Equifax Hack Rx: Free Identity Theft Insurance

Identity Theft Insurance

Did you know that you can get identity theft insurance for free?  Unlike Equifax’s one-year free option, multiple services offer free insurance without an expiration date…

Equifax Hack Rx Background

We’re all pissed off by Equifax’s failure to protect our personal information.  A natural reaction is to demand justice and compensation.  Justice will take time, but a criminal investigation is under way.  And compensation may come via a class action lawsuit or, better yet, many individual arbitration claims.  Regardless of all that, your number one priority now should be to protect yourself.  Equifax just gave away the key to your castle.  It’s time to change the locks, add surveillance, and make sure you’re insured.

Equifax has offered everyone one year of free protection in the form of their Trusted ID Premier service.  In my post “Is the Equifax cure worse than the hack?” I argued against relying on that service. After all, Equifax lost our data and they’re only offering protection for one year. After a year, they get to try to sell us their paid service. That isn’t right.

Fortunately, alternative services exist to help protect you for free and with no expiration date.  Via this “Equifax Hack Rx” series, I’ll help you find them…

Free Identity Theft Insurance

Obviously the last thing anyone needs is to have their identity stolen.  But, if it does happen, it’s good to be insured.  Here are two services that offer absolutely free identity theft insurance:

Credit Sesame: $50K free identity theft insurance

Identity Theft Insurance

I’ve been a long time user of Credit Sesame's free credit score and monitoring service.  I use the service primarily for its free credit monitoring.  When any changes or inquires are made to my TransUnion report, Credit Sesame sends me an email.  What I didn’t realize all of this time is that they also offer free identity theft insurance with $50,000 of coverage.  This insurance is automatic.  Simply sign up for Credit Sesame and you’re covered!

Credit Sesame’s identity theft insurance covers the following (More info can be found here):

  • Fraud or embezzlement
  • Theft
  • Forgery
  • Data breach
  • Stolen identity event
  • Unauthorized Electronic Fund Transfer

–>Credit Sesame Signup Link

Full disclosure: At the time of this writing, the above link is an affiliate link and I may earn a few dollars if you use it to sign up. Many thanks!

Civic: $1 million free identity theft insurance

Identity Theft Insurance

I had never heard of Civic before researching this post, but they appear to be a legitimate startup company.  TechCrunch posted an interesting article about them in 2016: Civic launches a free service that aims to stop identity theft before it happens.  Since that article was written, Civic added fees for most of their services, but not for identity theft insurance.

Signing up for Civic’s free Basic plan is quick and easy (I signed up yesterday).  My only gripe is that the first screen you see upon completing registration is an alert demanding that you “upgrade now”.  Keep in mind that you don’t have to upgrade to get free identity theft insurance.

Identity Theft Insurance

Civic’s identity theft insurance covers the following (More info can be found here):

  • Fraud or embezzlement
  • Theft
  • Forgery
  • Data breach
  • Stolen identity event

This is the same list as in Credit Sesame’s coverage, but Civic’s list does not mention “Unauthorized Electronic Fund Transfer.”  My guess is that unauthorized electronic fund transfers are covered under other headings such as theft.

–> Civic Signup Link

I do not earn a commission from Civic

Wrap Up

Both Credit Sesame and Civic offer free identity theft insurance.  Personally, I’ve signed up for both.  There is some risk in entrusting more companies with your private information, but personally I’ve decided to assume that my data is already exposed and to seek opportunities to protect myself rather than to protect the data.  Before signing up for any new services like these, you should decide for yourself whether you’re willing to risk making your personal information even more accessible to hackers in exchange for protection once they get that data.

The primary downside I see to either service is that they will advertise paid options to you.  Save money by not upgrading.

Future Equifax Hack Rx posts will cover other free ways to protect yourself: proactive surveillance, full credit monitoring, and more.  Stay tuned.  And, if you haven’t done so yet, please consider subscribing to Frequent Miler emails.  Those are free too.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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JoeNew Premium cards, surviving the hack, easy Companion Pass and more: Fall 2017 in review - Frequent MilerHow the Equifax Hack scared me into installing Google Search and may have saved me $55 - Frequent MilerAlex Buz.Equifax Hack Rx: Free credit monitoring - Frequent Miler Recent comment authors

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Betsy
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Betsy

Have you checked the credit-worthiness of either of those two companies? Can Civic really pay $1 million to multiple victims?

JustWingIt
Guest
JustWingIt

Sorry, I don’t have links ready available, but numerous reports have been surfacing over the past week or two that Equifax will be allowing for free credit freezes going forward, and there may be something in the works for the other two major credit bureaus to do the same. If this were to pan out, would this (credit freezes) be the cornerstone to your personal credit security strategy?

Nick Reyes
Editor

I’m sure Greg will answer with his take — but here’s mine: it’s possible that an identity thief has enough information to lift your freeze (you set a PIN — but if you lose your PIN, they have a system to create a new one, and an identity thief may now have enough personal information to do that). I’ve personally used freezes for years — but I don’t think they are the complete answer at this point. Hence this series :-).

