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Posted By Jim On 08/13/2009 @ 12:44 pm In Credit | 16 Comments
A few months ago, I wrote a LifeLock review  in which I broke down their services and tried to figure out if the service was worth it. My conclusion was that the service was comprehensive but outside of the $1M guarantee, didn’t offer anything you couldn’t do yourself (do it yourself identity protection  covers what you can do). With identity theft protection services, you’re really buying peace of mind and a service plan where they do the work for you. Is the time it takes to do it yourself worth more than $9 a month? If it is, then companies like LifeLock are worth it. If you prefer to do it yourself and are diligent enough to keep at it, then you certainly could do it yourself.
So why a review of ProtectMyID? A service that seems to be similar to LifeLock? Two reasons:
One of the biggest concerns with LifeLock is the fact that you’re giving them your sensitive information to begin with. With ProtectMyID, you’re just identifying yourself because Experian already has all of you information! It’s like using myFICO  to check your credit scores, you aren’t giving your data to a third party, you’re giving it to the main party itself. (in myFICO’s case, that’s Fair Isaac Corporation)
For all intents and purposes, ProtectMyID offers the same type of service that LifeLock and other identity theft protection services offer with two notable differences:
LifeLock, and similar companies like TrustedID, put fraud alerts on your credit reports, ProtectMyID takes it one step further by monitoring your credit reports (at Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) daily. In my opinion, this is something you can’t possibly feasibly do yourself and marks a departure from the standard offering.
In addition to this daily monitoring, they have an alert system that notifies you, by SMS if you want, of any changes to your account like address changes, new credit applications, or new account openings. This is similar to what other services offer however ProtectMyID likely does it faster because they are checking every day.
LifeLock offers a service where they search through websites known to traffick in personal information and looks for yours. ProtectMyID doesn’t offer this or anything like this.
One feature that is similar but slightly different is the $1 million guarantee. For a ProtectMyID customer to be eligible, they must file a police report within 10 days from the date you received the identity theft notification (by SMS or email) or first learned of the identity theft. You then have to report that theft to the Experian Fraud Resolution Department, available M-F, 6AM-6PM. Finally, you have to notify the two other bureaus of the theft. It’s not an unreasonable set of rules but it’s more than what LifeLock requires. The amount and scope of coverage between the two are similar though.
After looking at both Lifelock and ProtectMyID, I still come to the same conclusion that you’re buying a bit of service (the stuff you can do yourself, DIY identity theft protection ) and a lot of identity theft insurance. If you want the insurance, I think ProtectMyID, especially since you can give it a test run for 30 days, is probably a better offer.
LifeLock’s eRecon doesn’t seem like that great of a differentiator. Thieves don’t post sensitive information on websites, even if they’re selling them. They’re simply selling lists and unless LifeLock plans to start buying lists, which is probably illegal, then they probably won’t find your name for sale.
If I had to choose, I’d choose ProtectMyID.
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 LifeLock review: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/lifelock-review.html
 do it yourself identity protection: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/do-it-yourself-identity-theft-protection.html
 myFICO: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/r/myfico.php?tag=PMyIDreview
Thank you for reading!