Identity theft is one unfortunate consequence of living in these modern times and while anybody can be a victim, seniors are particularly vulnerable to this crime. It is such a serious issue that the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging estimates that older Americans in the Unites States lose about $3 billion every year in financial scams. Fortunately, all hope is not lost.
A wide range of identity theft solutions have been developed to combat this serious and growing problem of identity theft. However, not all are as good as others. The important thing for seniors to do is find a reliable product designed to provide reliable protection, a high quality of customer service, as well as many other advanced features. One such solution is identity theft insurance.
Video Guide: Identity Theft Protection Plans for Seniors
Don’t feel like reading all this info at the moment? Here is a video summary for you!
What is Identity Theft Insurance?
Identity theft insurance is typically provided by identity theft protection services and is designed to cover some of the identity theft related costs. It essentially reimburses identity theft victims for money spent reclaiming financial identities and repairing credit reports. Such costs range from legal help to phone bills.
Identity theft insurance policies reimburse victims for some of the expenses incurred from the day to day activities as well as efforts made in attempts at repairing credit or restoring a victim’s identity. However, not every identity theft insurance plan covers the direct financial losses incurred as a result of identity theft.
What Seniors Should Look for When Shopping for Identity Theft Insurance
If you area senior looking to buy identity theft protection services and insurance, here are some of the features that you should look for:
1. Tri-Bureau Credit Monitoring
The identity theft insurance policy you choose should ideally monitor your credit report across all 3 main bureaus i.e. TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax to give you a broader view of your credit standing. You might not necessarily receive your credit score across all 3 bureaus since they have different scoring features, but it is a feature found with most reputable identity theft insurance providers.
2. Social Security Monitoring
Social Security monitoring is another essential feature to have in your identity theft insurance policy. The monitoring utilizes the Dark Web, publicly available information, and other places where your private data might be stored and/or sold to the public. It also involves looking for any places where your social security number may be fraudulently in use.
3. Criminal Monitoring
Criminals may steal a person’s identity (especially a senior’s) to use if they are facing sex offender registration or to dodge arrest warrants and/or tickets, etc. Criminal monitoring involves scouring the Web and other Public databases and alerts you if and when your identity has been used to either evade legal action or for some sort of suspected criminal purpose.
4. Insurance Coverage Amount
Identity theft insurance is used to reimburse victims of identity theft for the expenses related to fraud loss and the process of recovery. That’s why you need to choose a policy with a good coverage amount. Fortunately, many insurance providers have a $1 million cap, which is a helpful feature to have during the process of recovery with all associated costs such as attorney fees, etc.
5. Dark Web Monitoring
One thing that seniors need to understand is that not everybody online has the best of intentions. The Dark Web is a deeper part of the Internet where criminals may try to steal your personal information and misuse it. Dark Web monitoring involves scanning those areas of the Internet to detect whether your information is used fraudulently.
Read my guide to Cybersecurity for Seniors for more information.
6. Financial Monitoring
Financial monitoring services are a staple of any reputable identity theft insurance provider and helps monitor financial actions performed using the victim’s information. Financial issues such as savings accounts, investments, bank transactions, payday loans, or even 401Ks are typically monitored and clients receive immediate updates regarding any suspicious activities.
7. Real Time Updates
To reduce your exposure to losses from fraud, It is always better to know about any fraudulent activities involving a stolen identity immediately – when they happen. Real time updates are a definite must with any identity theft insurance providers that seniors are considering working with.
Identity Theft Insurance: Key Protections Provided/Options Available
If you are a senior who’s considering getting some identity theft insurance, it is important to consider the features discussed above. When it comes to the key protections and option provided by identity theft insurance providers, there are essentially two:
Identity theft insurance companies provide monitoring services to their clients. They provide identity theft monitoring, which focuses on the fraudulent use of your personal information. They also provide the other kinds of monitoring discussed above i.e. Social Security, Dark Web, criminal, credit, social media, etc. If your personal information is compromised or stolen, you can get assistance with recovery.
Identity theft insurance companies also offer restoration services. You need to look for dedicated support for the recovery process when choosing an insurance provider to work with. Find out whether the provider allows you to have access to a specialist or counselor to help you through the process of contacting credit agencies, completing paperwork, and working with an attorney to get your identity back.
The Top 4 Identity Theft Insurance Providers for Seniors
The following companies offer the best identity theft protection plans for seniors. Each company has multiple plans so review the information carefully to make sure you are getting the proper coverage for your needs.
LifeLock Identity Theft Services by Symantec
Offers the most protection options but the most expensive too.
LifeLock is a leading provider of identity theft protection and insurance company and is committed to keeping close watch on your devices and information and protecting your identity with Norton Security. LifeLock monitors your bank accounts, devices, and Social Security Number. It also tracks any crimes committed in your name and offers tri-bureau credit monitoring.
LifeLock offers 3 protection plans with a wide range of identity protection strategies and tools to keep you safe from criminals that may try to steal your sensitive personal information. It also offers a $1 million protection package. In the unfortunate circumstance that you become a victim of identity theft, the company will work with you to restore your identity, clear your name, and replace stolen funds.
