Best Free Identity Theft Protection Services of 2021

As if personal finances weren’t stressful enough, there’s always the risk that someone could be using another person’s name and information to commit crimes, make large purchases, or altogether ruin their financial stability. Fortunately, there are different ways to track this illegal activity and maintain safe records and accounts. Individuals should check out these best free identity theft protection services of 2021 to feel more confident about their safety.

Brad Smith

Brad Smith - Editorial Staff

Updated: April 20, 2021

What We Did to Find the Best

To find the best identity theft protection programs, we first determined the key features that consumers need. Then, we looked at the different brands out there and assigned a grade from zero to 10 for each metric. This gave us a summary of the average values and how well the providers performed. The top ones made the list of free identity theft protection.

  • Features

    0-10

    monitoring period, 24/7 alerts, disaster protection etc.

  • Support

    0-10

    telephone, email, chat, and other channels

  • Price

    0-10

    monthly fee, money-back, trial period

  • Ease of Use

    0-10

    installation, maintenance, service support

  • Trust Score

    0-10

    BBB.org and Trustpilot (positive, negative reviews)

This list took time to compile, but it was well worth it. By sifting through client feedback, technical reviews, and the fine print of each company, it’s safe to say that these are the top contenders.

1. TransUnion: It's Got You Covered

Total Score 9.6/10

TrustUnion Main
TrustUnion Consumer Assistance
  • Features9.0/10
  • Equipment9.5/10
  • Price10/10
  • Ease Of Use9.5/10
  • Trust Score10/10

Starting Price

Free

Visit Website
Best For Beginners

DIY instal

NO

Trial Period

No

TransUnion’s no-cost TrueIdentity tool helps customers stay up-to-date on their credit reports. It also comes with an insurance policy of up to $25,000 should fraud occur. This is an ideal choice for those who want a no-cost solution that provides monitoring, security alerts, and credit locks. This complimentary service consistently refreshes so clients can get real-time information at any time.

The TransUnion website is full of resources and quick answers for those burning financial questions. For example, visitors can learn how to handle inaccuracies on their credit reports, how their score is calculated, and what factors benefit and deter that number.

TransUnion’s reputation is strong. Its clientele includes over 65,000 businesses, not to mention personal customers. People come to this company for credit reports and advice on how to improve their financial privacy.

Pros:

  • 24/7 notifications
  • $25,000 policy
  • Always available at no cost
  • Educational resources
  • ID verification
  • Lock/freeze options
  • Real-time updates

Cons:

  • Doesn't cover the other two bureaus (Equifax & Experian)

Even though this doesn’t gather details and scores from the other two major bureaus (Equifax and Experian), clients are still getting valuable insights from TransUnion. The ability to get this kind of knowledge at no cost means that people from disadvantaged households have a better chance of building up good credit or fixing past errors.

Plus, even if they forget, they can set up custom notifications at the start, so they receive monthly updates. The educational tools on the website are useful for learning about how to calculate scores, which purchases affect the scoring, and why routine monitoring is important.


2. Credit Sesame: Hassle-Free Monitoring

Total Score 9.5/10

Credit Sesam Main
Credit Sesam How it Works
  • Features8.5/10
  • Equipment9.5/10
  • Price10/10
  • Ease Of Use9.5/10
  • Trust Score10/10

Starting Price

Free

Visit Website
Best For Individuals

DIY instal

NO

Trial Period

No

Credit Sesame provides some of the best identity theft protection and a $50,000 insured policy on the basic plan. Moreover, premium tools are available to those who want them. They will cost extra but could be well worth it. For example, the reimbursement policy goes up to $1 million on the higher-tiered packages. Either way, this is a trusted brand that helps people take their financial situation into their hands.

Other perks include daily monitors, restoration specialists, live access to customer support, and monthly score updates. New clients don’t have to enter their card information to get started either. Credit Sesame’s strength lies in its loan help and alerts. It monitors billions of dollars in loans.

Pros:

  • $50,000 insured polic
  • Daily monitoring
  • Live access to restoration specialists
  • Monthly score updates
  • No payment required
  • Premium tools available
  • Trusted brand

Cons:

  • More suited to individuals
  • Scores come from TransUnion only
  • The unpaid plan lacks many features

Even the paid features come at a decent price point, considering there are lots of competitors out there. For those who want to go the no-cost route, they can count on monthly check-ins from TransUnion as well as routine notifications on their scores. This way, they can see if any unusual activity is going on under their name or with their debit card. W

hen customers are ready to take the plunge and get mortgages or apply for loans, this provider is there to assist. There are refinancing and home-buying tips on the website to guide consumers in the right direction.

