Q: I live in Hawaii and want to sign up for identity theft protection services. Do any of these services allow protection for people who live in Hawaii?
Here's a breakdown of where each service offers its protection:
Identity Guard offers protection to people in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
TrustedID and IDFreeze both offer services to any U.S. citizen that has a valid Social Security number. So even if you live in another country these services might be a good option for you. However it's important to note that communication might be an issue because TrustedID and IDFreeze's phone lines aren't able to dial outside of the continental U.S., and certain aspects of the service can only be performed via phone.
LifeLock provides identity theft protection to anyone with a Social Security number, U.S. primary address, telephone number and who resides in one of the 50 states or U.S. territories.
Check out our Identity Theft Protection Compare Page to see a side-by-side comparison of each of our reviewed identity theft protection services or visit our FAQs to learn more about identity theft protection services.
A: In addition to being able to log into your credit monitoring account online, all of the top services including Identity Guard, PrivacyGuard and Trusted ID allow you to print your full credit report. In addition to all three of these services having easy-to-read reports to print out, Identity Guard also has a mobile application where you can view your full reports.
If you need your credit reports and scores to be updated frequently, PrivacyGuard is an excellent service that updates your information every month. PrivacyGuard's 3-bureau credit reports are ultra-detailed and give you information pertaining to the rise and fall of your credit scores. The service costs $14.99/month and is currently offering a $1 30-day trial. Be sure to read our full PrivacyGuard review.
Identity Guard is the ultimate full-fledged credit monitoring and identity theft protection service, and it's also just $14.99/month. Plus, they have a 30-day free trial. Though their updates are a little less frequent – they update your credit scores and reports every 3 months – they provide concret information so you can fully understand your report. Here's our full review of Identity Guard.
It's important we mention Trusted ID as well, since they are the only service to offer a family plan. With their family plan that is just $20/month with the annual contract, everyone in your household is covered under their identity theft protection, and 2 adults get their full 3-bureau credit reports and scores. The only downfall is that once you get your scores, they aren't updated during your subscription. However, like the other two services we mentioned, Trusted ID does monitor your credit report daily for any changes. They offer a 14-day free trial as well.
To read full reviews of all the services and to compare them side-by-side, visit our credit report monitoring comparison page.
A: Great question! Most Internet fax services, like the top provider in our reviews, MetroFax, allow you to use a wide variety of common file formats, including Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word (.doc and .docx), Microsoft Excel (.xls and .xlsx), or image files including TIFF and JPG. Usually when you receive a fax to your email or Internet fax dashboard, you receive these in PDF or TIFF format.
Internet faxing is convenient, affordable and great for the environment. As we mentioned, MetroFax placed #1 in our Internet fax rankings. Their annual plan comes out to just $6.63 per month and their month-to-month plan is also well-priced at $7.95 per month. If you're looking for something even cheaper, Nextiva fax comes out to $4.95 per month when you pay up front for the annual plan. Read full reviews and compare all of the top Internet fax providers here.
Q: I've had my phone number for 20 years, so it's really important for me to keep it. If I change to VoIP services, would I be able to keep my current phone number?
A: We know how important it is to keep your long-time phone number and luckily all the Home VoIP services we review — except Skype — allow you to transfer, or port, your phone number to the VoIP service for no extra charge. This process is simple and begins the day you sign up.
It's important that you do not cancel your existing phone service before the transfer is completed because cancelling before the transfer's completion can cause you to lose the rights to your phone number. In most cases, porting takes about five to 10 business days and once the porting is complete your previous phone service will automatically be cancelled.
In order to begin the porting, you'll have to provide the VoIP service with information from your current phone service, so it's helpful to have a copy of your current bill nearby to make sure you enter the information accurately. This information usually includes your name, phone number, current phone provider and account number for that provider.
Porting can be confusing and the process may vary from service to service, so we encourage you to contact the VoIP service directly to get complete details about how you can port your phone number to that service.
