The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an article this week which questioned the necessity of purchasing identity theft protection, as well as offered ways consumers can monitor their own identity.
Although it is true that we can monitor our identity— just like we could prepare our own tax return or manage our investment portfolio—doing it ourselves necessitates a steep learning curve, demands valuable time and energy, and burdens us with full responsibility for accuracy. Instead, outsource these tasks to the experts.
When shopping for identity theft protection, keep these 3 topics in mind:
What is your time worth? Look for a plan that meets your personal assessment of value. It may differ from the next guy. For those who don’t typically need extensive professional services, consider bundling identity theft protection with tax, legal, financial and personal counseling services.
What services are available? These may range from identity monitoring to providing you with a keylogging defense system. Determine what you need for your own peace of mind. Remember, no service guarantees 100% protection against identity theft.
How will you handle the recovery process should identity theft occur? Most of the problems, including emotional ones, arise during the “recovery” process, when people are trying to salvage their identity. Many services offer insurance up to a certain dollar amount, and most handle the research, phone calls and paperwork associated with this grueling process. This may just be your most important piece of “protection.”