Published on April 16th, 2021
In today’s world, protecting your personal information has become more important than ever. This is mainly because the digital age means that so much of our personally identifiable information is stored on servers and clouds at various big data organizations.
While those organizations are very much susceptible to hacks and data leaks, your individual devices and accounts are also vulnerable. This is where identity theft protection and monitoring services come in – they can help to safeguard your identity, proactively monitor suspicious activity, and even assist with recovery in the event that you become a victim of a data breach.
It’s about time that you start thinking about investing in one of these protection services. That’s probably why you’re here in the first place! Before we talk about the best privacy protection services in 2021, however, we need to chat a little more about identity theft, first.
Identity Theft – What Is It?
Someone uses your personal identifying information and fraudulently pretends to be you so that they can gain access to your finances, commit fraud, or benefit in some way from you as a legal person – that’s identity theft. It’s also known as identity fraud.
The sort of information that identity thieves look to steal may seem trivial at first, but the implications of this information getting into the wrong hands can be disastrous. Identity thieves steal information like your full name, address, email address, Social Security number, as well as login and passwords for your many online accounts.
They’ll also benefit from stealing your driver’s license number, passport number, or bank number. Access to these bits of information allows identity thieves to commit identity theft or sell your information to others on the dark web, for example.
Current trends show that this phenomenon is a rising problem, especially in the United States. In the US alone, 2019 saw more than 13 million identity fraud cases, where victims lost nearly $17 billion in total.
Clearly, identity theft is expensive for the victim, but it can have lasting effects for victims, with disastrous damage to credit reports and the stress of the fallout to cope with. What services can you use to protect your privacy and your general wellbeing? Read on for a comparison of some of the best services.
As a partner of IBM Watson, which provides artificial intelligence that scans the web’s millions of articles, social media posts, and public records, Identity Guard has the foundations to have become one of the most popular privacy protection services in 2021.
The service offers safe browsing tools so that you can browse the web securely, as well as engage in online banking and shopping with peace of mind.
The service prides itself on protecting its customers’ identities in the digital age – they boast having nearly 50 million customers and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
A subscription to Identity Guard covers the most essential aspects of identity protection and recovery in the event that you become a victim of identity theft.
Theft prevention, credit monitoring, identity recovery assistance, and identity theft insurance up to $1 million is included in the subscription.
An additional bonus that they provide is the Identity Guard family plan that helps your kids stay safe online, too.
The family plan also offers up to $1 million cover in related expenses, should a family member become a victim of identity fraud.
OneRep is all about the democratization of privacy – it’s their core tenet which drives their ethos to provide a service that’s more than just protecting your identity online.
The company understands the ins and outs of the way online privacy is changing today and they’ve been working, since 2015, to help keep your information out of the wrong hands.
Looking at OneRep vs BrandYourself, for example, the former is able to remove your information from over 100 people-search sites.
It’s a 100% automated service which means that you don’t have to keep checking – if anything were to happen, they’d let you know.
With people-search websites allowing virtually anyone access to publicly-available records about you at the click of a button, this service takes care of the other side of identity protection for 2021.
Since your Social Security number is a prized commodity for identity thieves, IdentityIQ is a necessary tool to monitor your Social Security number.
They help to detect identity fraud beyond simply monitoring your credit score across the three major bureaus, but also check if your address was changed without your knowledge, scan the dark web for signs of your information being used or traded, trade line monitoring, and more.
While we think that its Social Security number tracing is a powerful tool to have at your disposal for peace of mind, IdentityIQ also provides an identity restoration service to rival those of Identity Guard and Norton LifeLock – an action plan with insurance that covers up to $1 million in damages.
Norton has long been a key player in digital protection services, becoming a household name as an antivirus and antimalware program over the years. Now, however, they offer LifeLock as part of their digital protection suite.
Norton 360 with LifeLock is available in various subscription tiers, providing both device and identity protection.
LifeLock also offers a VPN, putting them above some of their competitors in that respect. However, it’s their identity theft protection tools that we want to talk about.
Like other services, LifeLock also offers dark web monitoring so that you know the instant your information is involved in shady dealings that you otherwise would have been unaware of.
You’ll also be notified of data breaches and will benefit from credit monitoring through the bureaus. Like IdentityIQ, this service also provides alerts on your Social Security number.
LifeLock is also on par with other identity protection services that assist you with the fallout should you become a victim of identity theft.