Top 6 Identity Theft Protection Services

While it’s great to start with a no-cost monitoring solution, over time, people need additional coverage. The following best identity theft protection providers offer paid assistance, but in many cases, a trial period is available. That way, consumers can give them a try and determine which is the best for their specific needs and circumstances.


1. ADT Identity Protection: Home & Personal Financial Security

Total Score 9.4/10

ADT Main
ADT Features
ADT Features
  • Features8.5/10
  • Equipment9.5/10
  • Price10/10
  • Ease Of Use10/10
  • Trust Score9.0/10

Starting Price

$9.99

Visit Website
Best For Budgets

DIY instal

NO

Trial Period

No

ADT may be known for home security, but it also helps consumers by providing some of the best identity theft protection out there. The brand offers 24/7 monitoring for bank loans and cards, social security numbers, driver’s licenses, passports, email addresses, phone numbers, medical IDs, and more. It also accesses public and court records to check if any crimes were committed under the client’s name.

Plus, it’s affordable and starts at just $10 per month with no long-term contracts. Another cool feature is the sleek mobile app and visual dashboards, which send instant notifications. ADT also boasts a $1 million stolen funds policy and professional resolution assistance.

Pros:

  • 24/7 support
  • Affordable
  • Instant notifications
  • Mobile app
  • Online dashboard
  • Resolution assistance
  • Social network tracking

Cons:

  • Experian reports only
  • No refund guarantees
  • Unclear pricing

ADT is already a leader in digital surveillance, so it makes sense that its protective services expand to bank cards and financial accounts. Besides providing clients with their annual credit reports, ADT also delivers scores every 30 days. It will send notifications when new accounts or loans open under the customer’s name. It also scours the Dark Web to make sure that names aren’t being used falsely or being sold online.

The company also has a dedicated resolutions team department to help people get out of a tight spot. The user dashboard is comprehensive and gives users an overview of their personal information, records, history, and other data points. A downside here is that it’s hard to find pricing info. All the website says is that plans start at $9.99 per month.


2. ID Watchdog: Recovery Assistance At Its Finest

Total Score 9.3/10

ID Watchdog Main
ID Watchdog About Us
ID Watchdog Price
  • Features10/10
  • Equipment9.0/10
  • Price8.0/10
  • Ease Of Use9.5/10
  • Trust Score10/10

Starting Price

$14.95

Visit Website
Best For ID Restoration

DIY instal

NO

Trial Period

30 days

ID Watchdog specializes in recovery assistance and has a 100% resolution guarantee. It also boasts a team of Certified Risk Management Specialists. Its identity theft insurance policy covers up to $1 million, although limitations apply and depend on the customer’s chosen bundle.

Those who want to try out the company can take advantage of a 30-day trial. If they decide to sign up, they should know that the base package doesn’t come with routine credit score checks.

On the other hand, consumers might appreciate that ID Watchdog is an Equifax company, which means that it has close ties to one of the major bureaus. ID Watchdog has received several national awards for its outstanding service and support. Plus, its agents are available to talk over the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Pros:

  • Benefits for employers
  • Child credit lock
  • Educational resources
  • Monitors high-risk transactions
  • Social network warnings
  • Support 365 days a year
  • Watches subprime loans

Cons:

  • Can get expensive for families
  • Clients need the top package for three-bureau reporting
  • No senior-specific features

It’s great that this company offers individual and family plans. That said, the larger the family and the higher the package, the more the expenses add up. Also, parents and employers are most likely to benefit from this provider. There are advantages for workplaces that offer Identityguard, and parents can lock their children’s credit with the push of a button.

It would be nice if there were senior-specific features as well since older adults are much more likely to fall for scams. Fortunately, this brand has expertise in ID restoration and risk resolution management.


3. EverSafe: Analyze, Identify, Resolve

Total Score 9.3/10

EverSafe Main
EverSafe Who We Serve
  • Features10/10
  • Equipment8.0/10
  • Price9.0/10
  • Ease Of Use9.5/10
  • Trust Score10/10

Starting Price

$7.49

Visit Website
Best for Couples

DIY instal

NO

Trial Period

30 days

EverSafe’s identity protection service is unique in that it learns clients’ routine buying habits and regular bank transactions so it can spot when something is amiss. In that case, it sends immediate notifications via its mobile app as well as email and telephone. EverSafe watches over bank, credit, and investment accounts and has a clear user dashboard with visuals.

