TrustedID Review: Identity Theft Protection
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|Best value, especially for families; full credit report monitoring; monthly Equifax credit reports and scores; 10% discount & free 14-day trial|
[Editor's Note: For a limited time, TrustedID is offering NextAdvisor visitors an exclusive 10% discount as well as a free 14-day trial. There is no coupon code required for this offer, but you must click on a link from our site to sign up.]
TrustedID has been providing a solid identity theft protection service for years, with features like three-bureau credit report monitoring, access to all three of your credit reports and scores, monitoring for your personal information in a variety of sources and medical record protection. TrustedID's features are now second to none, and in our opinion, it is the best overall value in identity theft protection. It also offers a tremendous value for identity theft protection and credit report monitoring starting at $9.38/month (with annual prepay) using NextAdvisor's exclusive 10% discount and 14-day free trial.
Unlike some of the other services we review, TrustedID offers a cost-friendly family plan for only $18/month ($216/year) with an annual prepay, or $25.19/month with monthly payments. The family plan is a great deal because it protects the identity of an unlimited number of family members living at the same address and costs less than two individual plans. Individual plans cost $9.38/month ($112.50/year) with an annual prepay, or $13.49/month with monthly payments.
Should you decide to cancel your membership, you can do so at any time. If you purchased an annual membership, you must cancel within the first 180 days of your membership to receive a 50% refund. If you cancel after 180 days, you will not receive a refund at all. Cancellation requests must be processed over the phone, rather than email or live chat. It is also good to know that after you cancel, TrustedID will purge sensitive information — such as your social security number — from its system within 90 days. However, it will maintain your name, address, telephone number and email address in its database indefinitely.
Signing up for TrustedID is divided into three steps — choose your protection, enter your personal and billing information and start protection — that make the process very simple. In the first step, you'll be able to choose between two plans, a family or individual plan, and two payment options, annual prepay (one year upfront) or month-to-month. Once you select your plan, you continue to the personal and billing information. This step is where you give TrustedID the general information it needs to protect your identity. The final step to signing up is entering your bank account, credit card and health insurance information. Once you finish signing up, you are completely protected by TrustedID.
Identity Theft Protection
TrustedID's IDEssentials starts by offering strong identity theft protection features. TrustedID's Internet black market monitoring service monitors your personal information such as social security number, credit cards and bank accounts for to make sure it isn't being traded, sold or used. It begins working as soon as you sign up by taking the social security number you used in the signup process and monitoring its use immediately. Adding all your credit/debit card and bank account numbers is quick and easy compared to other identity theft protection services, and you should do this right away. This service monitors the Internet's black market for the use of any of these account numbers and immediately alerts you if it finds any of your numbers are being bought or sold. TrustedID also monitors the Internet and public records for any changes to or misuse of your name, address or social security number. In addition, it "looks back" 36 months to see if this information has been used fraudulently or suspiciously in the past, and will alert you if it discovers anything of note.
When you sign up for TrustedID you are given an Identity Threat Score, with additional information about any other steps you may need to take to protect yourself, such as links to help remove your personal information from people search websites TrustedID has discovered it on. This score provides a gauge of your individual risk level based on an analysis of the various records and databases that TrustedID monitors. Your score will help TrustedID's protection specialists determine the necessary steps to proactively protect your identity.
Worried about losing your wallet? The Lost Wallet section of your account allows you to store your banks, credit cards and health insurance providers contact information. TrustedID's phone number is also listed here. In the event that your wallet is lost or stolen, you can call and speak with a protection specialist who will help you cancel your cards and request new ones.
In addition, TrustedID helps you request your medical benefit history and social security earnings statement, as well as opt out of junk mail, with a series of customized letters it calls a "Protection Pack." The letters are available for download as a PDF file, which you can then print, sign and mail. Instructions for each section are included, along with some general information on understanding your credit report.
Requesting your medical benefit history from all of your providers will let you make sure no one else has been receiving benefits in your name. TrustedID also monitors your account(s) for any suspicious usage on an ongoing basis, which is something not many other services we've reviewed offer. Similarly, requesting your social security earnings statement will enable you to ensure no one is using your identity for employment purposes.
Not only does junk mail clog your mailbox and kill trees, but credit card and other lending offers are prime targets for identity thieves. They can steal mail and use it to gain your personal information and open credit card accounts in your name. TrustedID helps you send letters to opt out of junk mail in general, as well as these types of offers in particular, in hopes of reducing your risk — and the bonus result is less clutter around your house.
