Superaccurate GPS Chips Coming to Smartphones in 2018

Broadcom has released the first mass-market GPS chips that use newer satellite signals to boost accuracy to 30 centimeters

Illustration: Miguel Navarro/Getty Images
We’ve all been there. You’re driving down the highway, just as Google Maps instructed, when Siri tells you to “proceed east for one-half mile, then merge onto the highway.” But you’re already on the highway. After a moment of confusion and perhaps some rude words about Siri and her extended AI family, you realize the problem: Your GPS isn’t accurate enough for your navigation app to tell if you’re on the highway or on the road beside it.

Those days are nearly at an end. At the ION GNSS+ conference in Portland, Ore., today Broadcom announced that it is sampling the first mass-market chip that can take advantage of a new breed of global navigation satellite signals and will give the next generation of smartphones 30-centimeter accuracy instead of today’s 5 meters. Even better, the chip works in a city’s concrete canyons, and it consumes half the power of today’s generation of chips. The chip, the BCM47755, has been included in the design of some smartphones slated for release in 2018, but Broadcom would not reveal which.

GPS and other global navigation satellite systems (GNSSs), such as Europe’s Galileo, Japan’s QZSS, and Russia’s Glonass, allow a receiver to determine its position by calculating its distance from three or more satellites. All GNSS satellites—even the oldest generation still in use—broadcast a message called the L1 signal, which includes the satellite’s location, the time, and an identifying signature pattern. A newer generation broadcasts a more complex signal called L5 at a different frequency in addition to the legacy L1 signal. The receiver essentially uses these signals to fix its distance from each satellite based on how long it takes the signal to go from satellite to receiver.

Broadcom’s receiver first locks onto the satellite with the L1 signal and then refines its calculated position with L5. The latter is superior, especially in cities, because it is much less prone to distortions from multipath reflections than L1.

In a city, the satellite’s signals reach the receiver both directly and by bouncing off of one or more buildings. The direct signal and any reflections arrive at slightly different times, and if they overlap, they add up to form a sort of signal blob. The receiver is looking for the peak of that blob to fix the time of arrival. But the messier the blob, the less accurate that fix, and the less accurate the final calculated position will be.

However, L5 signals are so brief that the reflections are unlikely to overlap with the direct signal. The receiver chip can simply ignore any signal after the first one it receives, which is the direct path. The Broadcom chip also uses information in the phase of the carrier signal to further improve accuracy.

Though there are advanced systems that use L5 on the market now, these are generally for industrial purposes, such as oil and gas exploration. Broadcom’s BCM47755 is the first mass-market chip that uses both L1 and L5.

Why is this only happening now? “Up to now there haven’t been enough L5 satellites in orbit,” says Manuel del Castillo, associate director of GNSS product marketing at Broadcom. At this point, there are about 30 such satellites in orbit, counting a set that only flies over Japan and Australia. Even in a city’s “narrow window of sky you can see six or seven, which is pretty good,” Del Castillo says. “So now is the right moment to launch.”

Broadcom had to get the improved accuracy to work within a smartphone’s limited power budget. Fundamentally, that came down to three things: moving to a more power-efficient 28-nanometer-chip manufacturing process, adopting a new radio architecture (which Broadcom would not disclose the details of), and designing a power-saving dual-core sensor hub. In total, they add up to a 50 percent power savings over Broadcom’s previous, less accurate chip. 

In smartphones, sensor hubs take the raw data from the system’s sensors and process it to provide only the information the phone’s applications processor needs, thereby taking the computational burden and its accompanying power draw off of the applications processor. For instance, a sensor hub might monitor the accelerometer looking for signs that you had flipped your phone’s orientation from vertical to horizontal. It would then just send the applications processor the equivalent of the word “horizontal” instead of a stream of complex accelerations.

The sensor hub in the BCM47755 takes advantage of the ARM’s “big.LITTLE” design—a dual-core architecture in which a simple low-power processor core is paired with a more complex core. The low-power core, in this case an ARM Cortex M-0, handles simple, continuous tasks. The more powerful but power-hungry core, a Cortex M-4, comes in only when it’s needed.

