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Identity Theft Baseline Services

Identity Theft Protection Programs - Components and Analysis


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Identity theft baseline services offer an opportunity to document your digital profile. It comes in quite handy when it's time to fix things after you are a victim of identity theft. Baselining is only as effective as the databases that are searched, though. "Which database information will be checked?" is the key question to ask.

An baseline service will be worth more based on how relevant the records will be. Checking library and video store rental databases may or may not be important to you, while looking at your consumer profile through specialty consumer reporting agencies. Naturally, the better the information is that is collected about you, the easier your legal battle will be in the quest to clear your good name.

Just like your free credit reports, though, a great deal of this information is available to you with no more hassle than a simple request to the data collection company. Your Guide has talked with a few, and they all seem more than happy to follow FACTA guidelines and provide the information once a year on request. Granted, they will usually want you to verify your identity with a photo ID (or a photocopy of one,) but that is to ensure their compliance with privacy laws – so it's a good thing in this case.

Identity baselining also allows you to monitor things for yourself, and dispute inaccuracies in your profiles. The companies are happy to work with you on this, because information accuracy is vital when they are reselling it.

Oh, c'mon. This is how they make their money – reselling information to third parties. Specialty Consumer Reporting is big business in our day and age. So your consumer profile is going to be sold again and again; sliced in whatever way it is ordered. It's the nature of the consumer culture in which we live.

Under certain conditions, there are usually opt-out policies for most of these Specialty Consumer Report Agencies. LexisNexis, one of the high-end CRAs, has opt-out policies for victims of identity theft, law enforcement, and "Private individuals who are facing a substantial risk of physical harm…" which can be found here on their website. These opt-outs require some documentation, (like a copy of your FTC identity theft affidavit and a letter from a credit card company) but it's nice to know companies that collect our information have ways to help us recover when the worst happens.

Having a baseline service in conjunction with a monitoring service is a great set-up for someone who loves to be directly involved with their digital profiles. Identity theft protection services that offer this combination allow someone diligent in watchdogging their information to respond quickly at the first sign of trouble. These individuals can often stop identity theft from even happening in many instances, because they can take timely action. For example, LifeLock offers a baseline service, and monitors various black-market sites known to trade in identities. When your information pops up, they notify you. Based on that, you can talk with an appropriate person to keep the information from being used. Credit card number zipped through an IRC chat? Cancel the card, get a new one. Social Security number find its way into a website? Notify the Social Security Administration, and probably the IRS as well.

Do keep in mind, though, that having an identity baseline and monitoring service by themselves will not do anything unless you use them properly. Not looking at them more than once or twice a year will leave you just as vulnerable to identity theft as if you had nothing at all. But if you are willing to invest the time to keep on top of things, identity baselining can be a valuable tool to help you keep your identity under wraps. The fact that the programs will need your interaction should drive the cost of these types of programs down considerably, because there shouldn't be a lot of overhead for the company. Coupling these two services with an identity theft resolution service would form a decent package of protection that would be both affordable and helpful in the fight against identity theft.

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