Identity Theft Restoration FAQ’s

What does identity theft restoration cover?
Identity theft protection provides solutions for individuals or families who are victims of an identity theft and includes “Fully Managed Recovery” and “Identity Theft Expense Reimbursement Insurance”. Fully managed recovery simply means that you will have a professional Identity Theft Recovery Specialist that will manage your recovery process to help restore your name and credit to pre-event status. Identity theft restoration usually covers (i) fraud & embezzlement, (ii) theft, (iii) forgery, (iv) data breach, and (v) other stolen identity event, each as a result of someone stealing and using your personal information such as social security number, date of birth, driver license number, bank or credit card account number, or other identifying information without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes for their benefit. Identity theft expense reimbursement insurance is an aggregate of $1,000,000.

Does identity theft restoration really work?
Identity theft cannot be entirely avoided and each of us must take responsibility and steps to protect our personal information every day.  For a service that is often presented as a remedy for breaches that expose sensitive information, credit monitoring and identity-theft protection is far from a "cure all" given the sheer scale of data breaches today; https://www.scmagazine.com/tag/data-breach.  Some breaches don’t occur for years after the personal data is stolen.  Credit monitoring and “Dark Web” monitoring are tricky and don’t detect all events of data breach or stolen data.  Identity theft restoration is just that, a remedial service that helps you recover your name and credit to pre-event status.  An identity theft event can take a life-time of effort on your part without the assistance of a professional service.

Is identity theft protection worth it?
An article in USA Today, https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/2017/04/22/identity-theft-protection-worth/100554362/ advises that one of the best ways to protect yourself against identity theft is with a “Credit Freeze”, which you can do yourself by contacting the credit bureau; this can be done online with proper identification.  This is a proactive step.  Make sure you check your credit every year by going to http://www.annualcreditreport.com/; it's FREE! Credit monitoring and Dark Web monitoring only tell you that your identity has been stolen and someone is using it or selling it.  As the article says, it’s like getting hit by a bus and someone standing over you and telling you that you’ve been run over by a bus.  As stated above, an identity theft can take you a lifetime to correct without the assistance of a professional provider. This service can help you restore your identity and credit to pre-event status.

Does identity theft affect credit score?
A blog on “Credit.com”, https://blog.credit.com/2012/09/four-ways-identity-theft-can-affect-your-credit/, tells us four ways identity theft can affect your credit score. 

What does identity theft protection cost?
There are many identity theft protection providers in the market place today. Cost depends upon services which will include the core service of fully managed recovery and identity theft expense reimbursement with add-ons including credit and dark web monitoring and sometimes cash recovery for ATM theft, stolen wallet, etc. Do some research and purchase the service plan that makes most sense for you or your family. You may conclude that some services are unnecessary and costly.

Which identity theft protection product is best?
Consumer Affairs, https://www.consumeraffairs.com/privacy/#, provides an online comparison of some of the leading identity theft protection providers in today’s marketplace.  Most of these include your core benefits of fully managed recovery and identity theft expense reimbursement insurance with optional monitoring services with the credit bureau(s) and dark web.  Some have more initial and ongoing educational and prevention information than others. In most cases it comes down to cost.  Review www.idtessentials.com for up to date essential benefits and cost, and our “No Cost Resources”.

What types of identity theft products do I need?

We certainly believe that you need the core identity theft restoration benefit. This benefit is more important than any other of the benefits, since you will need a fraud specialist to do all of the “heavy lifting” for you during the resolution process. The fraud specialist notifies all appropriate parties, from credit bureaus to credit collection companies, financial institutions, healthcare providers, credit card companies, law enforcement and governmental agencies such as the IRS, Social Security Administration and departments of motor vehicles. This program provides up to $1,000,000 in cash recovery and expense reimbursement to assist you in the event of an identity theft.

Why is identity theft protection important?
If you, or a family member, experience an identity theft event you can spend a lifetime trying to restore your name and credit.  Trying to recover your identity and credit on your own is a comprehensive and lengthy process. Identity theft protection from a service provider will provide professional assistance, do all the heavy lifting for you and could shorten the recovery process by months or years. 

What is the Dark Web?
The “Dark Web” really isn’t so dark, or mysterious.  While we’ve seen the terms “Dark Web”, “Deep Web” and “Dark Net” used interchangeably, techies will tell us there is a difference but you won’t find the technical versions here, so we’re using “Dark Web” meaning all of the above. The non-technical answer is it is an internet similar to what you are accustomed to browsing on now, like Google Chrome, Windows internet Explorer/Edge and Safari, except the privacy protections and protocols are much more elaborate. The Dark Web browsers offer anonymity as it changes IP addresses regularly making it difficult for crooks and schemers to hack into your computer.  You can also secure an anonymous email address to use with the dark web browser.  The browser is slower for this reason.  Government agencies, corporations, scientists, whistleblowers, media and others who wish anonymity use the dark web.  Unfortunately it offers criminals the same anonymity allowing them to sell drugs, contraband, and yes stolen identities.

Can the Dark Web be monitored?

An article in “Motherboard”, https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/jp5a9g/six-ways-law-enforcement-monitors-the-dark-web, “Six Ways Law Enforcement Monitors the Dark Web” offers a glimpse into how difficult it is to monitor the Dark Web and steps law enforcement is taking and suggesting. After reading this article,  you may conclude that monitoring the dark web for your personal information an unnecessary and costly service.