As data breaches and online account hacks routinely make headlines, many consumers are turning to services that provide identity-theft protection.
"Your information is valuable, just like your cash or your jewelry," says Eva Casey Velasquez, president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center. "So treat it like that."
Steven Toporoff, attorney in the division of privacy and identity protection at the Federal Trade Commission, says when you shop for these services, consider what they guard against. Then, compare services based on costs and what you get for the money. "It's almost like shopping for insurance," he says.
If you're considering paying for a service that offers identity-theft protection -- or even if you plan to take a free DIY approach -- here are six things it pays to know:
1: Nothing is foolproof.
No matter what option you choose, you still are vulnerable to identity theft, says Susan Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy for the Consumer Federation of America. "It's really important for consumers to realize that no service can absolutely protect them from becoming an identity-theft victim," she says.
However, even if crooks do steal your identity, protection services can alert you more quickly, and -- depending on the service -- provide some assistance in resolving problems once they occur, Grant says. Read more at NASDAQ.
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