Best Identity Theft Protection Services (Pricing & Features)
Below is a side-by-side view of the 10 options in this review. Check out who offers the most sought-after features and tools, such as recovery and restoration and Web surveillance.
|Provider||Total Score||Price/mo||BBB Rating||Trial Period||Family Plan||Insurance Coverage||Recovery Assist||3-Bureau Checks||Mobile App||Credit Monitors||Dark Web Alerts||Best For|
|1. Life Lock||9.5/10||$9.99-$25.99||A-||Yes||No||$1 million||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Reliability|
|2. IdentityForce||9.3/10||$9.99-$18.99||A+||Yes||Yes||$1 million||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Service|
|3. Identity Guard||9.2/10||$6.67-$16.67||A+||Yes||Yes||$1 million||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Overall coverage|
|4. Complete ID||8.9/10||$8.99-$13.99||A+||Yes||Yes||$1 million||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Children|
|5. Privacy Guard||8.8/10||$9.99-$24.99||A+||Yes||Yes||$1 million||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Basics|
|6. Zander Insurance||8.7/10||$6.75-$12.90||A+||Yes||Yes||$1 million||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||Affordability|
|7. ID Shield||8.6/10||$12.95-$32.95||A+||No||Yes||$1 million||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Family|
|8. IDnotify||8.3/10||$9.99-$25.99||A+||Yes||Yes||$1 million||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||First year|
|9. AllClear ID||8.2/10||$10-$30||A+||Yes||No||$1 million||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Employers|
|10. ID Watchdog||8.2/10||$14.95-$19.95||A+||Yes||No||$1 million||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Resolution|
What Is Identity Theft Protection & How Does it Work?
Identity theft protection service refers to a few different tactics that keep consumers safe against criminals who want to pass as another person. There are methods for protecting Social Security numbers, insurance and credit info, and much more. Below, see a closer look at the specifics to these processes.
- Credit history updates
- Dark Web surveillance
- Financing monitoring
- Insurance policy protection
- Social Security safety
Professional vs. DIY Protection
While this review covers the expert identity theft protection providers, anyone can take action on their own to preserve their good standing with the credit bureaus. It turns out that a combination of pro service and self-monitoring can go a long way.
Expert identity theft protection service utilizes the latest technology and security measures to keep track of an individual’s records and financial data. A variety of plans appeal to different demographics, from children to parents to seniors and more.
- Covers all age groups
- Experts monitor suspicious changes in data
- Monthly or annual pricing
- Recovery assistance is available
- It's not 100% guaranteed
- Pricing varies widely
Some people choose the self-monitoring road, either because they can’t afford professionals or they don’t trust others with their info. Do-it-yourself tactics include checking in with the credit bureaus to track any changes and to review bank statements and summaries.
- Ability to grant permission to other authorities
- Free or low-cost
- Power is in the consumer's hands
- Variety of resources out there
- Easy to miss warning signs
- Individuals need to keep up with it themselves
How Consumers Can Protect Themselves Every Day
Whichever identity theft protection service a person chooses, they can always take action against danger themselves. Check out the following steps to understand how individuals can keep themselves safe every day. For instance, some of the best medical alert systems will automatically search for suspicious activity.
1. Take Advantage of Free Account Management From Banks and Credit Card Companies
It makes sense to have the experts take care of surveillance and monitoring. After all, it’s one less thing to worry about. Everyone with a bank account should check to see if their financial institution offers this assistance.
2. Decline Any Offers for Pre-Approval or Screening Processes
This is one of the telltale signs that the person or company is trying to scam others. Most people have gotten emails or letters stating that they’re pre-approved for a new credit card or account. Simply throw it away to avoid giving information to thieves.
3. Always Review Medical Documents, History, and Insurance Policies
It’s easy to assume that the info on the paper is correct, but without a good look, there’s always going to be doubted. Be sure to check the personal details that the doctor or insurance company has on hand for any errors.
4. Report Identity Theft Immediately and Go to Identitytheft.Gov for Free Recovery Assistance
Some people doubt themselves and waste valuable time putting the blame on something they did. There’s no time for that when identification is stolen. The first step is to report the crime immediately and put a freeze on accounts.
5. Contact the Three Major Credit Bureaus - Equifax, Experian & Transunion - to Freeze Your Credit
Getting in touch with all three of these bureaus will ensure that they all have the same details and can stop anyone from accessing the info. It is free to request a freeze, so don’t hesitate to call or email them.
What Protection Companies Do
Before choosing a provider, individuals should know what identity theft protection services do. It turns out that expert help might not be necessary, but it depends on the person.
1. Credit & File Monitoring: Spots Suspicious Activity
For those who don’t know how to keep track of their financial documents (or don’t want to), these services can do it for them. Experts will look over credit data and files to spot any odd changes and then notify the client immediately.
