Navigating the Digital Frontier: Identity Protection Services

After last month’s post on password security, we received great questions regarding identity security concerns. Since there is a vast array of topics concerning technology, the digital space, and identity protection, we’ve decided to start a new blog we are calling “Navigating the Digital Frontier.” Each month we’ll have Tucker, along with other guest writers, cover innovation, important features and pressing concerns regarding technology. Have a question you want Tucker, our Chief Compliance Officer and IT manager, to look into? Ask him here.

Client Question: Do you recommend security services such as LifeLock?

Tucker Morris is Morris Financial’s Chief Compliance Officer and Information Technology Manager.

Tucker Morris: While I do not personally recommend LifeLock, if you are interested in identity protection, there are other services you should consider. Your best friend in choosing any service is always going to be research. My issue with LifeLock is certain lawsuits LifeLock has had to settle, and their somewhat shady relationship with Equifax.  However, I do believe there are some programs that may be good for specific services.

First and foremost, if you are a full on frugal, do-it-yourself type person, you can do almost all of these things for free using various techniques.  Nevertheless, here are the services I might find useful through a company like LifeLock or another identity protection company.

Format and Timing of Credit Report and Score

  •  www.annualcreditreport.com is a free place to grab your credit report, but I dislike the way they present the credit report and score (the score, last time I checked, was elusive).  I also like to monitor my credit on more of a monthly basis because I am fairly paranoid.

Having an Identity Protection Help with Identity Theft Issues

  • I personally never had to use this (and I hope I never have to) but in the case my identity does get stolen, it would be nice to have a company retained who can help me navigate the situation. One who has already been helping monitor my credit history seems to make sense on some level.  Having no experience with this service from LifeLock or any other similar companies, I cannot tell you the benefits of one over another.  I have also not been able to find an objective source for reviews on this service, but it is in my mind a possible value add.

Monitoring for Fraudulent Transactions

  • I don’t use an identity protection company for this because I personally monitor all of my transactions.  For those who take a more laid-back approach, I believe a company that monitors for fraudulent transactions would be a useful service.  The downside here is they do send you a ton of emails if/when your account link breaks – say because you changed a password on the account.

What I would not use a company like LifeLock for:

  • Freezing My Credit / Privacy Protection
    • Although some of these companies claim to do it for you, my paranoia causes me to be more proactive in this task and complete it manually.  For privacy protection, you should go here.  For credit freezes, you need to visit each credit union’s website – here they are listed below:
  • Insurance
    • I believe any insurance claim these companies have is likely bogus, and you really won’t get your money’s worth without a fight. Though I have no experience with this, having read some of the fine print, chances of a payout seem low.

While I would recommend identity services like Credit Karma or Privacy Guard among others above LifeLock, there is some value for those who want additional layer of security. For others there are some DIY alternatives to consider but as always, do (a lot) of research and consider all your options before hiring a service. As always we are happy to discuss your personal circumstances and give our opinion of what services may be right for you – just give us a call!

 

Nothing contained herein constitutes investment advice. Morris Financial Concepts, Inc. is an independent investment adviser registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about Morris Financial including our investment strategies, fees and objectives can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available upon request. MFC-18-04