- $1 Million insurance policy
- Stolen funds replacement
- 24/7 live support
- Tri-bureau credit monitoring
- Limited/expensive plans
- No free trial
Identity Guard by Aura
Powerful Identity Theft Protection that uses AI to monitor your information.
Identity Guard leverages IBM Watson artificial intelligence to deliver unparalleled identity theft protection and credit monitoring by watching the Internet for broad patterns that may point to a stolen identity but can be easily missed by a human.
Identity Guard also offers a TransUnion credit score monthly and moderately priced plans. Identity Guard also offers up to $1 million in insurance coverage in case your identity is stolen. It will also alert you if anybody attempts to file a tax return in your name.
Identity Guard doesn’t offer investment account monitoring or sex-offender notification. The basic plan doesn’t offer bank account or credit card monitoring. It only offers limited customer support hours, but it is easy to cancel the service if need be.
- Affordable plans
- Tax refund alerts
- Easy cancelation
- Safe browsing tools
- Limited financial account monitoring
- Limited customer support hours
Best Value! Basic plan has the most options.
ReliaShield offers a variety of monitoring services to detect any fraudulent activity. If you are ever the victim of identity theft, the company will work with you to restore your identity and recover any lost funds. The company boasts a 100% success rate when it comes to restoring client’s accounts and funds after identity theft happens, but it works even harder to prevent identity theft in the first place.
Reliashield’s coverage lacks anti-keylogging and anti-phishing tools, but it plans start very cheap and it also offers credit report monitoring, Dark Web monitoring, Social Security Number tracking, address change alerts, etc. Other services such as sex offender alerts, pay day loans, and social media monitoring are only included in the higher tier plans.
- 100% recovery rate
- Credit report monitoring
- Social Security Number monitoring
- Affordable plans
- Exceptional customer service
- Device protection not offered
Get More For Your Money! Least expensive top tier plan.
Identity Force offers identity theft protection, data protection, as well as rapid security breach response. It not only monitors your sensitive personal information but also allows you to control access to the data and offers identity recovery in case of a breach. Identity Force offers 3 packages that all give you instant access to credit reports, but only 1 package allows you to access reports from all 3 major bureaus.
Identity theft offers 2-factor authentication, monitors your credit score, checks the Dark Web for your private information, watches for address changes on your accounts, monitors your social media, and monitors all your accounts for any suspicious activity. If Identity Force comes across anything that’s seemingly fishy, it will send an alert to your smartphone.
- 2-factor authentication
- New account alerts
- Court records monitoring
- Affordable plans
- 30-day free trial
- It doesn’t provide antivirus coverage
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are identity protection services worth it?
Identity theft protection services are definitely worth it since they provide security and monitoring and alert you if your identity is compromised or stolen. Identity theft protection services also offer recovery services to help resolve problems associated with identity theft.
How do I protect my identity for free?
Here are some of the things you can do to protect your identity: Install strong and up-to-date security software to protect your smartphone and computer; Only make purchases from reputable websites; Use strong passwords. Read more identity theft protection tips for seniors in this article.
Do I really need identity theft protection?
Identity theft protection might seem like an unnecessary expense, but nothing could be further from the truth. If your information/identity is stolen, you may be held financially responsible for what the criminal purchases, charges, or does with that information. This can be potentially damaging to your credit rating. So, you need identity theft protection to avoid all that.
How can I find out if someone is using my identity/ How do you know if your identity has been stolen?
To find out if someone is using your identity or know if your identity has been stolen, you need to look for several warning signs. If you notice bank account withdrawals you never made; if you don’t get your bills or mail; if you receive collection calls about debts you didn’t incur; if you see charges on your credit reports that you never made; if you are denied coverage for a condition that you don’t have; if you receive medical bills for services you didn’t have; or if the IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, chances are your identity has been stolen.
What should I do if my identity gets stolen?
If you are ever the unfortunate victim of identity theft, you can take several immediate steps before you come up with a recovery plan. You should first alert the FTC immediately, file a report with your local police department, and notify the company that’s included in the theft.
Is credit monitoring and identity theft protection the same thing?
People often use the two terms interchangeably. However, those are two separate services that are often combined to provide comprehensive identity protection. Credit monitoring, as the term might suggest, is a service that alerts you if a change is made to your credit report, such as a new account being opened in your name. Identity theft protection, on the other hand, involves monitoring your personal information to alert you of or prevent any security breaches that may not show up on a credit report such as somebody else opening a bank account in your name.
Identity theft protection is definitely not something that any senior can afford to do without in today’s information age. When choosing an identity protection service, it is important to choose the one that ticks all the boxes in terms of features.
All the identity protection services featured here are all good, but one stands heads and shoulders above the rest. LifeLock is the best identity protection service overall since it not only offers comprehensive monitoring, tri-bureau reporting, and closely monitors your devices, but it also works with you to clear your name, restore your identity, and replace the stolen funds.
If you don’t feel your situation warrants the complete protection of Lifelock, Reliashield offers the best value for the basic identity theft protection. Their Essential Plan offers the most protection options of any of these company’s starter plans.