Thursday, September 15, 2005

Pre-Paid Legal, Part 2 (Identity Theft Shield)

In continuing my latest semi-experiment — a membership in Pre-Paid Legal — I just received notification that our IdentityTheft Shield service is now underway.

Okay, so it appears to be just a glorified credit-report-monitoring service. There are a million of them out there. I'm curious, though, to see what they report to me (it's done via their secure website and also by email) and also how they do it. So far, I know that ITShield's information is based off of Experian's credit-report file.

Late last week I completed the documentation to allow ITShield to begin monitoring our reports. This morning, as promised, I received two "welcome" emails from them. They issued separate website log-ins to my wife and me, as the service monitors the primary member's (that'd be me) and spouse's information separately. We're due to receive copies of our Experian reports shortly, as well as a "personal credit score" from an "independent scoring service." Big whoop, right?

Their Membership Information brochure tells me to expect email notices whenever activity occurs on our credit files. (They're monitored daily.) Also, if there is no activity, an email notice is issued once per month.

So what could prompt an email alert?

  • Change of address anywhere in credit file.

  • New account has been opened in our names.
  • Negative info has been reported to Experian.

  • Bankruptcy or lien has been reported.

  • Creditor or other authorized party has made an inquiry.

  • ITShield also says it assists in the restoration process should our identities ever become compromised.

    "Our licensed investigators," they write, "will work on your behalf to help correct identity theft issues you have with affected agencies and institutions."

    They will also send fraud alert notifications on our behalf to the three major credit repositories, the Social Security administration, Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Postal Services, and all affected credit-card companies and financial institutions. There's also something in there about them performing "proactive searches" of some national databases to look for information relating to any identity compromises (criminal activity, DMV records, etc.).

    All in all, I'd really rather not have to participate in the "restoration" part of their service. Experiment or not, I'd prefer to leave that fun stuff to someone else.

    Posts In This Series:
    Part 1: Signed Up For Pre-Paid Legal
    Part 2: Pre-Paid Legal, Part 2 (Identity Theft Shield)
    Part 3: Pre-Paid Legal, Part 3 (Identity Theft Shield)
    Part 4: Pre-Paid Legal, Part 4 (IdentityTheft Shield)


    — Posted by Michael @ 11:58 PM

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