If you’re concerned about identity theft, you could pay $10 a month to a company like LifeLock or you could get an even better service for FREE from a new startup!
(Editor’s note: In early January 2019, Civic announced that it would sunset Identity Theft Protection services to focus on decentralized identity. Read more about their new plan here.)
Read more: 4 things you should never text or email
Civic may be the future of identity theft protection
Identity fraud claims a new victim every two seconds, according to the 2015 Identity Fraud Survey from Javelin Strategy & Research.
That’s created a robust marketplace for services like LifeLock, Identity Guard and Identity Force. The identity theft protection packages that are so popular among people have settled somewhere between $9 and $15 per month or about $120 to $180 annually.
But what if you could get similar protection for free?
That’s the promise of Civic, a new service that works in partnership with banks and other financial institutions.
How Civic works
There are three main parts to the Civic service:
You’ll be notified in real time when your Social Security number is used anywhere to open a new account or line of credit. That will give you the ability to either approve the use of your Social or to shut it down cold before identity thieves can rob you blind!
$1 million free identity theft insurance
Should identity fraud befall you after you’ve signed up with Civic, the company will spend up to $1 million to hire lawyers, accountants and investigators to help make you whole again.
Experts are on call 24/7 to help you if any potential identity fraud is suspected.
So…how can Civic offer all of this for free?
As you can see, Civic offers a ton of great features all at no cost to you. That’s because they’ve partnered with heavy hitters in the tech and financial world.
So far they have credit bureau TransUnion and background check technology startups GoodHire and Onfido on board, according to various media reports.
In theory, financial institutions would want to partner with Civic because the nominal fee they pay to partner could save them big in the long run as they work to stamp out identity theft.
More announcements about future partners will be forthcoming.
What would Clark do?
Civic sounds great, no doubt about it, and it’s an option you should consider gingerly.
But don’t forget about Clark’s longtime favorite — the credit freeze. That’s the best way he knows to prevent criminals from opening new lines of credit in your name. You’ll pay zero to $10 per bureau, depending on your state.
But know this: Doing a credit freeze means you have to do a ‘thaw’ your credit (for a nominal fee) each time you want a new line of credit. Even if you choose to get a new cell phone and the company has to check your credit, you have to thaw it.
Knowing what to expect from a credit freeze improves the chances that it will be something you can tolerate and keep as an active tool in your arsenal!
Read more: Clark’s credit freeze guide