Do the Best Identity Theft Protection Services Work?
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As more and more large retailers are affected by hackers and major Internet security vulnerabilities such as Heartbleed, identity theft is increasingly becoming a threat.
This also means that identity theft protection services operate a full-court press in order to get everyone to sign up for their services. But is it worth the theft protection? We look at the best identity theft prevention services and then see how they can help protect your identity.

Which are the best identity theft protection services?

Most top identity theft protection services provide basic monitoring of your credit report, finances, social security number, and public records, so you are well protected by each of the best services. Some go beyond that to make sure you're not a victim of identity theft. We have sorted the top services and here are our favorites:

Best Overall Identity Theft Protection: Lifelock

 One of the few services that allows monthly credit updates. That's great if you're trying to build your balance and track your progress. In addition to basic identity theft protection, they will log you out of all junk mail lists and monitor a variety of your information, including the driver's license number and address changes. Lifelock also offers a 30-day trial. Here is a good comparison of Lifelock with our second favorite, IdentityForce.

Best identity theft protection for families: IdentityForce

IdentityForce's "Child Watch" add-on provides one of the most affordable and comprehensive family identity theft programs. With only $ 18 a month for you and your kids, it's perfect for those with big households. IdentityForce monitors all your financial information, including the Social Security number and all financial accounts. It also offers a 14-day free trial so you can try the service before you commit. Here is a breakdown of the service and what it offers.

 

Best identity theft protection with extras: Identity Guard

 

Identity Guard provides solid identity theft protection and also includes extras that some of the other identity theft prevention services do not offer. Along with the protection you will get credit monitoring for all three of your credit reports, computer protection software, encryption software as well as public monitoring and online financial tools. It's about the same price as the Lifelock service, so you do not pay much extra for all the added services, which is a nice benefit. You can learn more about what Identity Guard offers here.

 

Best Free Identity Theft Protection Service: Credit Sesame

 
Credit Sesame is great for those who are reluctant to disclose their credit card information to avoid identity theft. It's 100% free, which is very unusual in the world of identity theft. It updates your credit score every month so that you can see how your credit score changes, and also monitors your credit report for suspicious activity. Does Credit Sesame offer everything that other identity theft protection services do? No, but if you're just looking for a simple identity theft protection, Credit Sesame is the best service for you. Here you will find more information about exactly what it offers.

 

Can identity theft protection services actually protect you?

 
It is a good question. Identity theft protection can not protect you from getting your identity stolen. That's not how they work. You do not take any preventative measures to protect you from the theft of your identity.
What do identity theft protection services do? Here is a breakdown:
Monitor your credit report: When identity thieves steal your personal information, they typically do so by allowing you to either use your credit cards or open new credit cards or loans on your behalf. Each of these activities will be displayed in your credit report. If an activity appears suspicious, you are warned against identity theft, so you can handle the situation.
Monitor Your Finance: Unusual activities in your credit report are a good indicator of identity theft, but some cases of fraud can not be caught by monitoring your credit report. Most identity theft services monitor your other financial data, including credit cards and bank accounts, and look for credit or loan applications submitted on your behalf.

Monitor Your Personal Information: While monitoring your finances is a good start, there are signs of identity theft in other areas of your life. The best identity theft protection services also monitor your Social Security number to make sure no one uses it without your knowledge. Some other services monitor public records and medical records, monitor your license number or look for address changes that you have never authorized.
Provide security software for your computer: One of the most important ways in which identity thieves steal personal information is through hacking. Many of the leading identity theft protection services provide antivirus software for your computer that helps protect you from hackers. The software usually includes features such as encrypted logins for banking websites and anti-keylogging software to protect you.