LifeLock vs. Experian's ProtectMyID

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The 21st century has a new kind of thief. They attack innocent victims by stealing their identity, credit and leaving their finances ruined. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, identity theft surpasses drug trafficking as the number one crime in the nation. Consumers have a responsibility now more than ever to protect their identity. Consumers should be diligent in protecting their data by periodically requesting their credit report, shredding financial and banking paperwork and verifying the identity of companies who call and ask for your personal information. With everyone’s busy lives, a new crop of companies have come along to take the stress and manual labor out of those who want to aggressively protect their identity.

There are thousands of identity theft protection companies for consumers to choose from. Arizona-based LifeLock is the leading identity protection company in the country. The company reportedly has new clients signing up every two minutes. LifeLock offers an array of services and specialized products for consumers who want to be proactive about protecting their most vital information. LifeLock CEO Todd Davis has exposed his most vital information, his social security number, to the world in the form of broadcast and print advertising to show support and reveal the strength of LifeLock.

Another company entering the identity theft protection ring is Experian. Experian is typically known as a credit reporting agency, but is actually quite powerful. Experian’s business model extends beyond simply protecting and helping the public gain access to their credit information. They, along with the other two massive bureaus, have so much influence on consumers that you may be denied a cellular phone or a landlord may decide not to rent from you because of the detailed information found on their report. Experian also offers a variety of products and services that help consumers protect their private credit and financial information. A new service they are offering is ProtectMyID, an identity theft and monitoring product.

LifeLock vs. Experian’s ProtectMyID

LifeLock and Experian both offer a great identity protection service that the public needs. Consumers should compare the specifics of each service. Here’s the breakdown:

Summary of Services by LifeLock
COST

• $10 a month or $110 a year per adult

BASIC SERVICE

Credit Reports – LifeLock requests and sends to you your free annual credit reports from all three bureaus.

Junk Mail Removal – LifeLock asks that your information be removed from junk mail and pre-approved credit card mailing lists and LifeLock monitors these requests until you no longer receive any unwanted solicitation. Further protecting your identity.

Alerts-As a LifeLock client, they will request that the bureau’s place fraud and red flag alerts on your credit account. This means that if anyone attempts to use credit under your name (steal your identity), you are alerted by lenders who will then verify if it’s you. You are alerted by telephone by a LifeLock representative when there is any activity regarding your credit like opening a new line of credit or changing an existing credit limit. If you do not answer the call or deny the authorization, the transaction will not be completed. Further, LifeLock renews these alerts every 90 days unless the customer requests not to.

Service Guarantee – A customer of LifeLock is entitled to a $1 million guarantee that says that if your identity is stolen, they will do everything in their power to restore your name spending up to $1 million to do it.

Support – LifeLock Customer Care is available 24/7. Advice available online in the Answers Center portion of the LifeLock website.

PERKS

WalletLock – LifeLock’s identity protection goes one step further. LifeLock will contact all companies associated with your lost or stolen wallet and alert them of theft and request replacement and cancellation of items you normally carry in your purse. Simply call LifeLock and they will handle the rest. Cash not included.

LifeLock is the winner of the 2008 “TopTenReviews” Gold Award for outstanding identity theft protection.

Minor Protection – LifeLock is committed to protect a person’s identity no matter what the age. Minor Protection offers protection for kids under the age of 16 for an additional fee as long as one member of the household is an annual member. This protection is covered by the $1 million guarantee and LifeLock monitors your child’s credit report and work history every six months.

eRecon – LifeLock’s services also extend to the Internet through a online fraud monitoring service called eRecon. Through this service, LifeLock searches through websites that are known to illegally sell or trade any of your personal information. You are notified immediately by LifeLock if any of your personal information is found on these websites.

Summary of Services by Experian

COST

• 30 day Free Trial, $9.95 a month thereafter

BASIC SERVICE

Credit Reports – Experian monitors the credit reports from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion daily. Offers one Experian credit report delivered when you enroll.

Alerts – you are alerted when changes to your account have been made including address changes, new credit applications or new accounts opened. Customers also have the option of requesting fraud alerts to be informed about any potential fraudulent activity. However, the credit bureaus erase these flags from your file every 3 months. By law, the credit agency you call must also contact the other two bureaus.

Service Guarantee – Experian also backs its service with a $1 million guarantee if you become the victim of identity theft while a member of PrrotectMyID. Experian will reimburse you for eligible expenses incurred like attorneys fees, lost wages and stolen funds.

Support-Toll-free Customer Care and fraud resolution representative access. Assistance in card cancellation and reimbursement of eligible expenses is your debit or credit card is lost or stolen. Access to credit-related articles and resources.

PERKS

CardSafe – covers your credit and debit cards that were registered when you enrolled if they are lost, stolen or used without authorization. Experian will reimburse you for any stolen funds that your credit card company or bank will not cover.

The Skinny

LifeLock is a relatively new identity theft protection company and has ruffled the feathers of the one of the largest credit reporting agencies (Experian). The alleged fight between the two companies over LifeLock’s legal business tactics and Experian’s consumer intrusion only put the spotlight on one of the fastest growing crimes in this country-identity theft. To put things into perspective, this rivalry between the two companies parallel the current presidential election. Experian is the older, more established company that most consumers recognize and seemingly trust because of their credit reporting history and industry power. On the other hand, LifeLock is a new, fresh company with an energetic CEO named Todd Davis, whose promotional tactics have turned heads and made consumers believers in the identity protection services of the company.

The fact is LifeLock and Experian are two different companies. LifeLock bases its entire business model on identity theft protection. Experian is a credit monitoring company that offers a not-so-publicized identity theft protection service called ProtectMyID. What is not noted in the summary of services above is how a client becomes eligible to receive up to $1 million from Experian. According to their website, www.protectmyid.com, in order to be eligible for the $1 million identity theft guarantee you would have had to observe the suspicious activity on your credit report and filed a police report within 10 days from the date that you received it or when you first learned of the identity theft. Secondly, you would then report the identity theft to their Fraud Resolution Department, which is only available Monday-Friday, 6:00am-6:00pm. Then you have to call and alert the other credit bureaus within 10 days that an identity theft action has been taken. To top it off, when Experian suspects the suspicious identity theft activity they will send you an e-mail or text. While it may seem that most consumers have access to those kinds of advances in technology, most do not.

I find it ironic that a credit bureau like Experian, which sells consumer credit information to companies for pre-approved credit card offers, would want to protect the identity and credit information of their customers. It appears to be a contradiction in the basic makeup of their company. Experian also appears to be threatened by LifeLock’s fraud alerts placed on their client’s behalf.

LifeLock is riding the wrath wave caused by credit bureaus who are threatened by the disruption LifeLock has caused in the consumer credit and identity protection industry. Hate them if you will, but LifeLock boasts the most comprehensive consumer identity protection service on the market. Whatever information that could identify you (driver’s license, full name or street address), LifeLock vows to protect.

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