What if identity theft could be stopped dead in its tracks?
That’s the concept behind Identity Guard, a credit monitoring service provider that today launched a new mobile application that allows users to monitor applications for credit or otherwise made in their name through real-time alerts.
The app makes use of two existing authentication services that are also employed by banks and other institutions seeking to verify a person’s identity, namely the Equifax and TransUnion credit bureaus.
In addition to fraudulent applications to credit cards, those seeking to impersonate someone also do so to obtain loans, access bank accounts, and receive government benefits, get access to utilities, and maybe even employment.
The benefit of proactive monitoring is that in many cases, the consequences of falling victim to identity theft do not materialize until in more crucial situations.
“Financial loss isn’t the problem,” Sheila McCracken, vice president of Identity Guard told CDN. “Usually, the bank already covered the fraud, but your reputation and credit rating risk. Often people go to apply for a mortgage and there is a delinquency and they get denied. They find out there was activity in their name and people often don’t even know they had the account.”
With the solution, a notification can appear on either an iPhone or Android smartphone, at which point a user can decide whether or not it is legitimate.
If not, Identity Guard has a hotline that is able to help customers contact banks and other institutions to put fraud alerts on the account, preventing the application from being approved in the first place.
According to McCracken, thanks to new sources of data that the credit firms use to verify identity, even non-financial applications are captured in cases of utilities, employment screening companies, etc., essentially any situation where a company may want to “reasonability check, because it may be a sensitive transaction or risk involved.”
Identity Guard currently offers the service at $17.99 per month after a trial period. There are, however, rates for enterprises that want to enrol as well as an affiliate program for partners who want to help implement the service or create a value-added bundle.
“It’s most important where there are people who are concerned about their credit worthiness, and those who do many online transactions,” McCracken said. “That’s our target.”