These Services Alert You to Identity Theft. Are They Worth It?

A number of services promise to notify you if you are a victim of credit fraud. But you'll pay a hefty fee.

Hand of hacker reaching for wallet from screen of laptop
(Image credit: ©Dennis Lane/Blend Images LLC)

The problem with identity theft is that you probably won't know when your personal data has been stolen–or even whether you've been a victim. A recent study by Javelin Strategy & Research found that the number of identity-fraud victims in the U.S. totaled 16.7 million in 2017. But that's only the tip of the iceberg, because the data of many millions more Americans has been exposed and may be used in the future to open fraudulent accounts. Last year's Equifax breach alone exposed addresses, birth dates, Social Security numbers and other sensitive data for nearly 146 million people, launching them into ID fraud limbo.

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Miriam Cross
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Miriam lived in Toronto, Canada, before joining Kiplinger's Personal Finance in November 2012. Prior to that, she freelanced as a fact-checker for several Canadian publications, including Reader's Digest Canada, Style at Home and Air Canada's enRoute. She received a BA from the University of Toronto with a major in English literature and completed a certificate in Magazine and Web Publishing at Ryerson University.