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How much does identity theft protection cost?

Identity theft can be extremely costly. So how important is identity theft protection and how much does it cost?

Identity theft is costly. It can wreak havoc not only on your wallet but also on your time — time is money after all — and even your mental health. The good news is there are ways to protect yourself against the threat. So how much does identity theft protection cost?

Identity theft can cause long-lasting damage to your precious credit score. It can even wipe out years and years of sound financial practices if it goes unnoticed for a significant amount of time. Identity theft protection has been growing in popularity due to the increasing threat of identity theft.

While the vast majority of people have health insurance and homeowners have homeowner insurance. Identity theft protection is on its way to becoming a necessity for those who want to protect themselves from a massive headache.

So…how much does identity theft cost?

Identity theft costs more than $1,000 on average per incident. And, that doesn’t account for the hours and hours needed to recover. 

The costs can be staggering depending on how long it takes you to realize you have fallen victim. 

Credit: Topio VPN

Learn more about the trust costs of identity theft here.

What is identity theft protection?

Identity theft protection is like a watchdog of your personal information. The fee-based services offer peace of mind for people who might not be entirely savvy to the monitoring process or those who prefer to pay instead of worrying about handling identity theft protection themselves.

The services reduce the likelihood of identity theft or fraud and also provide assistance in the immediate aftermath if one of these crimes occurs.

The three primary services that identity theft protection companies offer are monitoring, alerts and ID recovery.

Identity theft protection services monitor your credit files via the big three credit bureaus and keep an eye out for any suspicious activity, new accounts being opened and credit inquiries. 

The alert aspect of protection is meant to make sure you know when your identity may have been stolen as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence when it comes to identity theft. The longer a thief has control of your identity without you knowing, the more damage they can do. 

ID recovery services help you regain control of your name, Social Security Number and personal information in the wake of a hack. This also includes repairing damage to your credit score.

Most identity theft protection services also include insurance policies as part of their protections. They cover the reimbursements of any thefts that occur as a result of identity theft or fraud. Most policies include protection of us to $1 million.

How much is identity theft insurance

Identity theft insurance ranges in price from as low as $6.99 a month to as high as $59.59 a month, depending on the provider and level of protection.

There are dozens of companies that offer identity theft protection services. Some of the more notable companies include IDShield, ReliaShield, LifeLock and Identity Guard.

IDShield offers credit monitoring, dark web surveillance, bank account monitoring, personal information monitoring and court records monitoring. It also provides credit reporting disputes assistance. The monthly cost of monitoring one credit bureau for one person is $13.95. The family plan for one bureau is $26.95 per month. To monitor all three bureaus, the individual plan is $17.95 per month and $32.95 for a family plan.

ReliaShield’s protection includes data breach updates, court records monitoring, social media monitoring, bank account monitoring and more. For a basic plan that doesn’t include credit monitoring, an individual plan is $7.99 per month or $14.99 per month for a family. The top of the line plan costs $21.99 per month or $34.99 for a family.

LifeLock’s services offer a range of plans and offer four levels of protection. Their plans include SSN monitoring, credit alerts, dark web monitoring and one credit bureau monitoring, among other services. The standard plan starts at $9.99 per month and the most expensive, the Ultimate Plus, goes for $29.99 per month.

Identity Guard, which is known for having a fast fraud alert response time, works with all three credit bureaus and uses artificial intelligence via a partnership with IBM. The cheapest monthly plan goes for $6.67 per month for an individual, $10 per year for a family. The Ultra plan goes for $19.99 per month for an individual and $26.67 a month for a family.

How long does it take to recover from identity theft

Recovering from identity theft can be an extremely lengthy process. There are a number of factors that impact how long it takes to recover. 

The most significant factor is how long it took before you realized you were a victim. The longer a criminal has your identity, the more time they have to open accounts, drain bank accounts, rack up credit card debt and more.

The longer those debts have been building, the more time and energy is needed to clear up the process.

Another factor is the extent of the damage. If someone was able to use your Social Security number to, for instance, take out a mortgage. Things are going to be costly and take a lot of time to clean up. 

On average, the recovery time needed is six months and up to 200 hours of work, according to a report from the SANS Institute. 

Proactive protection against identity theft?

One of the best ways to prevent identity theft is to be proactive by clearing your personal information from the internet before it is leaked via a data breach. 

Cybercriminals typically steal identities after they have been leaked onto the dark web in data breaches. Privacy Bee’s Premium privacy protection service tackles the problem at its root by deleting personal information from data brokers, people search websites and more before they are breached.