It also offers spousal coverage and special assistance for kids & seniors. This is a great move by the company, especially considering that older adults are susceptible to scams over the phone or the Internet. While it does have limited features on the basic plan, the prices are on par with rivals. That said, for triple-bureau coverage, clients need the top-tier bundle.

Pros:

  • "An Extra Set of Eyes" feature
  • Clear dashboard with visuals
  • Dedicated mobile app
  • Recognizes irregular transactions
  • Special assistance for kids & seniors
  • Spousal coverag
  • Watches bank & investment accounts

Cons:

  • Credit scores on higher plans only
  • Extra cost to monitor real estate
  • Limited features on the basic plan

EverSafe has been recommended by AARP, Consumer Reports, NPR, and others. One of its most unique tools is “An Extra Set of Eyes”. This allows users to designate a relative or financial professional to log into their accounts on their behalf. It’s an interesting strategy that’s hard to find among other providers.

EverSafe can even monitor real estate properties, but this costs extra. Its learning system soaks up information like a sponge, helping users to manage their personal finances on-the-go.


4. IdentityForce: Well-Rounded Financial Security

Total Score 9.2/10

IdentityForce Main
IdentityForce Products Price v2
IdentityForce Products Price
  • Features9.5/10
  • Equipment8.5/10
  • Price9.0/10
  • Ease Of Use9.0/10
  • Trust Score10/10

Starting Price

$14.99

Best For Complete Coverage

DIY instal

NO

Trial Period

14 days

This business is known for offering some of the best identity theft protection. There are two distinct plans to choose from, but before that, consumers can try the 14-day trial. The UltraSecure bundle includes all of the monitoring people need. The UltraSecure + Credit package adds monthly reports for an extra five dollars per month. Once clients sign up, the user dashboard has intuitive visuals so clients can track their progress over time.

The provider checks things like public documents, address changes, court records, applications for loans, as well as the Internet’s black market. All of these precautions ensure that customers get alerted of any fraud attempts right away. Along with acquisition with EZShield, the company advises consumers about bank cards, fraud alerts, and more.

Pros:

  • Checks in with all three bureaus
  • Easy-to-read visuals
  • Highly functional mobile app
  • Medical ID fraud prevention
  • Mobile attack control
  • Social media tracking
  • Toll-free customer support

Cons:

  • Money-back guarantee issues
  • No credit monitoring on the lower plan
  • Not the cheapest option

Customers can set up custom notifications and reminders, so they’re always in the loop when it comes to their personal information and finances. This is also one of the few providers that work with two-factor authentication. It also takes a look at social media data to ensure that their clients’ names aren’t being dragged through the mud.

The company has a sleek mobile app that makes it easy to check in on credit history and updates, as well as simulate scores based on potential actions. It’s worth noting that several people have cited issues with the money-back guarantee. It looks like the company charges clients before the trial.


5. IdentityGuard: Flexing the Power of AI

Total Score 9.2/10

Identity Guard Review
Identity Guard Plans Family
Identity Guard Plans
  • Features10/10
  • Equipment8.0/10
  • Price9.0/10
  • Ease Of Use9.0/10
  • Trust Score10/10

Starting Price

$6.67

Best For Families

DIY instal

NO

Trial Period

30 days

This identity protection service utilizes IBM’s Watson AI to put fraudulent activity on lockdown. This impressive artificial intelligence accumulates knowledge as it researches scams and other online data. Plus, it gains new insights and expands its reach as time goes on. As of early 2021, the technology can scour social media, dates of birth, SSNs, and much more.

The brand also provides clear information on what customers can expect from their bundles, including coverage terms, and guarantees. To be fair, the base plan does not come with monitoring, so consumers will most likely have to go for the $13-a-month bundle. Still, this price is on-par or better than many competitors.

Pros:

  • Dedicated case managers
  • Generous reimbursement policy
  • IBM Watson AI
  • Individual and family bundles
  • Mobile app
  • Risk management score
  • Safe browsing tools

Cons:

  • Among the most expensive family choices
  • Monthly subscriptions aren't eligible for refunds
  • No reports on the base plan

The company is a subsidiary of Intersections, Inc. It has received consecutive awards in the Online Trust Audit and Honor Roll by the Online Trust Alliance. Even so, potential customers should be careful to read the fine print. For instance, monthly scores are only available on the higher plans. Also, three-bureau reports are included in just the top-tier package.

Moreover, those who opt for a month-to-month payment cycle are not eligible for refunds. On the other hand, this brand has a lot to offer. Families that want to keep everyone protected can get adequate coverage here. There are even anti-cyberbullying initiatives that come with all of the family bundles.


