Adrian Nazari, the CEO of Credit Sesame, explains why they are courting Target breach victims. “It’s been made quite clear over the last five months how devastating the Target data breach was, and still remains, for the potential 70 million Target customers whose personal information is at risk,” he said. “Since the offer to sign-up for Target’s free year of credit monitoring expired last week, we took the opportunity to extend our free credit and identity protection and credit monitoring to those potential victims who missed the deadline. Clearly, it’s a natural step that raises awareness of our free services for consumers as well as provides an alternative to anyone that is worried about their credit and identity that have no where else to turn.”
This is a concerted effort to let those who would normally pay for identity theft protection know about the new free service they are offering. The Target victims who missed the free offer deadline would be prime candidates for companies like LifeLock, which require a monthly payment for this service, and Credit Sesame wants consumers to know that there is a free alternative that has no deadline, doesn’t have an expiration date, and there is no coupon code required.
This also plays into their goal of differentiating themselves from their direct free credit score competitors like Credit Karma and Quizzle. While their competitors offer similar free credit scores to their users, Credit Sesame is currently the only company that is offering a free identity theft protection option along with a no-cost credit score.
Nazari wants all those who missed the target deadline to know they can still get free coverage. “We hope that anyone who missed the opportunity to sign up for Target’s free and limited service finds our free service appealing. We do not know how many that is, but expect that many millions have not done so and may still need help.” Those who sign up receive free access to their credit scores, no-cost credit monitoring that comes with real-time alerts, and identity theft protection. The identity theft protection includes $50,000 in identity theft insurance at no cost, plus free access to identity restoration specialists who can help you walk through the steps needed to restore your identity if you do become an identity theft victim.
While this offer to Target customers is an obvious marketing ploy (they offer these services to anyone at any time regardless if they were a victim of this incident), it is a free alternative to buying the ID theft protection, which was the only option in the past.
While getting ID theft protection might make you feel more secure, it’s important to understand that it can’t prevent it from happening anymore than earthquake insurance can stop earthquakes. That doesn’t mean that you should wait around for it to happen. There are many things you can do to make identity theft much less likely that you should implement into your daily life. Credit monitoring might alert you more quickly that ID theft has occurred, and ID theft insurance can help you navigate what needs to be done to restore your good credit, but neither of these will prevent it from happening in the first place. For this reason, you need to be proactive to reduce the chance of ID theft happening in the first place and not rely on these services, thinking that you are protected from it happening.
Target credit card breach victims can find out more information here.