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ID Watchdog is a company we interviewed a few months ago, but for whatever reason, never got the transcript of the interview up online.
So, here is the transcript (and an audio replay) of the interview we did with IDWatchdog.

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(A Transcription of this Interview with IDWatchdog will be available shortly.)
Click below to listen to the Identity Theft Secrets Interview with ID Watchdog

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In this interview with Erik Hansen, VP of Marketing for IDWatchdog, a Colorado based company which markets itself as a watchdog for your identity, we discuss many topics, including:
The current state of Identity Theft
Problems customers have had with IDWatchdog (concerns about ID Watchdog charging customers’ cards when they didn’t know they were being charged)
What makes IDWatchdog’s services different
Background and database monitoring
and much more.
ID Watchdog Interview
Identity Theft Secrets Interviews:
Erik Hansen, VP Marketing for ID Watchdog

Identity Theft Secrets: This is Jonathan Kraft with Identity Theft Secrets and I am here today with Erik Hansen who is the Vice President of Marketing for ID Watchdog. How are you today Erik?
ID Watchdog: Just fine thanks!
Identity Theft Secrets: Well, thank you for taking a few minutes with us today. How long has ID Watchdog been in business and how long have you worked there?
ID Watchdog: Sure. ID Watchdog has been around since late-2005, about 2-1/2 years and I’ve been with the company for about a year and a half now.
Identity Theft Secrets: Awesome. What does ID Watchdog’s service do?
ID Watchdog: What we do is we protect people from identity theft. There’s a couple of differences between us and some of the other solutions that are out there. What we do is we monitor thousands of private and public records on your behalf looking for evidence of identity theft. And if we discover identity theft while you’re on our “watch,” what we do is we repair the damage at no additional cost and that’s all for a monthly fee.
Identity Theft Secrets: And who actually does the repair of the damage for your company?
ID Watchdog: Sure, we have some internal people that are very versed and have experience in hundreds of cases of identity theft over the last few years and they’ve been able to repair damage anywhere from just a fraudulent account on your credit report, all the way to criminal records that might be illegally committed in your name. All different kinds of records of identity theft that they’ve been able to restore back to normal.
Identity Theft Secrets: And in your business since 2005, how many of these cases do you think you’ve dealt with?
ID Watchdog: It’s in excess, I don’t know the exact number off the top of my head, but it’s in excess of 500 cases.
Identity Theft Secrets: A big problem! Obviously everybody knows it’s a big problem at this point; but a big problem that you’re working to solve. One of the things that I saw is actually Bank of Choice, a friend of mine is actually the head of HR there, enrolls their customers into a service called Choice Secure; but that’s actually powered by ID Watchdog. So I’m curious, if you can explain to me, how these sorts of relationships happen between banks and other financial institutions and ID Watchdog. And then what do you do for … what kind of service do they actually provide to their customers through you?
ID Watchdog: Sure, we’re actually endorsed by the Colorado Banking Association as the official identity theft protection service for their member banks and Bank of Choice is actually one of those members. What we do essentially for Bank of Choice is we help protect all of their consumers from identity theft. If you happen to be a Bank of Choice customer and you are a victim during the time period that you’re a customer, you can contact us through the Bank, they have a special 800 number, and we’ll go about investigating that and restoring your identity to normal if you’re a victim.
In addition to that, for half price, they can also get our full monitoring of their personal records to see if there’s any identity theft there as well. So they can choose that enhanced service or they can just know that if they’re a victim while they happen to be a Bank of Choice customer that they are covered with ID Watchdog.
Identity Theft Secrets: And what do those services generally run through you — as far as cost?
ID Watchdog: Well if you’re a victim, we … that service starts at $99. Let me put it this way, if you’re someone who’s not currently enrolled in ID Watchdog and you come to us as a victim, those services start at $99 and then move on up from there depending on the severity of the identity theft problem. If you become a victim while you are part of ID Watchdog, we repair the damage for no additional cost and that’s free.
Identity Theft Secrets: Awesome! So the monthly charge then if someone wants to be part of your service on a regular basis?
ID Watchdog: That’s $19.95 a month. You get a free trial for the first 15 days, so you can try it out and get the identity profile report which will tell you frankly, if you’re potentially already a victim and there’s also a lot of interesting information about your past and is what we use to initially detect identity theft.
Identity Theft Secrets: And to make sure that public records I imagine are accurate about people too; because a lot of times there’s just inaccuracies about people on public record.
ID Watchdog: That’s absolutely true. There’s a lot of inaccuracy in the public record. Some of that is not identity theft incidentally, that just might be errors, typos, or it might be your spouse or another relative’s records got mixed up with yours and we’ve even seen cases where your social security number is close to someone else’s and somehow, because of that, things get mixed up. There’s a variety of reasons not related to identity theft, but those kinds of things happen. If it is identity theft, then we’ll repair it while you’re on our watch as part of the service for free.
Identity Theft Secrets: Now you said that you monitor thousands of different sources for potential identity theft. Can you give me an example of what some of those sources might be?
ID Watchdog: Sure! I mean we monitor credit reports, we monitor property records, we look at the driving records, the Social Security Index, court records that might indicate some kind of criminal behavior of some kind; a whole variety of difference sources.
Identity Theft Secrets: Cool. Well one complaint, as I was looking online, I found about your service is that people have gotten ID Watchdog without knowing that they were signing up for it. People got cards, I think shopping cards through First National Gold or First Plus Platinum and then they started being billed for your service just because they signed up for those services. Does ID Watchdog do that? And how do people, if they didn’t want the service, how do they know they’re going to be getting that service when they sign up for those things?
