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Investing

Robinhood customers worried about the data hack: An identity theft protection service can help

Robinhood's latest data breach is a reminder of how we can protect our identity from being stolen.

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On Nov. 8, investment platform Robinhood announced that a data breach revealed the personal information of more than 7 million of its customers. According to a statement made by the company, the security attack did not expose Social Security numbers, bank account numbers or debit card numbers, and no customers experienced "financial loss" from the incident.

The data breach was largely contained to only customer names and emails. A limited number of customers had additional personal information exposed such as birth date and zip code, and the company says roughly 10 customers had "more extensive account details revealed" (though details were not disclosed).

If you are a Robinhood user, you can learn more about keeping your account secure by going to the help center on the company's website. You may want to take an extra step, however, by investing in an extra level of protection for your personal information. Here's where identity theft services are a good idea.

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How to further protect yourself from identity fraud

Identity theft can come in all sorts of ways, a stolen Social Security number or seized credit card information, and it can be costly. A 2020 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy and Research found that identity fraud cost consumers a whopping $16.9 billion in 2019. You may not spot fraud right away but yet the longer it drags on, the more expensive the identity theft can be to resolve.

Robinhood users who got off the hook this time but want to quickly spot potential fraud in the future may want to consider signing up for an identity theft protection service.

These services can tell if a fraudster has your info by checking if your personal information is misused or if it appears on the dark web, social media or other databases. If you're the victim of fraud, many services also offer advice from specialists, as well as insurance that can offset legal fees and other expenses related to restoring your identity.

The best identity theft protection services

Select reviewed dozens of identity theft protection and credit monitoring services that safeguard your information and provide insurance. The best services, like IdentityForce®, offer up to $1 million for eligible expenses associated with resolving and restoring your identity.

In fact, we ranked IdentityForce the 'best overall' because its two UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit plans both provide standard coverage up to $1 million to help you recover out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages when your identity is compromised. Robinhood customers should take note that with either plan they can also receive alerts for potential fraud on their bank, credit card and investment accounts, as well as the use of their medical ID, Social Security number and address. Find out what other coverage you get, plus pricing details, in our full review of IdentityForce.

Below, we rank the top identity theft services — in addition to IdentityForce — that can alert you of potential breaches to your personal information. (Read more about our methodology for selecting the best identity theft protection services.)

It's important to understand that these services can't prevent fraud from happening. You'll need to be proactive and safeguard your personal information to reduce your exposure to identity theft.

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Our methodology

To determine which identity theft protection services offer the most benefits to consumers, Select analyzed and compared over a dozen services that offer a variety of plans.

When ranking the best identity theft protection services, we focused on the following features:

  • Cost: Typically, these services bill monthly but some have deals where you can pay annually.
  • Identity theft insurance: We considered whether the services offered identity theft insurance and looked at the amount you're covered up to. We found that the best services offer up to $1 million for eligible expenses associated with resolving and restoring your identity.
  • Wide variety of identity monitoring: The more platforms the service checks for breaches to your personal information, the better.
  • Credit monitoring: We ranked services that monitor your credit reports higher than those they don't. The best plans offer triple-bureau monitoring.
  • Family plans: If you can enroll your family members, that's an added plus.
  • Mobile app: The ability to access services from a smartphone was crucial.

Keep in mind that identity theft protection services can only alert you of breaches to your personal information, not prevent any fraud.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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