by Mike Masnick

Are Identity Theft Protection Services The Real Scam?

from the mixed-incentives... dept

As identity theft has grown over the past few years, it's often recommended that people sign up for some sort of identity theft protection offering - which are usually offered by the big credit bureaus themselves. However, because of this, some are beginning to believe that the identity theft protection services are the real scam. After all, the credit bureaus now have more incentive to make you worried about identity theft, so you'll pay for these services, which can often run about $100/year. And what do you get for that $100? You get to do their job of preventing fraudulent credit information from appearing on your credit report. They're basically making you pay to check over your own record to make sure that they haven't screwed it up.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2004 @ 6:23am

    Free credit reports

    and thousands of stupid people will sign up for this too.

    The BEST way to get a FREE report of your credit rating is to call any of the three big credit reporting agencies. Claim you have been denied credit and they will send you a copy of your credit report for free.

    Anyone that pays for this services deserves to get fleeced for sheer stupidity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    aNonMooseCowherd, May 24th, 2004 @ 7:34am

    extortion racket

    I think this qualifies as an extortion racket.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    LittleW0lf, May 24th, 2004 @ 3:39pm

    Re: extortion racket

    I've said it before (many times here too,) and I'll say it again, the only purpose for the credit reporting agencies (CRA, in their own terms,) is to make identity theft easier and result in a much more benefit to those who are performing identity fraud. Their stated purpose, of helping reduce fraud is a farce, as they do nothing but make it easier for a bad guy to obtain credit under someone elses identity by lulling the industry into believing that they are securing the system while leaving it as wide open as possible. Who ends up fronting the bill, well, we do! Sure, companies that provide credit loose money when someones' identity is stolen, but ultimately we pay in the form of fees, and for those of us who have our identities stolen, we pay in court costs to clear our names.

    The only way to fix the problem is to remove the CRA's from the picture. Instead, a single reporting agency should operate like the postal service handles move requests and the like. When a creditor attempts to make changes to your report, you should be notified immediately, and should be given the benefit to challenge the change, especially in the case of new credit requests. Challenges should be in the same form of arbitration that everyone else is used to. Sure, it may slow down the process and "instant credit" will no longer be available, but this is the is so easy now-a-days to find and procure instant credit that very little is done to verify that the credit is being given to the right individual and that they have in fact asked for it.

    If you want any proof that the CRA's are corrupt, take a look at the current "Fraud Watch" documentation. My social security number and name were stolen recently (along with several million others.) I put in a fraud watch with the three CRA's, and all were supposed to, within 30 days, send me a free copy of my credit report as well as put a designator on my credit report which told creditors to contact me first before giving out credit to someone claiming to be me. Of the three CRA's, only one sent a credit report, and even then, I was able to obtain credit without so much as a question as to my identity. When calling the CRA, I was told that the "fraud watch" was merely a suggestion, and that it was up to creditors to actually follow through with calling me. Which, according to the representitive I talked to with the CRA (when I finally got ahold of a real person, which is all but impossible,) very rarely occurs.

    The system is broke, and nobody in charge is interested in fixing it, because they are making more money off of the broken system than they would to fix it...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Steve, Jun 10th, 2005 @ 12:22pm

    Re: extortion racket

    I was going to sign up on True for the fraud alert. But they only send weekly emails. What about instant notification? I heard of this. It would be much better.
    It's better than not having it, right?
    what is the solution to protect your credit?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Mo Kelly, Oct 23rd, 2007 @ 1:56pm

    Identity Theft Services

    I have had my identity stolen twice. Both times involved checking accounts at Bank of America. In both cases I had my money back in my account in a matter of days (less than a week). I am curious what role an identity theft agency could play to help? It seems that I would have had one more phone call to make and no insurance proceeds since I lost nothing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
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    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    samisoomro, Aug 5th, 2008 @ 12:00am

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    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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