6. LifeLock: Protect Yourself With Confidence

Total Score 9.0/10

Lifelock Reviews
LifeLock Identity Theft Protection
LifeLock Identity Theft
  • Features10/10
  • Equipment9.0/10
  • Price9.0/10
  • Ease Of Use9.0/10
  • Trust Score8.0/10

Starting Price

$9.99

Best For Caretakers

DIY instal

NO

Trial Period

60 days

LifeLock is now a subsidiary of Symantec. While it had a spotty history and dealt with Federal Trade Commission investigations in the past, it is moving forward. That said, the F rating with the BBB continues to haunt the company. Putting that aside, LifeLock offers insurance terms, social security number tracing, and much more.

A unique feature is LifeLock Junior & Senior, which protects kids and older adults, respectively. These two age groups are highly susceptible to hackers and online scammers. Kids are simply oblivious, while seniors can get pulled in by sob stories or because of their memory loss.

LifeLock also provides reports and scores, as well as privacy alerts in conjunction with TransUnion. Despite allegations of false terms, the company has since turned things around.

Pros:

  • Availability of plans
  • Investment account warnings
  • LifeLock Junior & Senior
  • Monitors crime records
  • Monthly credit scores from Experian
  • SSN tracing
  • Tracks card usage online and in-person

Cons:

  • English-only support
  • Poor ratings with the BBB
  • The lower packages only check in with one bureau

Given the range of bundles and the focus on family affairs, this is a good choice for caretakers and parents. They can monitor their scores monthly with updates from Experian and enjoy the assurance of reimbursement policies ranging from $25,000 to $1 million. With the more expensive package, customers can get reports from all three bureaus annually.

Moreover, LifeLock has trained ID restoration specialists, and they look at the person’s card usage on the Internet as well as in physical locations. Any new or unusual activity shows up on the notifications. They also monitor crime records, investment account, applications for loans, and more.


Best Free Identity Theft Protection Services of 2021 (Pricing & Features)

Below is a convenient side-by-side glance at the no-cost and paid services. Buyers can check out which brand has the must-have tools that they and their families need.

Provider Total Score Monthly Fee BBB Rating Trial Period Custom Alerts Dark Web Surveillance Family Plan ID Restoration Insurance Coverage Money-Back Guarantee SSN Tracing
TransUnion 9.6 $0 – $29.95 A+ Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Credit Sesam 9.5 $0 – $19.95 A+ No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes
ADT 9.4 $9.99+ B+ No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes
ID Watchdog 9.3 $14.95 – $34.95 A+ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
EverSafe 9.3 $7.49 – $24.99 A+ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
IdentityForce 9.2 $14.99 – $19.99 A+ Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
IdentityGuard 9.2 $6.67 – $23.33 A+ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
LifeLock 9 $9.99 – $26.99 F Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Where to Find Free Protection

Whether it’s their first time shopping around for identity protection services or they want to reevaluate their package, then here are some of the most common places to turn to. It’s always a good idea to check out these resources first because they may offer no-cost or reduced-fee options.

  • AARP (and related organizations)
  • Banks
  • Credit card companies
  • Credit unions
  • Employers (benefits plans
  • Homeowners/renters insurance

Identity Theft Shopping Factors

Before making a final decision, it’s good to know what to consider when shopping for coverage. Just because it’s a recognizable name, doesn’t mean the services are suited to a shopper’s personal needs.

Credit Monitoring With All Three Bureaus

Some of the options on this list only work with one or two of the major bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion). It's always nice to get reports from all three, so people have a clearer picture of their finances and safety.

Insurance Policy Reimbursement

Just about every provider offers some kind of identity theft insurance, although the amount varies. What this means is that if a client's ID is stolen and used to commit a crime, apply for a loan, or make a large purchase, the customer is covered.

Black Market Surveillance

Also known as the "Dark Web," this is the mysterious part of the Internet where hackers leak consumer info and payment details. They also sell it online, so they make money off of the victim’s information.

Advice & Resources

Be sure to go to the company's website and check out any additional educational resources or advice they may have. Perhaps there is a blog, help center, or community forum with the info consumers could use.

ID Restorative Assistance

This is a must-have because it pairs clients up with trained resolution specialists who can work are repairing their credit and getting their accounts back in order after they become a victim to ID theft or fraud.

User Dashboard & Mobile Accessibility

Some of the brands above offer convenient interfaces and dashboards that make it easy to see visual representations of their money and accounts. Mobile access is another must-have so people can manage their records from anywhere.