The BCM4775 is just the latest development in a global push for centimeter-level navigation accuracy. Bosch, Geo++, Mitsubishi Electric, and U-blox established a joint venture called Sapcorda Services in August, to provide centimeter-level accuracy. Sapcorda seems to depend on using ground stations to measure errors in GPS and Galileo satellite signals due to atmospheric distortions. Those measurements would then be sent to receivers in handsets and other systems to improve accuracy.

Japan’s US $1.9 billion Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) also relies on error correction, but it additionally improves on urban navigation by adding a set of satellites that guarantees one is visible directly overhead even in the densest part of Tokyo. The third of those four satellites launched in August. A fourth is planned for October, and the system is to come online in 2018.

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New leadership for MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab

Antonio Torralba has been named MIT director of the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab effective immediately, announced Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the MIT School of Engineering, today.

An expert in computer vision, machine learning, and human visual perception, Torralba is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a principal investigator at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. His projects span a wide range — from investigating object recognition and scene understanding in pictures and movies, to studying the inner workings of deep neural networks, to building models of human vision and cognition, to the development of applications and systems such as Pic2Recipe that can look at a photo of food, predict the ingredients, and suggest similar recipes. He is also an enthusiastic investigator of the intersections between visual art and computation.

“As the inaugural MIT director of our collaboration with IBM, Antonio will closely collaborate with IBM leadership and lab researchers to design and implement the lab’s ambitious research agenda,” said Chandrakasan, who is also the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “He is an accomplished scholar and a creative thinker with deep experience and a broad range of research interests in AI. I look forward to working with Antonio as we shape this exciting endeavor.”

Torralba is an associate editor of the International Journal in Computer Vision and served as program chair for the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in 2015. He received the 2008 National Science Foundation Career award, the best student paper award at the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in 2009, and the 2010 J.K. Aggarwal Prize from the International Association for Pattern Recognition. In 2017, he received the Frank Quick Faculty Research Innovation Fellowship and the Louis D. Smullin (’39) Award for Teaching Excellence. He earned a degree in telecommunications engineering from Telecom BCN in Spain, in 1994, and his PhD in signal, image, and speech processing from the National Polytechnic Institute of Grenoble in France, in 2000.   

“I am delighted by the appointment of Antonio Torralba as MIT director of the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab,” said Dario Gil, vice president of AI and IBM Q at IBM Research, who, along with Chandrakasan, oversees the MIT-IBM collaboration. “He brings a unique combination of deep technical excellence, intellectual curiosity, and enthusiasm — which I hope become hallmarks of our collaboration. I look forward to working closely with Antonio and the joint teams across MIT and IBM to kick off what I know will be a tremendously successful collaboration.”

Torralba and the IBM director will lead the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, a $240 million investment by IBM in AI efforts over the next 10 years, with $90 million dedicated to supporting MIT research. They will co-chair a committee comprised of equal numbers of MIT faculty and IBM researchers. This committee will review and select proposals for funding and provide strategic direction to the lab. The initial areas of joint research between MIT and IBM will be core AI algorithms, the physics of AI, the application of AI to industries, and advancing shared prosperity through AI.   

Torralba and IBM are moving quickly to engage with researchers from MIT and IBM to get the lab’s first round of research projects initiated and underway. They have established a series of upcoming events through which MIT principal investigators and IBM research staff can meet, learn more about the lab, and discuss opportunities for collaboration. 

For more information, visit mitibmwatsonailab.mit.edu.

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Blood Gas and Electrolytes Market: A Straight Overview of Growth Factors and Future Prospects 2017 – 2025

According to the latest report published by Credence Research, Inc. “Blood Gas and Electrolytes Market(Product Type: Benchtop Analyzers, Portable Analyzers and Consumables; Applications: Blood Gas Analysis, Blood Electrolyte Analysis and Hybrid Testing; Usage Area: Hospital Laboratories and Point-of-Care Testing ): Growth, Future Prospects and Competitive Analysis, 2017-2025,” the global blood gas and electrolytes analyzers market was valued at US$ 532.9 Mn in 2016, and is expected to reach US$ 791.7 Mn by 2025, expanding at a CAGR of 4.4% from 2017 to 2025.

