identity theft. That all sounds great, but what’s the difference between the two? Is one more effective at keeping you safe than the other?
What Is Credit Monitoring?
One way to stay safe is using a credit monitoring service. Credit monitoring services track your credit score for any suspicious activity like a change of address or employment information. Any changes will be flagged up and if you see anything abnormal then it’s a clear sign of identity theft. The best credit monitoring services will monitor all three of the credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
Another great feature of credit monitoring is that you’ll also be able to review any credit inquiries made in your name. This means if a thief is trying to apply for a credit card or loan using your personal details, you’ll know about it. The most important thing you can do with credit monitoring is not to be complacent and make sure to check it often.
What Are Identity Theft Protection Services?
Credit monitoring is sometimes mistaken for identity theft protection and while credit monitoring does help, it isn’t a comprehensive solution. That’s because with credit monitoring, you’ll only be alerted to financial identity fraud, so you won’t get protection from any other kind of fraud. Looking at the five most common types of identity theft shows us that people also have to worry about child identity theft, benefits fraud, tax fraud, and utility fraud just to name a few. Fortunately, that’s where identity theft protection comes in.
If you shop online frequently, you’ll find that identity theft protection has a lot of features to help you. In fact, even if you prefer to do your shopping at good old-fashioned brick and mortar stores then you’ll have assistance if you ever happen to lose your wallet. Identity theft protection also monitors the dark web for your personal details and keeps track of your Social Security number. That doesn’t mean that identity theft protection ignores your credit score, on the contrary, many of these services provide credit score monitoring too and some even rival dedicated credit monitoring services in this respect.
Perhaps the most important aspect of identity theft protection is the recovery services provided. These services always offer identity theft insurance which usually covers you for up to $1 million in damages. This is a reassuring safety net, but what really makes identity theft so important is that it employs dedicated expert restoration agents who will help you get back on your feet in the event of identity theft – even helping you save time by filling out paperwork for you.
Can You Have Both?
It’s true that the majority of identity theft protection services provide credit report monitoring as well, which makes them a much more tempting solution when you factor in all the other extra features provided. Taking a look at the example of MyScoreIQ services, an identity theft solution developed by industry veterans IdentityIQ services, gives us a good idea of how these two different services can be combined.
MyScoreIQ services is an identity theft monitoring solution at heart, with a lot of useful features like Social Security number and dark web monitoring. However, it combines this with thorough credit report monitoring capabilities. As you may have guessed by the name, MyScoreIQ services cares a lot about your credit score in particular. The service provides daily credit monitoring by checking your FICO Scores from the three major credit bureaus. The FICO Score is important, as it’s used by the majority of lending bureaus, putting it ahead of VantageScore. If any suspicious activity is detected, then you’ll receive an alert. Since the service also combines the great customer support aspects of identity theft with this specialist credit monitoring, it means you’ll be able to get asssitance for any issues.
In truth, to have maximum protection you need a combination of credit report monitoring and identity theft protection. It’s up to you if you want to employ two separate services, but there’s always the option of having your cake and eating it too.
Best Identity Theft Protection of 2020