Q: I'm a single parent and interested in signing up for Identity Guard, but I also want to make sure my children have identity theft protection. Does Identity Guard offer any program that protects one parent and two children?
A: Great question! Yes, Identity Guard does offer a plan called kIDSure that allows you to protect yourself as well as your children. This plan allows you to add a child to an existing adult's plan for only $4.99/month per child, so the monthly total for you and you two children would total to $24.97/month. You'd also get a free 30-day trial so you can try out the service before you make a financial commitment.
kIDSure is a plan that specializes in protecting children's identity since children don't have a credit history or as much personal information as adults. This child-specific identity theft protection monitors for your child's information on criminal records, DMV records, utilities records, as well as scans for Social Security number exposure on the Internet black market.
Identity Guard's kIDSure has no age requirement, and no limit on the number of children that you can add to your membership. The only requirement is that the enrolled children are actually your children.
As one of our top-rated identity theft protection service, Identity Guard also offers extensive monitoring for adults including active monitoring of your 3-bureau credit report, credit cards, public records, Social Security number, applications of for credit‚ a cell phone‚ auto or home loans. If Identity Guard notices anything suspicious or phishy, they will alert you. The plan also includes Internet security software from Zone Alarm so you can even keep your family's computer protected.
A: Bulk faxing is cheaper, more organized and generally easier when using Internet fax rather than a traditional fax machine.
If you're looking for a plan with a high fax allowance for a good price, Fax87 is our top pick for bulk faxing. Their "Best Choice" plan includes 1,000 pages to send and receive per month for just $9.99/month after the 15-day free trial. If you go over the monthly fax limit, each additional page costs .08 cents. Fax87 does not limit the number of recipients you send to at once; however, they do have a daily 150 page limit for outbound messages. You can send and receive up to 2,000 pages per month with their "Pro Plan," but this is much pricier at $34.99/month. Want to try the service for free? Try it out with their 15-day free trial and be sure to read our full review for all the details.
For those whose fax limit doesn't exceed 500 pages to send and receive per month, MetroFax's free 30-day trial is worth a try. Their plan is a real bargain if you pay up front for a year, coming out to just $6.63/month. Plus, each additional page is only .03 cents if you go over your fax limit. If you need to send in bulk, you can send to a maximum of 250 recipients when you send from a MetroFax email address, or up to 50 recipients from the MetroFax online dashboard. Other plans include:
- 1,000 monthly pages for $10.75/month with the annual plan or $12.95/month-to-month.
- 2,500 monthly pages for $29.96/month with the annual plan or $35.95/month-to-month.
Read our full review of MetroFax and sign up for the 30-day free trial here.
Q: Identity theft protection seems like a good service to have, but how can I guarantee these websites are secure?
A: Great question! That is always an important question to ask yourself whenever you're typing your personal information onto any website, not just identity theft protection websites. Any information that you disclose to any of our reviewed identity theft protection services' websites is safely transferred in an encrypted format using SSL technology. Employees of these identity theft protection services have limited access to your personal information as well as additional workplace standards — such as no flash drives or information storing devices allowed on the service's campus as well as limited or no access to the Internet.
These websites that you use to sign up are secure, but if you want to verify the security, there are a couple of things you can check on before you enter your information.
1. Look for a color change or lock to appear on the left side of the URL to show that the site has been verified as a legitimate website. All major Internet browsers — including Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer — have these features or a feature very similar. For example, Google Chrome changes the beginning of the URL to green and adds the lock to verify it's secure.
2. Make sure the URL starts with "HTTPS." This stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, which means that the website is secure and will transfer your information to the company safely. It is much more secure than "HTTP," which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. We advise you to not enter your personal information if a website begins with "HTTP."
If you currently have an Internet security software, then it should already verify the security of the website as soon as you visit it. For example, our top-rated Internet security software — Norton's Internet Security — verifies a website's security with a little check mark and a green dot on the right of the address bar.
