New Service Notifies You When Your Social Security Number Is Used

istock / istock

A new startup called Civic wants to make identity theft a thing of the past. While there are plenty of companies out there that will alert you when there have been changes to your credit report (often for a fee), Civic is unique in that it aims to prevent identity theft before it happens.

WIRED explains that Civic, which launched this week, is a free service that promises to alert users via email and push notification when their social security number is used. Users will then have an opportunity to cancel transactions before they go through.

Civic is a free service and will provide users with $1 million of identity theft insurance. It plans to team up with a wide range of companies and hopes to make a profit by charging the companies—rather than individual users—for its services. The idea is to save both individuals and companies money by preventing theft and helping to keep insurance premiums down for participating companies.

While not all identity theft occurs through stolen social security information, WIRED explains that Civic could help prevent much of the fraud that involves bank accounts and mobile service carriers. Right now Civic is in beta, so it’s still expanding its services and looking for companies to partner with. Civic claims that as more companies sign up, the coverage it can provide individuals will evolve. But it promises to be a valuable resource for anyone worried about keeping track of their personal information. “We think the way you secure information is not by keeping information private,” Civic CEO Vinny Lingham tells WIRED. “It’s about being able to follow its use.”

[h/t WIRED]