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Browse the full report Blood Gas and Electrolytes Analyzers Market: Growth, Future Prospects and Competitive Analysis, 2017-2025 report at http://www.credenceresearch.com/report/blood-gas-and-electrolytes-analyzers-market

Market Insights

The blood gas and electrolytes analyzers market is characterized by perpetual product improvements and innovations, which has become a key factor contributing to the growth of this market. Technological advancements in the nature of analyzers has led to development of innovative devices such as evolution from benchtop analyzers to the current availability of portable point-of-care devices. The modern point-of-care devices offer rapid arterial blood gas analysis at the patient location at the shortest turnaround time. The requirement for augmented test menus is further integrating functionalities of both blood electrolyte and blood gas analysis in order to offer multiple testing of creatinine, electrolytes, bilirubin, nitrogen, etc. from a single sample.

Growing number of patients in need of critical care and high demand for blood gas testing, and increasing demand for point-of-care testing in the light of containing healthcare expenditure are some of the key driving factors allowing growth of the blood gas and electrolytes analyzers market. Between benchtop and portable analyzers, the later segment is observed to be the fastest growing segment due to augmented demand for portable multi-parameter monitoring systems, rise in geriatric population, miniaturization of devices and convenience in use are the key growth facilitators to this segment.

Between hospitals laboratories and point-of-care locations, hospitals currently have the largest market share in the global blood gas and electrolytes analyzers market. Need for performing large volume of diagnostics being performed in central laboratories and is the key growth driver for this segment. On the other hand, point-of-care testing is anticipated to progress at the fastest growth rate during the forecast period on the ground of growing urge to minimize hospital stays in order to attain optimum treatment cost containment and reduce overall healthcare expenditure. In addition, among the application types, hybrid blood gas and electrolytes analyzes experience the highest demand across all usage areas and regions. The segment is also expected to experience faster growth rate that solo blood gas analyzers and blood electrolytes analyzers.

Based on geographical distribution, North America (comprising the U.S. and Canada) is the largest regional market for blood gas and electrolytes analyzers. Presence of evolved healthcare infrastructure, better awareness in both patients and care givers, high government funding and favorable reimbursement system are the key drivers allowing the dominance of North America in the market. Additionally, Asia Pacific is observed to the fastest progressing regional market for blood gas and electrolytes analyzers during the forecast period. Presence of high unmet needs, rapid improvement of healthcare infrastructure and rising healthcare expenditure majorly support the growth of this region.

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Next Generation Sequencing Market:

According to the latest report published by Credence Research, Inc. “Next Generation Sequencing Market – (Technology Type – Whole Genome Sequencing, Targeted Resequencing, RNA Sequencing, Whole Exome Sequencing, and De Novo Sequencing); (Application – Oncology, Genetic Screening, Infectious Diseases, Drug and Biomarker Discovery, Agriculture & Animal Research, Idiopathic Diseases and others): Market Growth, Future Prospects and Competitive Analysis, 2016-2024” the market was valued at USD 2.6 Bn in 2015, and is expected to reach USD 20.6 Bn by 2025, expanding at a CAGR of 21.5% from 2016 to 2025.

Browse the full report Next Generation Sequencing Market – Growth, Future Prospects and Competitive Analysis, 2016-2025 report at http://www.credenceresearch.com/report/next-generation-sequencing-market

Market Insights

Next generation sequencing is a high-throughput sequencing that enables sequencing and assembling of number of short DNA reads at a small period of time and with a better accuracy. The introduction of next generation sequencing technologies has ensured massive changes in the sequencing process by providing better output, higher speed, flexibility and reduced sequencing cost over thousand folds. Technologically, the approaches for any next generation sequencing procedure can be categorized into whole genome sequencing, targeted resequencing, Rna sequencing, whole exome sequencing and de novo sequencing. With the advancement in technology and development of high throughput sequencing platforms such as HiSeq and MiSeq, it has become increasingly efficient to sequence larger number of base pairs in single cycle reads. Targeted resquencing held the largest share in the global next generation sequencing market due to its accuracy, and its rising preferences in the research and development. De novo sequencing is anticipated to grow at the fastest rate during the forecast period due to its faster, more accurate characterization of any species compared to traditional methods.

