Find the best identity theft protection for 2018
Identity fraud has reached epidemic proportions, the fraud prevention service Cifas warned last year, with a record 89,000 identity frauds recorded in the first six months of 2017.
There are a wide range of scams around, but at heart they all involve a criminal pretending to be someone else in order to steal money, take out loans, buy goods or do something equally dubious in their victim's name.
Identity theft protection services offer tools to help you spot potential signs of trouble, and maybe prevent the theft happening in the first place.
All plans offer access to your credit report, allowing you to view loans, credit cards and other financial accounts linked to your name. Options range from free plans which give you limited access to a report from a single agency, to paid services which monitor all your details across multiple credit report providers, alerting you if they spot any changes.
Some services monitor websites commonly used by criminals to sell data, looking out for any sign of your personal information.
A few providers might give you some form of security software, perhaps blocking some of the holes that could allow your data to be stolen.
No service can offer a 100% protection guarantee, but if you are hit by fraud, the best companies will still help. Support teams can step in to make phone calls, fill in paperwork, get legal representation and more, and in some cases there's even an insurance element to reimburse you for expenses and lost funds.
The best protection isn't cheap – you could pay $30 (£20) a month – but don't let that put you off. Some companies offer basic tools for free, and there are plenty of low cost, high value plans for UK and US citizens to choose from.
Credit monitoring taken to the next level