I got the offer today. Other companies have made similar offers. Is there a downside to this kind of thing? Are they getting some sort of access that they will somehow market some junk to me?

Here's their blurb,

"Discover® Identity Alerts are offered by Discover Bank at no cost, only available online, and currently include the following services: (a) daily monitoring of your Experian® credit report and an alert when a new account is listed on your report; (b) daily monitoring of thousands of Dark Web sites known for revealing personal information and an alert if your Social Security number is found on such a website." etc.

I don't see a down-side to this, but I know that usually companies don't give you something for nothing. Has anyone had any recent experience with this or a similar service? It seems benign... thx

  • 4
    From my experience with a similar service, one downside is getting a very vague email saying "We found your information for sale!" whenever there's a breach, regardless of whether it was just my email address or my social. At this point, they've trained me to ignore the alerts.
    – Bobson
    Sep 12, 2019 at 2:07
  • You must, presumably, give them your SSN. They can of course sell that TO the dark web. Then alert you of its existence. They make money on both transactions. Now, it might be legit - by all means. But I wouldn't count on it.
    – Stian
    Sep 12, 2019 at 7:48
  • 1
    @StianYttervik OP says this Discover thing is a free service, so they're not making money from his side...
    – Steve-O
    Sep 12, 2019 at 13:18
  • 2
    @steve-o in that case I am doubly skeptic... Free lunches tend to cost something.
    – Stian
    Sep 12, 2019 at 13:27
  • 2
    @StianYttervik I hope we aren't seriously considering the possibility that Discover Bank is going to sell their customer's information to "the dark web."
    – dwizum
    Sep 12, 2019 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


There is no free lunch. Following are the term and conditions and card policies.

For the card services, it is up to you to decide whether you want to surrender your card privacy to the bank-affiliated third party.

While for the identity theft alert services, I will compare it to Lifelock (Symantec Corporation subsidies) upside and downside. Looking at the both product comparison page, I am quite skeptic how the services fare better than an awareness program, while also secure the client various account id.

Here are some controversies found for Lifelock that you can infer to similar services

In March 2010, LifeLock was fined $12 million by the Federal Trade Commission for deceptive advertising.[42] The FTC called the company's prior marketing claims misleading to consumers by claiming to be a 100% guarantee against all forms of identity theft.[43]

In 2015, the FTC found LifeLock to be in contempt of the 2010 agreement, charging that they "failed to establish and maintain a comprehensive information security program", and "falsely advertised that it protected consumers' sensitive data". The FTC obtained a $100 million monetary penalty against LifeLock to settle the contempt charge.[44] Of that fine, $68 million is to be held for class-action refunds to LifeLock customers.

Comparing such services to Have I been pwned? privacy policy, I will rather stick to the free "Have I been pwned?" until there is some sort of industrial examination on the effectiveness of identify theft prevention services.

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