Lately it seems that there is a major government or private industry data breach being reported almost weekly. With over 800 million consumer records compromised by data breaches since 2005, it's become painfully obvious that our personal information is not safe.
US consumers rely heavily on their identity, and many are left wondering if there is anything that can be done to stop their information from falling into the wrong hands?
The unfortunate reality is that it's not possible to completely eliminate the risk of identity theft. Even for the most cautious individual living 'off the grid', the very existence of a social security number, let alone any digital footprint left along the way, will forever be a potential liability.
This begs the questions: What can be done? Is Identity Theft Protection a viable, effective option?
Although there have been a few recent FTC headlines about an Identity Theft Protection provider having allegedly made false claims about their capabilities, most of the providers of this type of protection deliver a very valuable service. The efficacy of these services however is somewhat subjective, as the consumer's perception of the service will determine how effectively their service produces the intended result. In an effort to clarify the capabilities of identity theft protection, here is a health insurance analogy that highlights the benefits, and shortcomings, of the service.
When it comes to personal health, most people generally agree that by taking preventative actions – eating well and exercising – many illnesses can be avoided. It is also generally understood that taking preventative measures does not guarantee that someone will not get sick or injured. For these risks, there is health insurance. Insurance isn't going to prevent an accident or illness, but it does provide 'protection' and assistance when someone becomes sick or injured. Additionally, insurance typically provides for professional preventative care, like yearly check-ups, helping detect potential threats to an individual's health as early as possible.
Identity Theft Protection behaves much in the same way. Preventative action – safeguarding your personal information and being wary of scams – is the first line of defense, and will significantly reduce the chances of being victimized. But when the theft occurs, just like with an ailment, catching it early and treating it properly makes a significant difference. "Early detection and RapID Resolution is the difference between a threat and a problem", Ed Margolin, CEO of Identity Theft Protection provider Fraud Protection Network, Inc.
With health insurance, the provider and coverage chosen has a significant impact on the cost and care ultimately received by the patient. In much the same way, the Identity Theft Protection provider chosen has a profound impact on how successfully would-be identity thieves are stopped and potential financial damages are mitigated.
It is important to understand the limitations of the protection, but being promptly alerted to a potential risk and having a knowledgeable, trusted specialist handling your case provides a security you likely could not duplicate on your own.s.
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