As promised, Sony now offers PlayStation Network users free identity theft protection. PlayStation Network users began to report Wednesday they've received e-mails instructing them to submit information to apply for the service.
The "AllClear ID Plus" service is being offered through Austin, Texas-based Debix, and it's open to PlayStation Network and Qriocity account holders in the United States who had active accounts as of April 20, 2011.
In April, Sony shut down access to the PlayStation Network, Qriocity and, later, Sony Online Entertainment servers after it discovered the services had been hacked and the personal information of more than 100 million account holders had been taken. There was a fear at the time that credit card numbers may have been compromised. That's turned out to be mostly false, though it appears a small number of credit card accounts associated with non-US account holders may have been taken from SOE's servers.
In making restitution for gamers affected by the weeks-long outage, Sony has pledged to give PlayStation users access to its PlayStation Store to download free games. The PlayStation Store is currently offline, though expected to be resurrected before the end of the month. Sony also promised to provide PSN account holders with identity theft protection.
Enrollment in Debix's AllClear ID Plus program is not mandatory for PSN account holders, but there is a finite time limit - you must have had an active account as of April 20, 2011, and you must enroll by the end of the day on June 28, 2011, Central Standard Time. This is actually 10 days later than what Sony originally specified, but Sony outlined plans to offer the identity theft protection before the full extent of the network intrusion was known. It took Sony longer than it expected to get PlayStation Network back online.
You'll also need to use the same e-mail address you used to register your PSN or Qriocity account. Debix's plan for Sony customers is good for one year of coverage. Following instructions on Sony's Web site, PSN and Qriocity account holders submit their e-mail addresses and are told to wait up to 72 hours for verification and receipt of a code that will enable them to enroll in Debix's service.
Debix offers free and pay-to-play identity theft protection in addition to the "Plus" program, which appears to be especially targeted to Sony customers. According to a Web site operated by Debix, the AllClear ID Plus plan includes monitoring and Internet surveillance to make sure your information isn't being used; ID attack reporting, the ability to take action using a secure voice key via telephone; direction connection with an OnCall investigator; priority "identity repair service," and $1,000,000 in ID theft insurance, which provides coverage for lost wages, fraud and "certain fees" associated with identity theft.
This is not the first time Sony has partnered with Debix. In 2009, the company teamed up with the theft ID insurance company to provide coverage for about 5,200 users affected by a credit card scam associated with the Sony Rewards Network program.