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What can identity theft prevention services do for you?

There is often misunderstanding when it comes to

There is often misunderstanding when it comes to what identity theft services can and can't do. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/NicoElNino


Confusion can be costly. There’s a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to what identity theft services can and cannot do.

A new survey commissioned by the Consumer Federation of America found 36 percent of people who have seen ads for “dark web monitoring” incorrectly believe identity theft services can remove their personal information from the dark web. Thirty-seven percent mistakenly believe these services can prevent people who buy their personal information on the dark web from using it.

“Many consumers make assumptions about how dark web monitoring protects them that simply aren’t true,” said Susan Grant, CFA’s director of consumer protection and privacy, in a statement. “Dark web monitoring may be able to alert consumers that their stolen personal information is being offered for sale on the internet, but it can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”

What services are provided

Identity theft service providers don’t have a magic wand. “Each provider has a specialty, such as SSN [Social Security number] monitoring or banking alerts. These companies help alleviate the pain if the worst happens to you,” says Chandler Clayton, a security expert with ASecureLife, a Salt Lake City company that researches and reviews the security industry.

Robert Siciliano, a security awareness expert with CreditParent.com, says if your wallet is lost or stolen, the service can assist in canceling and getting new cards issued.

Protect yourself

Use identity theft protection services and your own investigative skills. Says Justin Lavelle, chief communications officer of BeenVerified.com: “Keep track of all your spending and check your bank account regularly. Be vigilant with how and where you share your sensitive information.”

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