Pros and Cons of DIY Identity Theft Protection
Identity theft is a terrifying crime. Victims of identity theft can lose money, credit, reputation and more, and they may not know they are victims for years on end. The longer a victim allows identity theft to occur, the worse the consequences they will suffer, so it is imperative that everyone make protecting their identity a top priority.
There are many identity protection services individuals can acquire to make it easier to recognize and thwart identity theft, but it is also possible to manage many of the services on one’s own. If you are considering taking full responsibility for protecting your own identity, here are the pros and cons you must consider.
Pro: Low to No Cost
Ostensibly, you should be able to manage the core services involved in professional identity protection on your own. By carefully monitoring your credit and debit accounts, comparing charges against receipts you keep from your purchases, you should be able to identify unauthorized expenses which could indicate that your identity has been compromised. You can use your monthly statements and regularly pull credit reports to ensure that any suspicious activity is identified and explained upon as quickly as possible.
Con: Time- and Energy-intensive Activities
Of course, this type of close monitoring is not necessarily fast or easy. Many people do not have the time to verify every charge on every financial account they maintain, and over time, you may start to slack in your monitoring efforts, allowing unauthorized charges to slip through the cracks. For most people, the small cost of professional identity protection is worth the extra free time and freedom of mind they gain from outsourcing such an important component of personal security.
What’s more, professional ID protection solutions can offer services that are far beyond your capabilities. For example, many ID security suites include Dark Web monitoring, which involves watching information exchanges on the Dark Web for your personal details. Because you likely don’t know how to access the Dark Web let alone navigate it, this service is likely your only recourse for finding and destroying your information on the Dark Web.
Pro: Complete Control Over Sensitive Information
Usually, to use identity protection services, you will need to disclose certain types of information to your security provider. However, the more you disclose sensitive information, the higher your risk of suffering from some kind of leak or breach. Security experts often recommend keeping your personal information as close to your chest as possible, divulging it only when absolutely necessary.
Yet, few people are able to live a full, modern life without regularly providing all sorts of personal information. Employers, service providers, schools, government agencies and more need a bevy of sensitive data to perform essential tasks, and choosing not to provide this information is not always an option. The truth is that you will never be able to corral all of your personal information, so you might as well utilize professional services to protect the sensitive data that is already floating around outside your control.
Pro: Potential to Improve Overall Cybersecurity
The more you use a skill, the better you will become at it. Though you might not think of cybersecurity as a skill, it is in fact something that you can become more adept at through regular practice, and looking after your identity is an important component of cybersecurity that most everyone needs to improve. By investing time and energy into checking your bank statements and credit reports, you will get accustomed to performing basic security acts that could strengthen your cybersecurity overall, reducing not just your risk of identity theft but also cyber attack, phishing and more.
Con: Lack of Expertise
Even if time could make you somewhat proficient in identity monitoring and cybersecurity, you won’t become an expert without specific training. Your lack of expertise in protecting your identity makes a difference; aside from unauthorized charges, you don’t know what type of suspicious activity to watch for or how identity thieves might go about taking information from you, which means you won’t know when you become a victim. More importantly, you might not know how to react if and when you do become a victim of identity theft. ID protection services rely on the knowledge and skill of identity theft experts, professionals who have dedicated their lives and careers to understanding how identity thieves work, so you can trust that your personal information is as safe as it can possibly be.