There are plenty of organizations, including well-regarded insurance companies, that offer programs intended to help you regain your identity, credit, and good name after identity theft. They go by two names that sound almost identical: "identity resolution" and "identity restoration."
While both resolution and restoration lead to the same outcomes, they approach the process completely differently. Those that help to "resolve" identity theft are willing to guide you, the victim, through a long and arduous process. Those that restore identity do all the work for you, allowing you to avoid spending a great deal of time and emotional energy in the process.
The Pros and Cons of Identity Theft Restoration Programs
Identity theft restoration services are expensive, but people who use them rave about them. Coupled with a good identity theft credit monitoring program and an identity theft protection service, restoration services may be arguably the best protection from identity theft that money can buy.
Unlike identity theft resolution services, which may or may not do any work for you, many identity theft restoration services do the work for you. The amount of work that you have to put in to recover your identity may be minimal, depending on the company you work with.
How Identity Restoration Programs Work
In order to work on your behalf, any identity theft restoration service will need some form of limited power of attorney. They usually require you to fill out your initial police report and give them a copy of it as well. They may require you to file a complaint with the FTC as well and give them a copy of that complaint form.
Armed with this paperwork, identity theft restoration services do all the heavy lifting. They make the calls, they send the letters and, perhaps most importantly, they have access to a legal department or an arrangement with a law firm to handle the legal aspects that invariably come up when you're a victim of identity theft.
As you might expect, this makes things much easier for them to resolve because they don't have to deal with customer service representatives. Instead, they are talking to other lawyers and if there's one thing lawyers are famous for, it is making good use of their time. Identity theft restoration services are so effective because they are put together by people who know what they're doing in the first place.
Among the first identity theft restoration services was created by Kroll, a leader in the industry of financial risk and other forms of risk management. Kroll has contacts with government entities because they used to own a company that performed background checks, including for government agencies, until that subsidiary was sold in 2009. Kroll now provides regulatory services for government agencies.
Other programs that do some form of identity theft restoration are usually run or staffed by attorneys and ex-law enforcement officers. They, too, have a good idea of whom to talk to in order to quickly resolve any identity theft-related issues and are familiar with the laws that need to be followed.
Finding Identity Restoration Specialists
Of course, it's possible to find identity restoration specialists simply by googling it. But another good way to be sure you have access to an identity restoration specialist is to buy insurance. Many insurance companies–like State Farm and Allstate–offer identity restoration insurance products for individuals and corporations. If you choose not to insure yourself, you can always tap into other companies that will work with you, like Kroll, LifeLock, Experian, etc.