Best protection against identity theft
March 1, 2016 6:28 PM   Subscribe

My employer suffered a data breach and my personal information was leaked. They've provided me a subscription to a identity theft and credit monitoring service. I don't trust them. What is the best service money can buy that will protect me from identity theft and credit fraud?
posted by special-k to Work & Money (7 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
My identity was stolen last year. Of all the research i have done and help i have recieved, it is clear that the only thing i can do to protect myself is put security freezes on my equifax, transunion and experian accts. Google krebs on security for the article that made it all painfully clear. Everyone who has a credit account of any kind should have freezes at all the bureaus.

I have experienced an incredible amount of dysfunction dealing with my breach at all levels of the credit system. Astounding to be honest, but when you look at how our economy has been put together you start to understand.

I use AllClearID for monitoring and they seem good, but will never be able to stop a breach before it gets started. Only a credit freeze can do that.

Good luck, its a nasty road.

posted by silsurf at 7:09 PM on March 1, 2016 [3 favorites]

Monitoring is almost just a post event notification. Freeze your credit and it puts up major hurdles before the event. 2nding both the above posters and the Krebs article.
posted by AugustWest at 8:41 PM on March 1, 2016

Yeah, freeze that shit. All the monitoring services fundamentally suck -- they're a perverse 'credit default swap' kind of business for the identity brokers who are mostly responsible for the problem in the first place, and I believe that some of them have been data-breached themselves. I joke to tech-biz friends about what happens when everyone living in the USA ends up under 'complimentary identity protection monitoring', because I'm sure that a substantial chunk are doing so right now, and it's only a matter of time before everyone gets their vitals pwn3d via some shitty database getting pwn3d.

(This really doesn't happen anywhere near as often and as broadly in Europe where data protection law is serious stuff, with teeth.)
posted by holgate at 9:42 PM on March 1, 2016

Best answer: I've been a lucky participant in seven major data breaches, and have had several credit monitoring services running simultaneously, gratis, as a result.

They all do the same thing -- watch your credit reports and look for requests of new lines of credit. Most will also do the phone work of calling up and straightening up your report.

But the only thing that will protect you is to either put a fraud alert on your credit reports or freeze it.
posted by zippy at 9:38 AM on March 2, 2016

Also, your data: ssn, name, address, and possibly credit card nos, was most likely already on the black market before your employer got pwned, because an enormous number of insurance companies, retailers, hotels, banks, and employers have been breached in recent years.
posted by zippy at 9:40 AM on March 2, 2016

a side note.

I got called today from Macy/Amex fraud dept. Since my ID was stolen it seems Macys/Amex is one place that the perts continue to have success. A few months ago Macys/Amex called me about an account that was drawn up to 23K and I had never been called, warned, etc by my monitoring service AND the account was NOT listed at TransUnion, Equifax or Experian. Not sure how that is possible, but it is.

Todays call was a surprise because I told the CSR that I had a freeze on all my credit service bureaus and how could they have successfully opened an account without hitting the freeze. Again, they said they had no idea, but low and behold it was opened for about 10 hours until they called me and the it was closed immediately.

All really bizarre, but what I have learned is that the people stealing the IDS are probably more sophisticated than the people trying to protect me.
posted by silsurf at 8:05 PM on March 8, 2016

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