Identity theft protection services have taken a big hit this month as two major companies have been exposed for misconduct and dishonesty. The Federal Trade Commission accused LifeLock of failing to secure sensitive customer information as it pledged to do in 2010. Then the credit bureau Experian, which also provides identity protection services, was sued for allegedly selling consumer records to an identity thief. In the wake of these incidents, many consumers are wondering if there are any services that can actually keep their identities safe.
This news comes as no surprise to many in the financial industry, who are thankful that consumers now know the truth about LifeLock and other commercial “identity protection” services. They claim that consumer information has been compromised for years and that banks and others must develop better solutions. Identity protection services often scan the internet for signs of suspicious activity of a customer’s information, then sends an alert to notify them. Critics claim that many identity protection services charge large fees to consumers for activities that consumers can perform for free. For example, by law consumers can get a free credit report three times a year. They can also acquire free credit monitoring from companies like Credit Sesame and Credit Karma.
In the digital age, it is extremely important for consumers to practice good identity hygiene. This means before hiring an ID protection company, read the fine print. Do they have protection? What are their ID theft and remediation strategies? All in all, people should know what services they are paying for.
Consumers can also take action on their own. Check their credit reports annually, shred documents with personal identification on them, monitor bank statements, and watch out for phishing and web scams to ensure personal identity information is safe.
It’s a new era where identity protection should be on the forefront of consumer minds. Merchants must be aware of this imminent threat, and the impacts it can have on their customers and businesses. EMB is a comprehensive chargeback protection provider that protects merchants from fraudulent attacks as a result from identity theft activity. Contact EMB about Chargeback Shield and take the risk out of high risk business.