Is there a downside to free online privacy protection?

For example, Discover card has a new "Online Privacy Protection" that you can activate for free. It sounds good, but is there a negative aspect to it?

Here is their spiel,

Online Privacy Protection We'll help regularly remove your personal info from ten popular people-search websites that could sell your data. Activate for free only in the Discover mobile app

Social Security Number Alerts We’ll send an alert if your SSN is found on any of thousands of Dark Web sites

Inquiry and New Account Alerts We’ll monitor your Experian credit report and notify you if anyone pulls your credit or opens a new account

Fraud Protection We monitor your card and account 24/7 for any fraudulent activity. And you’re never responsible for unauthorized purchases made on your Discover card

  • There's not really a down-side security-wise... but it would be better if Discover and all other credit card companies didn't sell you data in the first place. I believe all of them force you to explicitly opt-out. Aug 10, 2022 at 18:57
  • The devil is in the details, though. You might need more specifics, especially about the Experian monitoring. Just as a rule of thumb, I would leave the Experian monitoring up to Experian... using a 3rd party for that seems like it could be problematic and wouldn't fix any of Experian's existing problems with security. Aug 10, 2022 at 18:59

1 Answer 1


The only downside I can think of is that you give the provider permission to use your personal information for these services. Since it is a commercial provider, its services are most likely developed with the intent to make money off it. You should check the terms and conditions of the service to be sure you are only granting permission for information use with respect to these services, and not for other reasons.

The last three services seem most valuable in terms of security. The sentence "And you’re never responsible for unauthorized purchases made on your Discover card" is a bit weird, as I would argue you are never responsible for unauthorized purchases, even if your card would somehow be stolen.

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