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have progressive advantages in terms of cost-effectiveness, unprecedented sequencing speed, high resolution and accuracy in genomic analyses. Technological developments in the next generation sequencing market are expected to enable researchers to generate phase resolved HLA sequences in single read cycles and provide insight into the lesser accessible regions of HLA genes. Furthermore, the development of prenatal genome sequencing for analysis of genetic anomalies and diseases is also expected to witness enhanced demand, thus driving the genetic screening market. Growing incidences of cancer and infectious diseases, and increasing use of next generation sequencing to develop biopharmaceuticals and drugs for their cure are further expected to drive demand for next generation sequencing.

Geographically, North America was observed as the largest revenue generating market for next generation sequencing market, where the U.S. held the largest market share. The major factors driving the market are technological advancements in the field of life sciences, availability of commercial solutions for next generation sequencing data analysis, and presence of key players in the region. Moreover, extended support from the government institution for genomic research for drug discovery and genetic screening is also driving the market for next generation sequencing in North America and Europe. Asia-Pacific is expected to grow at the fastest rate with throughout the forecast period owing to growing medical awareness in the regional population, increasing investment for development of healthcare and rising oncology and infectious disease research in the region.

Market Competition Assessment:

The next generation sequencing market currently possesses numerous companies having their products marketed, however, Illumina, Inc. dominates the market wholly. Most of the companies are located in the North America and others developed regions. The companies have untapped opportunities in the developing regions of Asia Pacific and Latin America. Companies are coming up with various products in the developed nations due to high acceptance and accessibilities of these products. The companies include, ThermoFisher Scientific, Pacific Biosciences of California, F.Hoffman-La Roche AG Qiagen, BGI and Others.

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Key Market Movements:

  • Continuous introduction of new products and high level of accuracy offered by the products have accelerated the demand of next generation sequencers
  • Extended clinical application of the next generation sequencing technologies in the field of various diseases and drug discovery driving the market

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2How To Get (A) Fabulous Artificial intelligence On A Tight Budget

Identifying optimal product prices

How can online businesses leverage vast historical data, computational power, and sophisticated machine-learning techniques to quickly analyze and forecast demand, and to optimize pricing and increase revenue?

A research highlight article in the Fall 2017 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review by MIT Professor David Simchi-Levi describes new insights into demand forecasting and price optimization.

Algorithm increases revenue by 10 percent in six months

Simchi-Levi developed a machine-learning algorithm, which won the INFORMS Revenue Management and Pricing Section Practice Award, and first implemented it at online retailer Rue La La.

The initial research goal was to reduce inventory, but what the company ended up with was “a cutting-edge, demand-shaping application that has a tremendous impact on the retailer’s bottom line,” Simchi-Levi says.

Rue La La’s big challenge was pricing on items that have never been sold before and therefore required a pricing algorithm that could set higher prices for some first-time items and lower prices for others.

Within six months of implementing the algorithm, it increased Rue La La’s revenue by 10 percent.

Forecast, learn, optimize

Simchi-Levi’s process involves three steps for generating better price predictions:

The first step involves matching products with similar characteristics to the products to be optimized. A relationship between demand and price is then predicted with the help of a machine-learning algorithm.

The second step requires testing a price against actual sales, and adjusting the product’s pricing curve to match real-life results.  

In the third and final step, a new curve is applied to help optimize pricing across many products and time periods.

Predicting consumer demand at Groupon

Groupon has a huge product portfolio and launches thousands of new deals every day, offering them for only a short time period. Since Groupon has such a short sales period, predicting demand was a big problem and forecasting near impossible.

Applying Simchi-Levi’s approach to this use case began by generating multiple demand functions. By then applying a test price and observing customers’ decisions, insights were gleaned on how much was sold — information that could identify the demand function closest to the level of sales at the learning price. This was the final demand-price function used, and it was used as the basis for optimizing price during the optimization period.

Analysis of the results from the field experiment showed that this new approach increased Groupon’s revenue by about 21 percent but had a much bigger impact on low-volume deals. For deals with fewer bookings per day than the median, the average increase in revenue was 116 percent, while revenue increased only 14 percent for deals with more bookings per day than the median.

