Protecting yourself from identity theft starts at home, and the first step is to secure your own computer and the personal data it holds. Identity Finder Free is a powerful tool that scans your PC for unsecured passwords, credit card numbers, and other personal data and gives you the option to shred, secure, recycle, or ignore the scan's findings. It's free to home users on their personal systems. The full version searches for more data and also searches e-mail, compressed files, and removable drives, offers advanced options, and disables ads.
Identity Finder Free's installation wizard includes the option to register the program or continue with the freeware; we selected the free version. Identity Finder's Office-style interface fits in well with business environments, too, thanks to its Identity Finder Button, ribbon-style toolbar, and light blue background.
We started our search using the default settings. Identity Finder Free scanned 2,422 files and found 15 identity matches, displaying all the results with details in the list view and in a pop-up summary. None of the matches was a credit card number. All of the matches were passwords, but none were unsecured, current passwords from programs such as Web browsers; all 15 were software trial log-ons in archived Word documents, and none needed securing. Since they weren't important, we tried some of Identity Finder Free's tricks on them anyway.
We could secure flagged files with passwords and encryption or shred, recycle, or skip them. Shredding destroys the data, but the recycle feature just sends the item to the Recycle Bin. That's a wide step since you can recover data from the Recycle Bin but not from a proper shredding. Identity Finder Free also filters results for various data types as well as for Australian, Canadian, and U.K. factors (for example, NHS numbers in Britain).
Identity Finder Free packs in some extra tools, too, such as the Password Vault, File Vault, File Shredder, System Cleanup, and Browser Security. The System Cleanup tool scours your caches, histories, and temporary file repositories; regular use can help make Identity Finder Free's job easier. And if you run Identity Finder Free and it finds nothing amiss, you're doing something right already.