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|
|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)
- 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.
Receiving a request such as that could point to a likely scam.
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.
A bonus tip is to check in with one bureau at a time since they can get a no-cost annual report with them each annually. If they space it out, they're checking on their records once every four months.
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?
- First, they have to find out about the crime. That’s why they should consistently check on their accounts and finances.
- 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.
- 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.
- In that case, the next steps are to notify IdentityTheft.gov and then to take additional measures by contacting the police.
- At this point, the officers will take the victims’ statements and attach the FTC documents to the report
- 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.