TrustedID offers an excellent 3-bureau credit report monitoring solution along with best-in-class identity theft protection. It is a particularly strong value for families. At just $10.42/month for individuals and $20/month for families (with annual prepay), it’s priced at a discount to services with similar features and protection. The family plan is unique among credit report monitoring services and something we hear many consumers ask for. Since each spouse has his or her own credit report, families wishing to monitor their credit and protect themselves from identity theft need to be monitoring both reports. TrustedID allows you to accomplish this in their family plan. Not only can you monitor both spouses’ credit reports at all three bureaus and get each spouse’s credit scores and credit reports from all three bureaus, you can also sign anyone else in your household up for their additional identity theft protection services. While the family plan will only monitor two people’s credit reports, there is no limit on the number of people you can subscribe to their additional monitoring. Since TrustedID started out as an identity theft protection service, they really shine when it comes to protecting your identity in multiple ways.
TrustedID’s Internet black market monitoring service monitors your personal information such as Social Security number, credit cards and bank accounts for any suspicious activity. It begins working as soon as you sign up by taking the Social Security number you used in the sign-up process and monitoring its use immediately. Adding all your credit card and bank account numbers is quick and easy 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. Trusted ID also monitors the Internet and public records for any changes to or misuse of your name, address, or Social Security number. TrustedID is the only service we’ve found that also gives you medical record protection. The service will help you request your medical benefit history from all your providers so you can make sure no one else has been receiving benefits in your name. They then monitor your account for any suspicious usage on an ongoing basis. TrustedID recently introduced a new feature, the Identity Threat Score, which 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.
TrustedID’s $1,000,000 identity theft warranty starts the moment you sign up so you can be confident you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with their warranty and restoration services should they ever be needed (more on that below). TrustedID also helps you send letters to opt out of junk mail in general and credit card and other lending offers in particular. Not only do these clog your mailbox and kill trees, but they are also a prime target for identity thieves to steal, gain your personal information and open a credit card account in your name. As part of your account, you are offered a service called CreditLock, which makes your credit report at all 3 bureaus unavailable to everyone without permission. While this is a good option for those who rarely use their credit, or those who are stationed overseas, it does cost $44.95 to lock your credit reports with all three bureaus and $39.95 to unlock them – every time! We typically only recommend using this feature if you know you have been the victim of an identity theft. In that situation, it is extremely valuable. Finally, TrustedID also includes free anti-spyware software with your membership. This is definitely a nice added feature. The software is branded with TrustedID’s brand but is developed and maintained by Sana Security, a highly reputable and well-reviewed identity theft prevention software company.
You can get access to your credit scores and reports from all three bureaus as soon as you sign up for TrustedID, as well as your three-bureau credit report monitoring. This makes TrustedID a very complete credit report monitoring solution in addition to its history as a great id theft protection service. The only thing it lacks is ongoing updates to your credit scores and reports, as the ones you get at sign-up are the only ones included in the service. Of course, you’ll be able to continue tracking any changes to your credit reports with the credit monitoring which is an ongoing part of the service, but you won’t be sure exactly how these changes affect your score. It’s also worth noting that the credit scores are not FICO scores, but are good approximations of your FICO score so we don’t view this as a major drawback.
For those that want to take the additional step of setting fraud alerts on their credit files, Trusted ID 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. After you set your fraud alerts the first time they will need to be renewed every 90 days. Trusted ID sends an email notification that reminds you to reset your fraud alerts before they lapse. However, we have had a couple of issues with these notifications working properly so we would recommend you make a note on your calendar and not rely on TrustedID alone for this. The downside to setting fraud alerts on your credit file is that it might delay a credit application process because your identity must be confirmed before an account is open (usually you will be called and must speak to a representative of the credit grantor), but for those that are very concerned about identity theft this is a small price to pay, and it will not hurt your credit or prevent you from getting credit.
TrustedID’s ID theft service warranty 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, they 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 has done a nice job of improving their online account dashboard so you can now see all the different ways you’re being protected and whether your account is missing any information. Overall, TrustedID is an excellent credit report monitoring service that really shines when it comes to identity theft protection and providing a great value for families.