TrustedID can also check your Facebook privacy settings for you with TrustedID's Facebook Privacy Monitor, which is included in both TrustedID's family plan and TrustedID's individual plan. The monitor checks your Facebook privacy settings to see if any of your information is at risk of being stolen. Your risk is measured on a risk scale of low, medium and high. TrustedID monitors your account settings weekly and alerts you if your account is at risk for identity theft. If you have a TrustedID family plan, then only the main account holder will have access to the Facebook Privacy Monitoring, but the service does allow you to switch out which account you want to scan whenever you'd like.
Credit Report Monitoring Information
On top of providing you with superior identity theft protection, TrustedID also provides three-bureau credit report monitoring and monthly updates to your Equifax credit report and score as well as annual updates to your Experian and TransUnion credit reports and scores. You can access all three of your credit reports and scores anytime when you log into your TrustedID membership. All of the credit reports and scores are provided by Equifax Risk Score. This new scoring system uses the range 280 to 850, which is similar to FICO's range of 300 to 850.
While three-bureau credit report monitoring is not included in all identity theft protection services, we think it's a very valuable identity theft protection tool and a last line of defense to detect financial account identity theft when other methods may have failed to prevent it. We also think monitoring all three bureaus is critical, as many financial accounts only report to one of the bureaus. Thus, TrustedID is actually one of the better-priced credit report monitoring services out there — in addition to being a great value for identity theft protection. Since the service includes reports, scores and monitoring of all three bureaus, it's also one of the most complete. The only thing it lacks is frequent updates to your credit scores and reports, as the ones you get at signup are only updated annually, and not quarterly or monthly like some of the other identity theft protection services we review. Of course, you'll be able to continue tracking any changes to your credit reports with the credit report monitoring which is an ongoing part of the service, but you won't be sure how exactly how these changes affect your score. It's also worth noting that if you sign up for the family plan, three-bureau credit report monitoring and the credit reports and scores are limited to two adults, although the entire family is covered by all the other identity theft protection features.
For those that want to take the additional step of setting fraud alerts on their credit files, TrustedID has developed a simple interface that walks you through the process of setting your own fraud alerts online with Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus. Once your fraud alerts are set, Equifax will notify the other two credit bureaus — Experian and TransUnion — on your behalf and fraud alerts will be set on your credit files at those two bureaus as well. TrustedID also provides the information for setting up fraud alerts with Experian and TransUnion, in case you'd like to contact them yourself rather than count on Equifax to do it. After you set your fraud alerts the first time, they will need to be renewed every 90 days. TrustedID will send an email notification that reminds you to reset your fraud alerts before they lapse.
Identity Theft Assistance
TrustedID's service warranty starts the moment you sign up and covers you for up to $1,000,000 in costs to recover from identity theft. While this is a great benefit, direct monetary losses from identity theft are almost always much less, since you are not legally responsible for paying any fraudulent debt accumulated by a thief. The real cost of identity theft is the loss of ability to get credit for an extended period of time, the time and effort it takes to restore your good name, and many other adverse consequences that can even include mistaken incarceration. Thus, we think the most valuable part of the warranty is the identity theft restoration service that TrustedID gives you as part of the warranty. In the extremely unlikely event that your identity is stolen while you're a TrustedID member, the service will pay for and perform all the tasks necessary to restore your identity, which can be extremely time-consuming, difficult and costly.
We've found TrustedID customer service representatives to be very helpful and easy to reach at any time of the day or week. TrustedID's phone customer services hours are 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT seven days a week. If you'd prefer to live chat with a customer service representative, they are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. Customer service representatives can also be reached via email.
Overall, TrustedID offers a great identity theft protection solution and a comprehensive yet cost-effective option for those serious about preventing identity theft. With strong features like vigilant monitoring for your personal information, three-bureau credit reports and scores, lost wallet protection, three-bureau credit report monitoring, medical record protection and social network monitoring, it's a terrific choice to protect you and your whole family.
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TrustedID Forum Posts
- My wife and I share bank accounts -- do we need our own protection?
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- What is the safest credit card for purchasing items online?
- Are all of my family members covered if we live together?
Yes, TrustedID's family plan covers all family members living at the same address.
- Can TrustedID prevent someone from filing a fraudulent tax return in my name?
Unfortunately, no, TrustedID (and other identity theft protection services) cannot prevent someone from filing a fraudulent tax return on your behalf....
- Can TrustedID prevent someone from filing a fraudulent tax return in my name?
I understand that Trusted ID has the ability to assist with the impact of someone fraudulently filing a tax return on my behalf; my question is can...