|by Mr Credit Card|
ID WatchDog another Identity Theft Prevention service that is available to consumers. However, unlike most other services, it operates slightly differently. So how does this stack up versus the likes of Lifelock, ID Guard etc? Let’s find out.
How does ID WatchDog work? – ID WatchDog works the following way. Once your ID has been verified by them, they will “unleash their proprietary search engines to search thousands of databases, and compile your personal data in your “Baseline Identity Profile.” This is the report against which they will compare results from our future searches.
Every month, they will complete a new search of thousands of databases looking for your personal information. If there are new data points, you will be asked to approve them for addition to your Baseline Profile. If you don’t recognize this data, then ID WatchDog may escalate with research. If there’s reason to believe that your identity has been compromised, ID WatchDog will put together a report (called the ID Snapshot) that includes police records, driving records, medical history, loan information, and more. They will then look try to trace the person who stole your ID.
ID WatchDog will negotiate with institutions with whom your money or reputation has been affected. These include your credit card issuers, or anyone whom the thief has tried to open an account with. ID Watchdog says they will file necessary paperwork, and follow up to see that your good name is restored. In order for ID WatchDog to perform this function, you will have to sign a revocable Limited Power of Attorney to enable them to work on your behalf. (This is the ID Rehab Service).
Even though ID WatchDog will work on your behalf, you will still have to file a police report yourself and an affidavit. ID WatchDog will assist you in these.
How much doe it cost? – When you sign up and get a baseline report, you will be charged $1.95. You will be given a free 30 trial and if you wish to continue with the monthly service, you will be billed $19.95. You can also choose to pay an annual fee which works out to $179.95 (25% discount from the monthly rate). You could also choose a 3-year plan at $359.95 (which is a 50% discount from the monthly plan).
What if your baseline report indicates that you have an identity threat? – If that happens, you will be charged a ID Snapshot report for $99.95 and if you decide to ask ID WatchDog to pursue and resolve matters for you, the cost will be $79.95 per damaged line-item (or reported inaccuracy), per individual consumer report.
Opinion – ID WatchDog is clearly different from other ID theft protection service. Firstly, they are not like the usual “credit monitoring service” that simply “notifies” you if any changes appears on your credit report. Instead, they emphasize checking public records for any use of your identity and monitoring. I guess the reason they emphasize on this aspect is that if your ID is stolen, the person who is using your stolen identity may not want to open a credit card or new cell phone line under your name. It could be used for other purposes where your credit report is not checked.
This service is certainly better than the run of the mill credit monitoring service. However, I still prefer a service like LifeLock®, who would actually inform you when a creditor tries to check your credit reports. I consider this a very important line of defense (though not 100% foolproof since some folks just do not check your credit reports!).