Kuch
Guest
Kuch

Could you clarify something that sounds counter-intuitive:
The post initially argues “…I argued against relying on that service. After all, Equifax lost our data. Should we really rely on them to protect it?…” implying (correctly so) that the protection service being offered by Equifax may be as vulnerable to getting hacked/losing our data again.

But then you go on to recommend Credit Sesame and Civic, with the argument “…Personally, I’ve signed up for both because.. why not?” Really? Do you think these services are not vulnerable? Do they have higher safeguards in place against hackers or data theft than Equifax? It would be great if you could inquire and include safeguards that they have in place to protect data. A comparison of the safeguards between the 3 options would actually be the best.

The risk of loss further loss of data due to hacking of a credit monitoring website is quite significant. The more services you sign up for, the more risk you are taking. What is the additional benefit of signing up for a 2nd service? Do you anticipate you will get paid twice the amount in case of loss from identity theft?

Treesha
Guest
Treesha

These are exactly the questions I have, thank you for putting it clearly. And thank you, Greg, for your thoughtful reply. This is definitely a “between a rock and a hard place” situation.

Larry
Guest
Larry

Interesting– and am considering Credit Sesame but what exactly is their Business Model? It may be “free” to consumers but they must generate revenue in some way. Not sure, but from glancing at the T’s and C’s doesn’t this mean that they harvest your creditworthiness information and then share it (though hopefully not your personal info) with banks, credit card companies and other for purposes of marketing to you “prequalified” offers etc.?

“DESCRIPTION OF SERVICES

The Service is a personal finance information management service focused on finding prequalified loan options for the consumer, tracking and collecting consumer information, including but not limited to, credit score, loan and credit card monthly payment, total amount and interest rates, and home value, and product information, such as loan, eligibility, and requirement information from major banks. Based on this information collection, consumer is presented with a view of his/her current key financial figures in assets, debt and credit areas of personal finance, as well as, top loan and financing recommendations personalized to consumers profile and preferences using our proprietary technology and analytics, which information, alerts and updates may be presented to Members in the form of
periodic emails.”

Ashley
Guest
Ashley

I signed up for Credit Sesame, but I can’t figure out how to turn on credit monitoring. Their FAQ say to go to Finance and click on the Credit Monitoring Tab. There is only a My Monitoring Tab, which brings me to another page with two likely possibilities: a tab that says “credit monitoring” but which only shows alerts (there are none since I just signed up) and a credit card offer. The other likely possibility is a box that says “Turn on your free Credit Monitoring” and a link on green words saying “Free Credit Monitoring.” This brings up another page where I can select how to receive credit monitoring. I checked both boxes for email and push alerts and clicked “Update” at the bottom, but my Credit Monitoring button still says “OFF” and I cannot click on it to change it. I am emailing them as well but thought others here might have the same problem or a solution.

Joe
Guest
Joe

I am having the same issue. Any resolution?

Andy
Guest
Andy

Thanks for the great posts as usual!
I signed up for free CreditSesame account, however, I can’t seem to turn on the free credit monitoring and identity protection. I tried clicking on the green “Free Credit Monitoring and Identity Protection” area but nothing happens. In my Alerts tab it says “My Credit Monitoring is Off.” Any help? Thanks again!

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

I just noticed that Discover is also offering a free service that includes notifying you of any new accounts showing up on your Experian credit report or if they find your social on suspicious websites. I did a little reading and it looks like they started offering this in July. Has anyone used it? What do you think?

ES
Guest
ES

Those among your readers who are homeowners might also call their insurance companies. We added identity theft to our policy for just a few dollars a year a while back; thankfully we haven’t needed it as yet. Perhaps renter policies and/or umbrella policies offer such coverage as well.

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[…] Free Identity Theft Insurance:  After the Equifax hack, you may be wondering what options you have to protect yourself if your identity was stolen.  Many are leery about taking Equifax’s help to protect them and rightfully so. Luckily there are a couple of options for free identity theft insurance available. […]

JC
Guest
JC

It looks like both only monitor TransUnion for free. I also have the Experian app, which seems to monitor for free as well. What about Equifax – any free options? Or better yet, one that does all three? (seems unlikely)

Regarding credit freezing, this seems like a really inconvenient option for people like us, no? Or is it as easy as a few clicks and instantaneous?

Alex Buz.
Guest
Alex Buz.

CreditKarma monitors both TU and EQ, for free. A nice combo with the Experian app.

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[…] Instead of freezing your credit (or in addition to it), another option is to closely monitor your credit and take action only if a malicious event occurs.  If such an event does occur, you might not be held accountable, especially if you report the event immediately.  And if the crime does end up costing you money, you may be able to recover those funds through identity theft insurance (see: Equifax Hack Rx: Free Identity Theft Insurance). […]

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[…] Equifax Hack Rx: Free Identity Theft Insurance […]

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[…] Equifax Hack Rx: Free Identity Theft Insurance […]