Potential to disrupt consumer banking and insurance

The ability to automate pricing enables companies to optimize pricing for more products than most organizations currently find possible. This method has also been used for a bricks-and-mortar application by applying the method to a company’s promotion and pricing, in various retail channels, with similar results.

“I am very pleased that our pricing algorithm can achieve such positive results in a short timeframe,” Simchi-Levi says. “We expect that this method will soon be used not only in retail but also in the consumer banking industry. Indeed, my team at MIT has developed related methods that have recently been applied in the airline and insurance industries.”

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Roofing Underlayment Market Regulations, Size, Share and Competitive Landscape Outlook to 2025

The latest market report published by Credence Research, Inc. “Roofing Underlayment Market – Growth, Future Prospects and Competitive Analysis, 2017 – 2025,” the global roofing underlayment market was valued at US$ 27,478.6 Mn in 2016, and is expected to each US$ 44,490.5 Mn by 2025, expanding at a CAGR of 5.5% from 2017 to 2025.

Market Insights

The global roofing underlayment market has witnessed a significant rise in strategic mergers and collaborations among roofing underlayment manufacturers. Such growth strategies are focused at augmenting their service portfolio. The demand for a variety of roofing underlying materials has started gaining strength. However, the market is on the brisk of a huge alteration as emerging economies such as Asia Pacific and Latin America are imposing most influential positions in the market. The booming construction sector and a constant rise in new construction activities in these emerging economies are mostly to be ascribed for the excellent growth prospects for roofing underlying materials in the regions. In North America and Europe, on the other hand, demand is mostly stimulated by refurbishing and maintenance activities.

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The non-residential sector is presently the largest contributor to the global roofing underlying materials market, accounting for a share of nearly 44% in the global market. The segment growth is expected to slow down to the residential sector with a slight decline in its overall share in the global market in 2025. Demand for a variety of roofing underlying materials in the commercial sector will be driven largely by continuous rise in replacement and maintenance activities post the recent economic downturn. Stabilizing economies are enabling the commercial sector to take up previously deferred replacement projects.

Asia Pacific held a dominant share of nearly 41% in the global roofing underlying materials market in 2016, mainly owing to the booming construction industry and constantly rising numbers of new homeowners in urban parts of the region. The market for roofing underlying materials is also expected to expand at the fastest pace in Asia Pacific as compared to other regional markets. In Latin America and the Middle East and Africa, the markets for roofing underlying materials will show strong growth and will benefit the most from developments in the residential construction sector.

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After Equifax, What Will Credit or Identity Monitoring Really Do For You?

It may not help as much as you think

Illustration: The Dallas Morning News/MCT/Getty Images
On the heels of the major security breach at Equifax, millions of Americans are considering signing up for identity and credit monitoring. Equifax is even offering its own version, called TrustedID Premier, for free to all U.S. consumers for a year.

Free credit and identity monitoring has become the salve that companies and government agencies dole out to consumers in the days after a security breach. When personnel records at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management were compromised in 2015, the government pledged three years of free identity monitoring to those affected.

But there hasn’t been much research to into whether these solutions are actually helpful, or if there are meaningful differences between the 60 or so companies that sell them. Little is known about the methods and algorithms that each company uses to search for stolen information on the dark web, for example, which makes it hard to compare them.

In March, the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a 70-page report [PDF] examining credit and identity monitoring services. Of identity monitoring, the report said “its effectiveness in mitigating identity theft is unclear.”

 “We didn’t get a lot of clarity in that space, in terms of how effective each individual entity offering these services might be,” says Lawrance Evans, a director for financial markets and community investment at the U.S. Government Accountability Office. “We got the sense there could be significant differences across service providers.”

Credit monitoring alerts consumers to any changes in their credit reports held by the three major U.S. credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Identity monitoring uses algorithms or other techniques to trawl websites for social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, and other information stolen from consumers.

In the case of identity monitoring, companies are trying to hit a moving target by scanning the dark web for websites known to deal in stolen identities. “The problem there is that nobody knows how many websites there are, and how many these companies are monitoring,” says Jeff Blyskal, a senior editor at Consumer Reports. “It’s kind of catch-as-catch-can, based on the technology.”

