CSID Protector Plus Review
CSID Protector Plus offers an individual as well as a family option. The individual plan covers one adult age 18 or older and costs a flat fee of $9.99/month, billed monthly. If you have children you want to protect, you can sign up for the family plan and pay a monthly rate of $11.99/month. However, it's important to note that the family plan only covers one adult and up to 10 children under the age of 18. If you want coverage for another adult, you will need to purchase an additional individual plan — which would make the cost for two adults and dependents $21.98/month. As far as pricing goes, Protector Plus is fairly cheap — especially for families that don't need to cover more than a single adult with the family plan.
The sign-up process is quick and simple. First, you will be asked to provide basic personal information, which includes your social security number, then create a username and password and enter your payment information. Once your payment is processed, CSID will ask you to answer several questions to confirm your identity. If you signed up for the family plan, you will then have the option to enter information for your children — or you can skip this and do it later.
Once you're finished signing up, you will receive an email from CSID with some welcome information. This email will require you to click a link and log into your account in order to activate it.
While not the most thorough, Protector Plus provides solid identity theft protection in terms of the type of information it monitors. Its CyberAgent feature monitors "thousands of websites and millions of data points" for your personal information and will alert you if it finds that any of it is being bought or sold online. All alerts from CSID will be sent to you via email and posted to your online account. Data which is monitored through CyberAgent includes up to five bank accounts, five credit/debit cards, your social security number, one passport, one driver's license/state ID, two medical ID cards, three email addresses and three phone numbers. You can add/edit monitored information as well as view any alerts you've received on your dashboard or by clicking on the CyberAgent link in the Identity Protection section at the top of the CSID website.
The website interface is similar to several other identity theft protection services we've reviewed in terms of design and ease of navigation. Across the top of every page is a toolbar that divides the website into five sections: Credit Monitoring, Identity Protection, Child Monitoring, Identity Restoration and Education Center. To view and edit your account details, click on "My Account" at the top-right of the page. In addition to its primary content, each page also provides FAQs and additional information on the current topic, such as sidebar blurbs and videos — which we found helpful.
Within the Identity Protection section, you can view individual pages for CyberAgent, Change of Address Monitoring, Court Records Monitoring, Payday Loan Monitoring, Sex Offender Monitoring and Social Security Number Trace. Change of Address Monitoring shows a list, complete with a map, of all addresses currently associated with your identity and alerts you if someone tries to change your mailing address. Court Records Monitoring will alert you to any reports of criminal activity using your information. Payday Loan Monitoring will let you know if someone tries to take out a short-term loan using your information. This is especially handy because these types of loans often do not require a credit check and wouldn't normally be flagged by a service which doesn't monitor for them.
Sex Offender Monitoring not only alerts you if a sex offender uses your information fraudulently when registering, but it also shows a map of all sex offenders living near you. Each sex offender is given a number on the map, and you can scroll down on the page and click a "+" next to every name and number to get more detailed information on the offender — including his or her offense and other descriptive information. Parents as well as individual users will probably appreciate having this information available.
The Social Security Number Trace feature provides a report of all known addresses and aliases associated with your social security number. This is an easy way to find out if someone is using your social security number.
Child Monitoring allows you to add and track information for up to 10 dependents. In addition to your child's name, social security number and birth date, you can also have CSID monitor his or her email address, phone number, bank account, credit/debit card and medical ID number (one of each per child). Most other identity theft services that offer coverage for dependents do not encourage or provide monitoring for that much of your child's information, so this was nice to see. Protector Plus searches for the data you provide on the Internet and other areas where information is traded or sold and sends you an alert if a match is found.
Protector Plus provides daily monitoring of your files in all three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — and alerts you if any new inquiries or changes are noted. It monitors for credit inquiries, delinquencies, judgements and liens, bankruptcies, new loans and more. As with other alerts, you will receive an email as well as a message within your online account. Unfortunately, Protector Plus does not provide as extensive credit report monitoring as we would like to see. Although the service itself monitors your credit reports from all three bureaus, it only provides you with a copy of your TransUnion credit report to view yourself. This credit report can be requested once your membership starts, and it is updated every 30 days.
The credit report is broken down into sections for easy viewing, and there is a video on the page that walks you through understanding your credit report. Although it is good that you can view this credit report, without being able to view your Experian and Equifax credit reports, you may miss a significant change. This is because not all creditors report to all three bureaus, so some information may only show up on one credit report. If it isn't reported to TransUnion, you won't be able to catch and report it. It's also somewhat disappointing that Protector Plus does not provide a look at your credit scores, although this is not an option every identity theft protection service provides.
In the event that your information is compromised, CSID offers full-service identity restoration by its Certified Industry Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist (CITRMS) staff members. When you contact CSID, you will be assigned a dedicated restoration specialist who will work on your behalf to help restore your identity to its previous status. Having someone to walk you through the many necessary steps that must be taken in the event of identity theft can be a huge weight off a victim's shoulders. Your restoration specialist will help you contact creditors, notify law enforcement, review your credit file as well as place credit freezes and fraud alerts.
In addition to full-service identity restoration, CSID also covers all members with up to $1 million in identity theft insurance. This will reimburse you for out-of-pocket expenses related to your identity theft — such as document replacement, travel, loss of income, child and elderly care, unauthorized electronic funds transfer and legal costs. CSID will also retain lawyers, investigators and case managers on your behalf.
Contact methods for Protector Plus members include phone and email support. Phone support is provided 24/7; however, the Identity Care center that handles restoration services has limited hours. The Identity Care center's phone support is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT.
The Education Center, while not extensive, offers videos and several articles with information about identity theft and safety. There are also some FAQs at the bottom. While this page is not all-inclusive, CSID does a good job of providing specific information and videos on each section of its website that pertain to the topic at hand. This makes it so you don't need to go searching elsewhere to find more information about Change of Address Monitoring or the identity theft insurance policy, which is certainly nice.
Although Protector Plus lacks in credit report monitoring, it provides pretty extensive monitoring of its members' information as well as reports that aren't always provided by an identity theft service (but are certainly appreciated). The plans are simple and inexpensive, and the full-service restoration is a good asset to have on your side. If you are comfortable obtaining your triple-bureau credit reports elsewhere, CSID's Protector Plus could be a good option for individuals with or without children looking to save while also getting good identity theft coverage.
|Fraud Monitoring:||Monitors 3-bureau credit reports, public records, credit cards, SSN, bank accounts, driver's license, passports, medical IDs, address change, payday loan applications, sex offender registry, court records, emails, phone numbers|
|ID Theft Insurance/|
|Reports Delivered:||TransUnion credit report monthly|
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