7 Great Sites for Preventing ID Theft

  • Holiday ID Theft

    The holiday season is in full swing, which unfortunately means the threat of identity theft is at its peak. As we’ve written before, there are certain basic steps you can take to minimize the risk, such as not using predictable passwords for your online accounts, using fewer credit cards and avoiding suspicious Web sites. Luckily, there are also several sites out there that provide tools to help you deal with identity theft. Don’t worry, these are the good guys. Photo Credit: CarbonNYC
  • Zendough

    Zendough, a brand new Web site from TransUnion, is designed to help consumers check and improve their credit scores in a quick and soothing way. But they also offer several incredibly useful tools for protecting your identity. For example, the site will alert you the moment a suspicious purchase occurs in your name, and in the unfortunate event that you do have your identity stolen, they will assign you a personal case manager to help you recover it fast and painlessly. The site, which launches this week, will charge $15 a month for these services, but they also offer a seven-day trial membership. We suggest taking advantage of that trial during this holiday season. Photo Credit: Zendough.com
  • StolenIDSearch

    One big perk about this site is that it’s free and you can check it as many times as you like. The site even offers some cool tricks you can use to check on your identity using any search engine. For example, use Google to search for your name and zip code together in quotation marks. This way you can find out if there is anything unusual about you on the Web. But the real draw of StolenIDSearch is that it has a vast database of more than 120 million records, including millions of stolen identities collected from informants over the years. All you have to do is enter your first and last name and e-mail and the site will let you know if your identity is compromised. Stolen ID Search is a product of TrustedID, another good site that offers tools to not only protect you but your family as well. Like Zendough, these sites encourage you to be proactive in protecting against ID theft. Photo Credit: StolenIDSearch.com
  • LifeLock

    LifeLock is one of the better known ID theft prevention sites out there. The site will alert you whenever there is suspicious activity with your name. They have several excellent features including WalletLock (when you lose your wallet, a specialist will you cancel all of your credit cards) and TrueAddress (a common tactic for ID theft is to change your address and steal your mail, but this service will alert you as soon as an address change is detected). The site also monitors applications for credit cards in your name. All in all, it’s a thorough way to combat ID theft. The site costs $10 a month. Photo Credit: LifeLock.com
  • CardCops

    According to its Web site, CardCops hunts the Internet for “compromised credit cards and personal data.” This might sound vague and unimpressive, until you consider one incredible story from last year. CardCops made news for cracking open a case in which tens of thousands of credit card records were exposed due to a data breach. Visa, the credit card company in question, was aware of the breach, but failed to notify its users (not every state requires credit card companies to let customers know when their information is leaked). Those customers affected might not have found out for months if not for investigative work on the part of CardCops. The site charges a membership fee of $20 per month. Photo Credit: CardCops.com
  • ShopShield

    Shop Shield is an excellent tool for protecting yourself while shopping online. As PCMag.com explains, it's a secure payment service that lets you make online purchases while exposing as little personal information as possible. For example, while you’re checking out online, Shop Shield will manufacture a disposable e-mail address for the purchase so your regular address has no chance of being compromised. Shop Shield will even provide you with a one-time use credit card number for the purchase, so the only information you end up providing is your shipping address. It also offers protection against phishing and spam. All of this may sound extreme, but it could come in handy during the holiday season when you do most of your shopping. The site even has a 60-day free trial so you can protect your identity well into the new year without losing a dime. Prices vary after that, with options to pay 99 cents each time you use the service, or pay a blanket fee of $9.99 per month. Photo Credit: Shopshield.net
  • BillMeLater

    Like Shop Shield, BillMeLater offers a useful way to minimize the risk of shopping online. Basically, this service partners with big name shopping sites and allows you to pay later without using a credit card online. The site also offers promotions for various retailers and, best of all, there is no annual fee to use the service. But don’t think you can get away without paying all together. BillMeLater records all your information when you register so they will know how to find you. Photo Credit: BillMeLater.com
  • MyIDScore

    We’re not exactly sure how it works, but if nothing else, it’s kind of a fun game. MyIDscore is a free site offered from ID Analytics, an anti-fraud software company. The site will ask you to provide your name, address, birth date and Social Security number, though this last bit is not required. It may sound like a lot of information, but it’s really no more than what you spout off to random customer service people on the phone. The site then gives you an ID score, based on any suspicious activity it detects related to your information. As the Chicago Tribune explains, “the software gives you a score ranging from 1 to 999. The higher the score, the greater your risk of being a victim of identity theft.” Photo Credit: MyIDScore.com
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