Is identity theft protection worth it? Cyber security experts weigh in

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Knowing how to protect yourself from identity theft will give you peace of mind. (Photo: Getty)
Knowing how to protect yourself from identity theft will give you peace of mind. (Photo: Getty)

Identity theft is a scary possibility — and it happens more often than most people realize.

Nearly 13 million people in the U.S. were victims of identity theft in 2019, according to a 2020 identity fraud survey from research-based advisory company Javelin. And, it seems, identity theft is only getting worse — making protection that much more important. A recent report issued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that nearly 13 percent of people surveyed discovered that their personal information was misused in the past five years.

Is identity theft protection worth it? It's important to consider this: The FTC says that identity thieves can liquidate your bank account, make fraudulent charges to your credit cards, open new utility accounts and even get medical treatment under your health insurance. If you don't want to deal with the hassle of trying to prove you didn't do all of that — and having your accounts on lockdown while you do it — identity theft protection is probably worth it for you.

One way to head off identity theft at the pass is to invest in powerful software like Norton Security Online — a leader in cybersecurity. One account protects up to five mobile devices from cyber threats of all kinds. Once downloaded, the software helps detect and remove existing malware, and then helps thwart future attempted adware attacks in real time. It also helps shield any personal or financial information tied to each device using bank-grade encryption, and blocks fraudulent websites created to steal your identity and your money.

Shop it: Norton Security Online, 30-day free trial, then $4.99 a month, subscriptions.yahoo.com

One way to protect yourself from identity theft is to invest in software like Norton Security Online. (Photo: Getty)
One way to protect yourself from identity theft is to invest in software like Norton Security Online. (Photo: Getty)

What can identity theft protection do?

"Identity theft protection services ostensibly reduce the risks of being harmed by identity theft," Joseph Steinberg, cybersecurity and emerging technologies advisor, tells Yahoo Life.

Companies like LifeLock can help monitor your presence on the web and alert you when something seems off, he says. But software like Norton Security Online can help protect you from falling victim in the first place. It includes anti-phishing features, anti-spam tech to keep your mailbox free of unwanted, dangerous and fraudulent emails, and a smart firewall to keep strangers from accessing your home network by blocking incoming traffic determined to be unsafe. It's all with the purpose of keeping your private information out of the hands of others.

So, is identity theft protection worth it?

Cyber security experts say yes. "Everyone is a target for identity theft," tech and cybersecurity expert Chuck Brooks, president of Brooks Consulting International, tells Yahoo Life. "If you use the internet, you should have it. If you often shop online, it is an imperative."

Shop it: Norton Security Online, try this 30-day free trial, then $4.99 a month, subscriptions.yahoo.com

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