#credit monitoring comparison
You don’t need a costly service to protect your good name
Almost 50 million people subscribed to some form of identity-theft protection in 2010. Those services, which cost about $120 to $300 a year, promise to protect your ID by monitoring your credit reports 24/7, scouring “black-market chat rooms” for your personal information, removing your name from marketing lists, and filing fraud alerts. Some throw in up to $1 million in insurance.
More of these pitches are coming from banks, which account for more than half of the $3.5 billion a year spent on ID-theft protection subscriptions. In a sense, consumers who buy this protection from their banks are helping to foot the bill for services that financial institutions are obligated to provide by federal law to shield their customers from losses stemming from credit-card and bank-account fraud.
In the past we’ve found that these protection plans provide questionable value. And some promoters of these services have been slapped by the Federal Trade Commission for misleading sales practices and false claims. We dug into the latest products sold by more than two dozen banks, credit-reporting bureaus, and independent companies. Here’s what we found: