Last year, American Banker interviewed me and representatives from Kroll and IBM for an article about the obligation companies have to assist ID-theft victims after a corporate data breach. IBM and Kroll representatives argued that ID-theft victims benefit more with credit restoration services: the processes and work to fix or clear the fraudulent records and accounts created by identity thieves. I argued that ID-theft victims would benefit more from credit monitoring services.
To explore this subject further, I ran a poll on this blog to see what I've Been Mugged readers value more: credit monitoring services or credit restoration services. The approach by companies should focus on the greatest need consumers have (and not what some corporate executive believes is best to minimize their company's post-breach costs). Since I began this blog, I've talked with dozens of consumers, both in-person and via e-mail. Most people seem to need the basic services first: monitoring their credit information, an understanding of the basic threats/scams, and ways to protect their data.
I know my poll does not contain a rigorous scientific design. Participants weren't chosen at random, but included readers of the I've Been Mugged blog who decided to take the poll.
The poll question: What is the most important feature of a credit monitoring service?
|Continuous monitoring of your data||45%||22|
|Credit restoration services||39%||19|
|Non-financial crime monitoring||2%||1|
|Credit score and credit analysis tools||6%||3|
|I don't know||8%||4|
|I don't care||0%||0|
I'm impressed that 4 people were honest enough to admit that they didn't know what feature in a credit monitoring service was most important to them. I think that this statistic highlights an important need in the marketplace. It suggests that roughly 8% of consumers don't know or aren't sure what to look for in a credit monitoring service.
Knowing what to look for is important since after a data breach ID-theft victims must decide whether or not to accept their employer's (or former employer's) credit monitoring service offer. Even if the offer includes free services, it may not of value. Knowing what to look for is important for any consumer trying to decide which credit monitoring service to register with.
If you missed this poll, don't worry. There's another poll running on our ID-theft Polls page.
During the next few weeks I will share my reviews of the various credit monitoring services. You should judge for yourself, as your personal data and identity protection needs may be very different than mine. Like the ads say, your mileage may vary. So, shop around and shop wisely.