Getting 100% Free, and I mean totally free Identity Theft Protection seems like an impossibility. Am I right? That’s exactly what I though when I first learned about this product. Identity theft is a massive problem in the U.S. This protection, I believe, is one of the more important freebies we routinely highlight for readers of PingBug.
The Federal Trade Commission’s most recent statistics on identity theft show that consumers personally lost $905 million to fraud last year, which is $63 million more than in the previous year. That’s a lot of moolah folks. Identity theft is the second most reported complaint that the FTC receives, coming in a close second to complaints about debt collection.
What’s truly scary is that identity theft has never been more rampant. According to CBS News, criminals have become increasingly sophisticated. They slither their way into poorly secured accounts and gather information about their victim’s financial lives. Once they have everything (name, address, social security number), they can begin taking over multiple accounts at a time.
So What Exactly is Identity Theft Protection?
Identity theft “protection” is generally broken down into services that include monitoring, recovery help, and insurance, according to the FTC. Most of the commercial products out there from companies like LifeLock, ADT, and Experian include one or all of those services. They typically have a monthly fee for a specific version of their product starting in the $9 per month range.
I’m more interested in identity theft protection that you can get for free. Who needs another monthly fee in their life? Not me. Several years ago I signed up for Credit Sesame so I could keep an eye on my credit score. Not long afterwards, they added identity theft protection to their product totally free. I was able to opt-in to it and still use it today.
How Do You Get FREE Identity Theft Protection?
You get it by becoming a free member of Credit Sesame. It costs you nothing… no credit card, no fees, nothing. In addition to getting access to your credit report and TransUnion credit score, they also provide you with their identity protection product. While in your account, simply “turn on” their free credit monitoring and opt-in to ID protection. With daily monitoring you’ll receive alerts when your credit score changes or if there are any noteworthy updates to your credit report like new loans or lines of credit being taken out in your name.
The free protection also comes with $50,000 of identity theft insurance. Yes, you read that right, fifty-thousand dollars worth. I think that’s outstanding. And if that wasn’t enough, Credit Sesame provides you with 24/7 access to restoration specialists for assistance with restoration of your identity, should you need it.
The free Credit Sesame insurance plan covers things like costs for notarizing affidavits, costs for contesting accuracy of information in your credit report, lost base wages that would have been earned for time reasonably take off work to rectify subscriber’s identity, child care, and certain legal fees. This is by no means a full and complete representation of their Terms. That would be too lengthy and boring to add to this post 🙂 Members can find a “Summary of Identity Fraud Reimbursement Coverage” in their accounts after they sign up.
So What’s the Catch Mr. PingBug?
Happily I can report there is NO CATCH. This identity theft protection product really is free. For Credit Sesame, their offering is essentially what I’d consider a “loss leader“. They’re losing money by offering it for free while hoping members will purchase other products with them in the future. That’s basically how they can do this. And, they’ve been at it long enough that I have to assume they know what the heck they’re doing.
I will say that Credit Sesame does send out a lot of emails to their members offering a variety of financial products. This is understandable, given that I’m getting something free from them. However, if you don’t want to get their emails, the solution is very simple. All you have to do is click on your name while logged into your account. Then select “alerts” from the drop down. You’ll be taken to a page where you can “un-check” the marketing emails. That worked well for me. Now, all I get are the credit monitoring emails and the monthly update of my credit score. I hope you find this post helpful. And, if you don’t have any form of identity theft protection you may want to check out Credit Sesame soon.