2. Get A Warning Email or Text: Faster Action & Recovery
The minute that the provider sees something fishy going on, they will send a notification, either through email, text, or phone call. This eliminates the need for people to self-check, which is why these services are so convenient.
3. Assistance With Recovery of Data & Information: A Step-by-Step Action Plan
In case something bad does happen, these providers are there to offer a way to recover the data and any financial losses, if possible. Lots of companies offer policies up to $1 million, so there’s a good chance much of the damage can be undone.
Identity Theft Examples
The bad news is that ID thieves have multiple ways of ruining lives. The good news is that many identity theft protection services are aware of these tactics and safeguard against them. It is not enough to check a credit report every month. Rather, companies and their clients need to be aware of the different ways that their identification can be at risk.
For instance, an upstanding citizen could have their name spat upon when a criminal uses it when they’re arrested. In other words, if someone steals a driver’s license or gets ahold of an SSN, there’s no knowing what they’ll do with it. Other forms of thievery include stealing financial info and account numbers or getting somebody’s prescription details so they can fill their own drug cabinet. These kinds of crimes happen at all stages of life, too, so everyone from kids to seniors is at risk.
- Criminal: a felon uses someone else’s ID, blaming them for the crime
- Financial: a hacker gets into someone’s bank account to make large purchases
- Medical: a person utilizes somebody else’s insurance card to access prescription drugs
- Social Security: thieves can use a person’s SSN or card to open fraudulent lines of credit
Features of the Best Theft Protection Services
While different identity theft protection companies can focus on specific demographics or services, they share many of the same features. For instance, most of them offer plans and policies for a variety of ages, from kids to the elderly. Plus, the monitoring methods can be as basic or advanced as the customer wants.
Other common tools include regular reports on credit usage and scores, changes in the cardholder’s address, as well as routine checks for their name across the Dark Web. Furthermore, clients can take advantage of recovery policies that cover damages and stolen funds, often up to $1 million.
- Basic and advanced options
- Dark Web surveillance
- Insurance policies for recovery
- Regular credit reports and scores
- Replacement of stolen money
- Safeguard against child ID theft
- Social Security monitoring
- Update changes of address
Identity Theft Protection For…
As mentioned above, there are identity theft protection services for just about every demographic, from the young to the old and rural and urban clients. Not only that, but family plans and even policies specifically for couples or military service members are also available.
A family plan can be great for parents who want to ensure that everyone is safe from hackers and thieves. There are many businesses out there that offer insurance coverage for families, often at discounted rates. Why is this so important? These days, every member of the family is perusing the Internet all day, every day. That means more opportunities for hackers to get their hands on sensitive information.
- Even more important in today’s cyber-connected world
- Protect kids and parents
- Sometimes offered through employers
- Starts at just a few dollars per month
Child Protection Policies
It’s easy for adults to feel like their details and information is vulnerable, but they are less likely to feel that way about their kids. It turns out that ID thieves can attack a child’s info just as well. Why do they do this? They can use that stolen data to open a fraudulent account, access bank statements and medical records, apply for a loan, or receive government benefits. Never take a kid’s Social Security number for granted.
- Gives parents added peace of mind
- Prevents poor credit scores upon reaching adulthood
- Protects children when they can’t look out for themselves
Recovery Insurance for Spouses
Every single person on the planet has an SSN, and that means that they are prone to having their identity stolen. Just as someone may want to protect their kids, they may also want to ensure the safety of their spouse. It makes sense to sign up for alerts on everyone’s credit files. Moreover, a spouse could become a victim of their own partner’s greed. It sounds like something out of a bad movie, but a husband could steal the identity of his wife and vice versa.
- A safety precaution against ill-willed partners
- Helps in cases of divorce
Assistance for the Elderly
Unfortunately, the threat of identity theft is something that people don’t outgrow, even as they become seniors. Protecting elderly individuals can be a bit more difficult since they probably don’t have the same Internet etiquette and technological knowledge as younger folks. That makes it all the more crucial to place alerts and monitors on their credit usage. Just because they’re older, that doesn’t mean senior citizens aren’t prone to their SSNs being used on the black market or for taking out fake loans.
- It’s easy to fool seniors into handing over money
- Scammers are adept at pretending to be grandkids
Coverage for Commercial Clients
Small business owners are another demographic that needs to worry about shielding themselves from hackers and ID thieves. Since entrepreneurs are so busy, they can’t always opt for the self-monitoring route. That makes a professional service all the more crucial. These providers can keep up with the company’s credit reports and files to spot any anomalies or atypical activity. It could be the difference between healthy biz and losing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Added protection for self-employed people
- Helpful for those who can’t access policy via an employer
Deals for Active Military & Veterans
Those who serve (or have served) in the Armed Forces are making the ultimate sacrifice and putting their lives on the line. It’s sad to think that they would be the victims of identity theft, and yet it’s something that protection companies see every day. Hackers can steal their Social Security number and use it to get benefits and services from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Alternatively, there are instances in which there may be a data breach within the military itself, causing tons of data and secured information to be leaked.
