Is your identity theft protection whatever your credit card gives you? Well, you may be setting yourself for a big world of hurt. Do things the right way! Here are three key elements to having a good identity theft protection plan in place.
Has your identity ever been stolen? When someone steals your identity, they are going for a joy ride at your expense. And, while you are not liable for what's stolen, it can be a huge mess to clean up. Here are three important elements you need to know to have an identity theft protection plan that not only works for you but saves you some serious clean up time.
Make sure your credit reports are being monitored. Typically, that is a common part of ID theft plans; however, here's the thing. No one can prevent identity theft, it can only be protected against. So, protect yourself. Identify theft protection is not an insurance product. It's a protection plan.
So, while you can't prohibit it from happening, you can protect yourself during and after the fact. The point is to have protection in place. Rather than an insurance product that insures against a loss, protection plans protect you from work you have to put in if your identity is stolen. When your identity is stolen there is no ultimate loss as the fraudulent activity that took your funds come back to you. It just takes a lot of time.
Have access to cash. When someone gets access to your identity, they potentially have access to your bank accounts, whether through your debit or through purchases. I am a huge proponent of emergency funds and having access to cash. You will need access to those emergency funds as your accounts may be inaccessible for a bit. At the same time, it's also wise to have a protection plan that provides temporary funds should your emergency fund get hacked as well or they rack up a bigger mess than you can cover with it.
Make sure your plan includes a dedicated case manager. This is the most important element. Identity theft is fraud and leaves you with a mountain of clean up in its wake. In fact, research suggests a person spends approximately 100-200 hours cleaning up his/her accounts once identity theft has taken place. I don't know about you, but I don't have time for that!
Most people have protection and most have monitoring, but the problems start when the clean up begins. Can you say, "major headache"? Save yourself the headache and have a dedicated case manager. One who will use a limited power of attorney to take care of any necessary documents and who does a majority of the legwork for you. When it comes down to it, it's likely the only thing you should really have to worry about is filing the police report stating your identity stolen. Leave the rest up to the case manager. Save yourself the physical and emotional stress that comes with identity theft and have a dedicated case manager working for you.
Well, first, get rid of the credit cards. Usually what they provide is minimal. It is basically credit monitoring, so get rid of those first!
Secondly, I would not use LifeLock. They have three tiers and in order to get the level of service I am about to recommend, you would have to get to their highest tier and pay approximately $30 a month. What I recommend is Zander Insurance. It is less than $7 a month for an individual or $13 a month for a family and includes:
Not to mention it is cheaper than LifeLock and provides more. It's not a matter of if your identity is stolen, it is a matter of when. The best way to protect yourself when it occurs is to have an identity theft protection plan in place that works for you, which will keep your wallet heavy and your heart light.
Question: Protect yourself! Does your protection provide you the coverage you need? If not, take action today! Be sure to also check out my free e-book that explains six key spending areas you can make simple changes to and save $200 or more a month.
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