Breach mitigation services raise other concerns

A number of commenters on this blog have raised concerns about giving their identity information to a firm that has been contracted to provide identity theft protection in the wake of a breach. The recurring theme is, “Why should I trust yet more people with my SSN?”

And for how long will that firm retain your identity information? What if they’re hacked?

David Lazarus had an interesting column today in the Los Angeles Times. In it, he mentions AllClear ID, one of the companies frequently retained to provide services to breach victims, and the one Anthem Insurance contracted with after their mega-hack.

But David went further and looked into the service a bit, reporting:

The AllClear monitoring offered by [Anthem] only tracks your TransUnion credit file. It pays no attention to your files at rival credit reporting agencies Experian and Equifax. This is significant because not all creditors report information to all agencies.

If you’re not simultaneously monitoring all three, it’s possible you’ll miss incidents of fraud or ID theft.

“This wasn’t well publicized,” [Paul Stephens of Privacy Rights Clearinghouse] said. “It was buried in the fine print. When I called AllClear, they told me I didn’t have to have my credit monitored at all three agencies, which is simply untrue.”

Also, a deep dive into AllClear’s terms and conditions reveals that users of the service must agree to give up their right to sue the company and accept arbitration to settle any disputes. Plus, that arbitration must take place in Austin, Texas.

On top of that, the company’s privacy policy says that even after your credit monitoring ends, “AllClear ID may retain your personal information indefinitely … to resolve disputes, to comply with official investigations or proceedings, and/or to enforce AllClear ID’s agreements.”

So… when you’re offered credit monitoring, make sure you read the terms and conditions and know what you’re getting, what you’re not getting, and for how long the service provider might retain your identity information.

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