- Particularly useful for older vets
- Secures benefits that veterans are entitled to
Policies for After Death
Some people might not realize that the deceased can still be victims of identity theft. While most of the time, this occurs as a mistake, it still makes it possible for thieves to utilize a dead person’s Social Security number for their gain. This is referred to as ghosting and can go on for months before credit bureaus and agencies become keen to the theft. Try contacting Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion upon the passing of a loved one.
- Hard to catch early on
- This is an under-the-radar form of thievery
How to Choose the Best
It’s no secret that there are dozens of identity theft protection services to choose from. They all seem the same on the surface, but there are a few things that separate the good from the great.
Credit Checks With All 3 Bureaus
Some providers only check with one credit bureau, and it may not even be one of the big three: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. It's critical to get monitored by each of them because something might slip through the cracks. Checking in with multiple agencies ensures more solid coverage and security measures.
Online Black Market Surveillance
Fortunately, most companies these days are privy to offline and online threats. This is imperative since scammers are coming up with craftier ways to steal identities and open fraudulent accounts. Some modern perks that stand out include secure mobile keyboards, safe browsing extensions, social media checks, and protection apps for clients.
Speaking of mobile applications, agencies these days need to meet clients where they're at, and that's usually online. Gone are the days when consumers were constantly checking their email. Today, people want fast reports through push notifications or text messages. Also, customer service agents must be available via multiple channels.
Recovery & Restoration Support
Part of quality identity protection services involves assisting individuals when their financial reputation is compromised. While this is a last resort, it still matters and can be the difference between ruined credit and recovery. Look for a company that helps with reimbursement of stolen funds as well as a proactive response to hard inquiries and high-risk transactions.
The majority of the examples in this review offer identity theft insurance policies, often up to $1 million. This helps clients who become victims of a stolen ID, fraudulent accounts in their name, and more. The plans assist with things like attorney fees, re-applying for loans, notarizing official documents, and much more.
It is wise to read reviews before committing to a provider. Moreover, look for previous or current clients who are in the same shoes, as this gives a better idea of what the experience will be like. For instance, a family doesn't want to read the feedback on an individual plan since it doesn't apply to them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Provides the Best Protection Against Identity Theft?
The primary things to look for include ample coverage and security on multiple accounts. This means protection for credit scores and financial applications, Social Security numbers, bank statements and accounts, and public records. It’s also a good idea to find a supplier who offers restoration and resolution services in case a person’s identity is compromised or stolen. This would entail freezing credit, correcting reports, and reimbursing clients for lost funds.
What is Identity Theft Protection Insurance?
This insurance is legal security against scammers or frauds who attempt to use another person’s name. These criminals might utilize that stolen ID to take out a loan, make a payment, steal employee benefits, and much more. With an insured policy, consumers have the added protection and support of a team of agents.
What is the Best Identity Protection Product?
This depends on what the particular person needs. Families are going to have different requirements compared to young adults or senior citizens applying for an individual plan. Even so, some ideas on what to look for include online and offline monitoring of financial accounts, SSN usage tracking, Dark Web surveillance, and inclusion of children on the policy, if necessary.
How Can I Protect My Identity For Free?
For one thing, never hold a Social Security card out in the open. Most people don’t even need to have it in their wallet and can instead keep it safe at home. Also, be stingy with personal information like bank details. When disposing of physical mail, shred it to avoid it being stolen out of the trash by savvy criminals. Regularly check credit scores and bank statements, so it’s easier to spot suspicious activity.
How Can I Find Out If Someone is Using My Identity?
Start by requesting regular credit reports. Each bureau can grant one free report to individuals per year. Review it and stay aware of any loan application denials or hard inquiries, as these may mean that someone else is utilizing the ID. Study monthly bank statements and credit card accounts to see every purchase and where it took place. Anything that looks unfamiliar warrants a phone call to the bureau or financial institution.
What Are the 5 Most Common Types of Identity Theft?
The first one is criminal ID theft, in which an individual uses someone else’s name upon getting arrested. The police will have the wrong identity, and that poor soul will have a strike against their permanent record. The second is a person’s driver’s license, which highlights info like name, address, and birth date. Financial ID entails somebody accessing another person’s identity to do something like make payments or apply for a mortgage. Medical ID occurs when someone uses a person’s prescription drug or HMO card to receive benefits or coverage. Social Security is the fifth and worst form of theft because criminals can use an SSN to carry out large and detrimental monetary actions, like taking out a loan.
Stable Solutions to Real Threats
Experiencing this problem can halt one’s credit or ruin it all together, making the next few years of their life a huge struggle. Consider this review and take the time to invest in some self-security. Even the most careful individuals can find themselves in this situation, so never underestimate the power of a stable ID theft insurance policy.