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Identity Theft and Finance: Should you Pay for Protection?

You’ve probably seen the commercial already, with a businessman in a suit touting his social security number for all to see, claiming that his service can protect you from potential identity theft disasters. Needless to say many in the industry are somewhat skeptical of such a service and whether Lifelock can really provide significant (not impossible, mind you, no service like this could ever hope to be completely invulnerable) protection against would-be thieves. While there’s been plenty of speculation, I decided to go to their site and take a look for myself. As per the site’s how-to guide, their steps to protect your identity are broken down into six parts (If you’re curious as to how this measures up against other identity theft services, you can take a look at this Lifelock Comparison Chart):

  • Credit Bureau Fraud Alerts: They contact the credit bureaus and request free fraud alerts on your behalf, which is usually done in short order. While I’m certain you could do this yourself, Lifelock claims that it will not charge you extra for the privilege.

  • Alert Maintenance: They will continue to request fraud alerts every 90 days, though one again I’m sure you could do this on your own given proper discipline and planning.

  • Removal from Junk Lists: Lifelock will request to have you removed from all sorts of junk mailing lists. Once again something you could do on your own.

  • Credit Report Request: Every year, they will request your free credit report from each major credit bureau and send it directly to you. As with previous steps, this can be done on your own.

  • Wallet Lock Service: If your wallet is lost or stolen, you can call a Lifelock support representative and they’ll walk you through canceling all necessary accounts/credit cards.

  • Identity Theft Monitoring: The only part of the service that you’d be hard pressed to do on your own, they will watch for your information on “known criminal websites.“ They will also watch for new address information with your name in a variety of nationwide databases, alerting you if someone has attempted to change your address.

Ultimately, the service seems to be an issue of convenience with some additional security measures mixed in. I wouldn’t say its a necessity for everyone, but it likely would make your life easier in the case of losing your wallet or if a would-be thief makes an attempt to change your personal information. Common alerts and reports are certainly useful to find out about any suspicious activity as early as possible, but this can be done on your own for free. If you’re looking for additional information on the service, I’d take a look at Lifelock Reviews. They provide additional information about the service, and a more thorough investigation into a Lifelock Scam possibility.

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