ID Watchdog: We really see it as a benefit for those customers who sign up for those products that they get ID Watchdog. They know that their credit is safe and they know that they’re going to be protected from identity theft. And that is disclosed to the customer with our logo as well as some copy on our website in the Terms and Conditions and in everything else. Sometimes people are unaware, just like I’m sure there are a lot of Bank of Choice customers out there who aren’t aware that they get identity theft protection through ID Watchdog at the same time. And of course we resolve those concerns; when someone really doesn’t want our service, then we cancel them and refund their money if necessary.
Identity Theft Secrets: Good to know. What kind of user base does ID Watchdog have presently and then what are the plans for ID Watchdog for the future?
ID Watchdog: The average, the kind of customer that we service is really a fairly broad group of people. Anyone who is concerned that they might have their identity stolen and that’s virtually anyone with a Social Security number or credit card, which covers just about every American that there is out there today. We do limit the service of course to Americans with Social Security numbers because we can’t protect international folks, but any American that can and does sign up for our service. The average demographic of our customer has a tendency to be a bit older; they have a tendency to be over the age of 40. We don’t sign up too many young folks, although we do have some family plans that if you were a parent or a grandparent and wanted to sign up your kids or your grandkids, you could do that at half price as well. And that’s pretty cool, because what people don’t realize of course is that kids become victims and often times they don’t even realize that they are a victim because they’re not looking at their credit report; or they’re not looking at their public records because they’re minors. And suddenly they come out at the age of 18 and viola — they have all these problems that they didn’t even know that they had. So it is important for people to protect folks of all ages.
Identity Theft Secrets: Well we’ve seen a lot of that with ID theft of children or ID theft of deceased people. Just from your experience in the industry, where do you see identity theft going in the next few years; what do you see happening with the industry as a whole, from both the protection standpoint and from the criminal standpoint?
ID Watchdog: Well I think the criminals are smart and they’re probably getting smarter. Identity theft has kind of evolved from a relatively low-tech crime. I mean you might steal somebody’s personal information out of a mailbox or something like that to a very sophisticated, high-tech crime – you’re hacking into databases and stealing huge swaths of personal information and that’s where it’s changing. It’s not just the simple kind of thing that used to be an isolated crime. And a lot of the data shows that more than 50 million Americans have had their personal information breached over the last year. And that trend is probably going to continue as the folks trying to find increasing ways to try to protect that data so the thieves stay away from it, they seem to be able to hack it anyway. So increasingly technological, increasingly online, increasingly related to computers and things like that, I think that’s a large direction of where identity theft is going to go. Which is why you need a real good, high-tech solution to that kind of crime and that’s what ID Watchdog offers with our monitoring service.
Identity Theft Secrets: And do you see ultimately that the monitoring services are going to be able to keep up with, just in general, I’m not necessarily saying ID Watchdog in particular, but that too, but just in general do you see that these services will be able to keep up with – because obviously you’re in a space where you’re competing with companies like LifeLock and Experian and Kroll and a whole bunch more. Do you see that these companies are going to be able to keep up with the other, the things that are going on with the criminal element?
ID Watchdog: I think this is “buyer beware.” You have to understand what kind of product that you’re purchasing when you purchase; because the different companies that you just mentioned as well as a whole host of other ones offer a lot of different kinds of solutions to this problem of “identity theft.” But there’s not a lot of real good knowledge of people of what identity theft is and what kind of service that you need to protect yourself; one that would be good versus one that would be inadequate.
A lot of services might just put fraud alerts on your credit reports which is maybe sufficient to protect a certain amount of potential identify theft. But certainly doesn’t protect you against all these other records out there that could be manipulated by an identity thief. And that’s what’s unfortunate, is that a lot of companies make really broad, sweeping claims about being able to stop identity theft, that kind of thing. Unfortunately that’s simply not the case. You’ll never be able to completely protect yourself, to keep yourself from being protected. What you’ve got to do is put an alarm system around your identity so that when it happens you know about and then help protect it. You can do it yourself of course if you wish and that’s costly and takes some time or you can enlist a company like ID Watchdog to help you do that. But it’s just not something that you can completely stop and deter. You just want to try to be vigilant and protect yourself as best as you can.
Identity Theft Secrets: And in that vein, what do you think it is that makes ID Watchdog service most unique? I mean, why should a customer choose you over some of these other services that are out there?
ID Watchdog: Sure, I mean I think there’s two really big reasons and Number 1 is that we’re looking at more information and more data than any other company. No one else is doing that. They might limit it to just a very small scope like credit and those kinds of things. The interesting thing is that the FTC has shown that, and this is data that has been reported to the FTC, less than 30% of your identity theft actually has to do with credit specifically; it’s a whole host of other things that are not related to credit.
But in addition to that, a lot of these folks will say, “well, yeah, if you become a victim, we’ll provide you with information, but we won’t help you repair it.” They might give you a self-help kit or refer you to the FTC website or the FBI for information or something like that. We’re really the only service that provides a full service; if you become a victim we’ll, on your behalf, go in and restore your identity back to normal.
Identity Theft Secrets: Awesome. Well, I want to thank you for taking a few minutes with us today to talk about ID Watchdog services. Is there anything else you’d like people to know about ID Watchdog?
ID Watchdog: Well, we’re real excited about ID Watchdog; we have a lot of plans for the future. We think we can be a top player in the industry and we really believe that with our product and our service that you can’t get any better protection from identity theft than through ID Watchdog.
Identity Theft Secrets: Well Erik, thank you for taking a few minutes with us today here at Identity Theft Secrets and thank you for your time.
ID Watchdog: Thank you!
Identity Theft Secrets: This has been an audio interview with IdentityTheftSecrets.com. We can be found online at www.i-d-e-n-t-i-t-y-t-h-e-f-t-s-e-c-r-e-t-s.com, IdentityTheftSecrets.com.

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