After a year, the services provided by Equifax will expire, and consumers affected in the latest breach will have to decide whether to pay fees to keep it. For consumers, identity and credit monitoring services typically cost between $5 and $30 a month. The GAO report noted that two of the largest providers claimed to have a combined total of 5.4 million customers in 2015. “Over the years, we’ve said that these services are not really worth it,” says Blyskal.

Aside from not being able to gauge their effectiveness, many consumers may be confused about what they are actually signing up for in the first place. The terms used by the industry can be confusing. To help, we asked Evans, Blyskal, and Jocelyn Baird, an associate editor at NextAdvisor.com, to help us dispel some common misconceptions about credit and identity monitoring:

Identity theft insurance will reimburse the money in your checking or retirement account when someone steals your identity and drains it.

In most cases, identity theft insurance does not cover direct financial losses that occur as a result of a stolen identity. Rather, it covers the costs of dealing with the problem and reclaiming your identity. This may include attorney’s fees, charges for photocopying or mailing paperwork, lost wages for any time you took off from work to solve the case, and the cost of a new passport.

Some companies, including Lifelock and Identity Guard, will reimburse customers for stolen funds up to a limit stated in their plan. Equifax’s TrustedID Premier plan that was offered to victims of its breach does not. If this is important to you, it’s best to check that it’s explicitly included in the plan when you sign up.  

And you probably don’t need buy a platinum $5 million identity theft insurance plan. The vast majority of identity theft insurance claims that customers file to cover the expenses of dealing with identity theft are for less than a thousand dollars. When companies or government agencies offer free $1 million and $5 million coverage to victims following a breach, those victims might as well sign up, but only a tiny fraction of the pledged coverage is likely to ever be used.  

Credit monitoring will stop a thief from racking up charges on my credit card.

Credit monitoring services sold in the U.S. generally keep an eye on your credit at three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. They are looking for updates from banks, credit card providers, or loan distributors that have opened a new line of credit in your name and reported that fact back to the bureau. They flag these instances so that a customer can review them and take action if they did not request new credit themselves.

But all of this applies only to new lines of credit. It has nothing to do with the accounts you currently hold, including credit cards, investment accounts, and bank accounts. Fraudulent charges to these accounts will not be noted by credit monitoring services, because there is no new line of credit required.

The good news is that many credit card providers excuse customers from paying fraudulent fees, and U.S. legislation also limits the amount a customer can be required to pay if fraudulent activity occurs in one of their accounts.   

I’m going to have to pay for credit or identity monitoring for the rest of my life.  

The best ways to protect yourself are things you can do for free or low cost, Baird says. Once a year, U.S. citizens can request a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus at annualcreditreport.com, and review it for any red flags. (A warning: I tried to check mine and received a notice that the site is experiencing a heavy volume of requests due to the Equifax hack, and told me to check back later).

Baird also recommends paying $5 to $10 fee to place a credit freeze on your report at each of the three bureaus, which will prevent the bureaus from sharing it with any creditor wishing to issue a line of credit in your name, until you unfreeze it.  And if you are a victim of identity theft, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has a website with step-by-step plans to help you restore your identity.

Blyskal also suggests putting a fraud alert on your credit report at all bureaus by contacting any one bureau. This requires any creditor attempting to issue credit in your name to contact you to verify your identity. The alert can be renewed every 90 days. Placing or renewing an alert also qualifies you for another free credit report from each agency, in addition to the one you can access through annualcreditreport.com. “You should never really pay for a credit report anymore,” he says.

Credit and identity monitoring protects me against identity theft.

Several types of identity theft and fraud are simply not captured by credit or identity monitoring services. These include tax refund fraud, in which a person uses your social security number to file taxes on your behalf and claim any refund. To prevent this, Baird recommends filing your 2017 taxes as early as possible.

These services also won’t capture medical fraud, in which someone files an insurance claim based on your information. And most services cannot alert you to payday loans that were taken out in your name.

And at the end of the day, even the best services can really only alert you that your information has been stolen or used. They can’t prevent the theft in the first place, or barge in and prosecute thieves on your behalf. “At best, it detects and alerts,” says Evans.

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