Check out our Identity Theft Protection Compare Page to see which service will be best for you or visit our Internet Security Software Compare Page to learn more about how Internet security software can keep your personal information protected on the web.
Q: I want to do a background search on someone, and I'm hoping to look back 40 years. Is that possible? How far do background checks usually go?
A: Great questions! Unfortunately, when you use a people search service you won't be able to get every piece of information from 40 years or more. This is because some of the information on background checks is collected from public records, which each state produces at different rates.
On average, address information can go back up to 40 years or more, while criminal records are around seven years. That time may also vary depending on the state. After the allotted time has passed, the criminal records are usually archived by whichever state the crime was committed.
Information stays on background reports until the information is updated on the public records themselves. People search services update their information often; however, sometimes public record sources take some time to update the original records, which delays the updates for people search services.
A: There are a few web hosting services that allow you to use a wide range of programming languages, as well as other features that advanced users might be looking for.
HostGator: This is your best option. Not only does it include PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, CGI, SSI, and ASP in its programming languages, but it also offers the best uptime and response time of any other web host we reviewed. It also is one of the few hosts that offers both Windows and Linux operating systems and offers unlimited MySQL databases. And at just $3.71/month with the NextAdvisor discount, it is a hard web host to pass up.
Network Solutions: For sheer number of programming languages, Network Solutions is the best. It is compatible with PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, Java, Zend,CGI, SSI, JSP, ASP, and .NET, which is more than any other web hosting service that we reviewed. It also allows both Windows and Linux operating systems, and includes 25 MySQL databases. Network Solutions uptime and response time aren't as good as HostGator's, but it is cheaper at just $2.99/month with the NextAdvisor discount.
HostMonster: HostMonster is our highest rated overall web hosting service, as it offers a wide variety of great features for a reasonable price. HostMonster is compatible with PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, CGI, and SSI programming languages and offers unlimited MySQL databases. It only offers Linux operating system compatibility, but does include Shell access. At $3.95/month with the NextAdvisor discount, HostMonster has the biggest bang for your buck of any of the web hosting services that we reviewed.
To check out all of our web hosting services reviews and see which programming languages each offer, check out our compare page here.
Q: I have to give out my driver's license number for work, and I'm always worried that someone will use my driver's license information to commit identity theft. If I sign up for an identity theft protection service, will they monitor my driver's license number?
A: Great question! Most of the identity theft protection services that we review do not actively monitor your driver's license number because these companies have found that identity thieves usually need more than the information on your driver's license to commit identity theft. However, there is one company we review that does actively monitor your driver's license number — LifeLock.
This identity theft protection service offers two membership options — LifeLock and LifeLock Ultimate. NextAdvisor readers get a 30-day free trial as well as a 10% discount off either membership. With the discounts, LifeLock costs $8.25/month with an annual prepay or $9/month paid monthly, and LifeLock Ultimate costs $20.63/month with an annual prepay, or $22.50/month if you choose to pay monthly.
Here's a breakdown of what each membership looks like:
The basic LifeLock membership includes:
- monitoring of your personal information (financial applications, credit cards, Social Security number, driver's license and address changes)
- lost wallet protection
- 24/7 customer service
- fraud resolution
- annual credit report updates
- identity theft insurance
The LifeLock Ultimate membership includes:
- monitoring of your personal information (expanded from LifeLock)
- lost wallet protection
- 24/7 customer service
- fraud resolution
- annual credit report updates
- identity theft insurance
- three-bureau credit monitoring
- surveillance of public and court records
- scanning for fraudulent new bank accounts
- alternate name scanning
- surveillance of unregulated global networks and file-sharing sites
Disclosure: NextAdvisor.com is a consumer information site that offers free, independent reviews and ratings of online services. We receive advertising revenue from most of the services we review. Our editors thoroughly research and whenever possible test each service we review and offer their honest opinions about each one. We are independently owned and operated and all opinions expressed on this site are our own.