Variety of Bundles

Depending on the customer, they may prefer a family plan, coverage for their kids or aging parents, or even a spousal match guarantee. Clients should be sure to check their options to see which company offers the most benefits for their life circumstances.

ID Recovery Efforts

Proper identity theft insurance typically includes this feature, which strives to reclaim the client's power and get their documents and forms of ID back in order after becoming victim to fraud.

No-Cost Strategies to Protect Your ID

Some people don’t realize that before they purchase a package from a company, they can take advantage of free identity theft protection. Here are ways people can protect themselves now.

Safeguard Phones & Laptops

Each mobile device a person owns contains a treasure trove of details and data about their identification, money, family, and more. To stay safe, only trust websites that start with https, and use secure, unique passwords for each log-in account. Also, remember that banks and other financial institutions typically don’t ask for passwords via email.

Set Up Free Fraud Alerts

Individuals can place the power in their hands as long as they’re proactive about it. One thing they can do today is to place notifications on their accounts and other important documentation. That way, if something unusual does show up (such as a purchase in a faraway location), they will receive the news immediately. These alerts can work on mobile as well as via telephone and email.

Double-Check Reports for Errors

Nobody’s perfect, and even the big bureaus make mistakes sometimes. This is why people should double-check their scores and reports for any errors. They should look over hard inquiries and other actions, so they’re positive they’re true.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Do Identity Theft Protection Companies Do?

    Just as the name suggests, these businesses protect consumers from having their identities taken from them. By regularly checking up on credit scores, reports, and history, these programs can analyze the client’s patterns and determine if something is amiss. If that is the case, instant notifications go out to the customer, so they can speak to a trained professional and take steps to remedy the situation.

    Another component of these companies is their restoration efforts. For example, if someone does become a victim of theft or fraud, the experts will do their best to reimburse the individual and clear the derogatory marks off of their accounts.

  • How Can Someone Get Identity Theft Insurance?

    People who are uninsured and want coverage can check out any of the brands on this list. Before they do that, though, they may want to try some of the no-cost tips mentioned above. For instance, if they own a home or rent a property, then their homeowners/renters insurance might offer ID theft coverage.

    If not, they can add it to their existing policy or purchase a separate plan. Something to keep in mind is that different plans have varying rates as well as differences in reimbursement amounts. It’s best to check over the options and speak with a financial planner or expert about which package is most suited to specific circumstances and needs.

  • What Does Identity Theft Insurance Usually Cover?

    This is a great question. Identity theft insurance can cover a range of personal accounts as well as help out with reimbursing the individual who suffered from fraud or theft. More specifically, this type of coverage usually entails a repayment to the victim for the monetary charges they faced after finding out about the theft.

    Examples of this include phone bills, transportation, child care costs, legal and notary fees, mailing expenses, and copies of documents.

  • How Does One Claim Identity Theft?

    1. First, they have to find out about the crime. That’s why they should consistently check on their accounts and finances.
    2. Once they spot the offense, they can report it to IdentityTheft.gov. From there, they can follow the prompts on the website for filling out a form and finding a suitable recovery plan for their situation.
    3. Secondary steps include contacting the businesses where the fraud occurred, placing freezes on all accounts, obtaining an up-to-date credit report, and notifying the Federal Trade Commission.

  • What Happens When Filing a Police Report for Identity Theft?

    According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers should file with the police once they are certain that ID theft has taken place.

    1. In that case, the next steps are to notify IdentityTheft.gov and then to take additional measures by contacting the police.
    2. At this point, the officers will take the victims’ statements and attach the FTC documents to the report
    3. Victims should bring any proof they have, too. This is a smart move because it adds more verification to their statement in case the criminal tries to accuse the victim.

It's Never a Bad Time to Get Coverage

Regardless of where they are in their lives and finances, it’s never a bad time for people to look into these services. Companies today offer bundles for all backgrounds, ages, and stages of financial stability. Plus, several no-cost options, like the ones in this list, can give them a head-start.

The most important thing is to be prepared and informed so that they’re not an easy target for Internet hackers and scammers. When in doubt, give these businesses a peek and see how they may ease worries.


Brad Smith

Editorial Staff

Brad has worked as a sales manager in the security sector for 10 years. He is curious, attentive to details, and hard-working. He has dedicated several years to helping customers with their safety and protection. His background has helped Brad to write comprehensive security and life safety materials, which he has been writing for about 4 years. Brad has contributed work to The Washington Post, DailyJournal, Los Angeles Times, and many others.


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