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Last updated on Apr 06, 2020

The Best Identity Theft Protection Services

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How We Found the Best Identity Theft Protection Services

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8 companies evaluated

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10 experts consulted

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5 top picks

What is Identity Theft? 

Identity theft monitoring is a serious issue in today’s digital age. A recent survey by FinanceBuzz shows that 36% of Americans have never used a credit monitoring service, and 34% never requested a free copy of their credit report. Worse, more than two-thirds of people have never frozen their credit reports, which could be a reason why more and more people are looking to identity theft protection services to keep their most personal data safe from the wrong hands.

Not everyone knows exactly what an identity theft protection service does.  It can be an enormous help in preventing identity theft, working as an around-the-clock partner in protecting your personal information.

Ken Rupert, the author of Simple Wealth Building Strategies, explains, “It is important to note that these services do not guarantee that your identity will not be stolen. They only guarantee that they will notify you when it happens and they will assist you in restoring your identity.”

While prevention is not guaranteed, to safeguard your identity, It’s well worth the monthly expense, which can be less than your weekly trip to Starbucks. These are our picks for the five best identity theft protection services.  

The 5 Best Identity Theft Protection Services

Identity Guard – Best Coverage

Experian IdentityWorks – Best Credit Bureau Integration

ID Shield – Best Family Plan

IdentityForce – Best for Additional Protection Tools

Zander Insurance – Most Affordable 

All our top picks provide:

  • Credit reports from all three credit bureaus on their premier plans
  • Monitoring use of personal information online
  • Identity restoration assistance
  • Identity theft insurance of up to $1,000,000
  • Mobile App

The Best Identity Theft Protection Services: Summed Up


Best ForMonthly PriceID Theft Insurance PayoutBanking Alerts
Identity GuardCoverage$7.50 – $20.83/mo. Up to $1M on all plansPremier and Total plans
Experian IdentityWorksCredit Bureau Integration $9.99 – $19.99/mo.Plus plan: Up to $500,000 Premium plan: Up to $1 milPremium plan
IDShieldFamily Plan$12.95 – $32.95/mo.Up to $1M on all plansAll plans
Identity ForceAdditional Protection Tools$9.99 – $35.90/mo.Up to $1M on all plansAll plans
Zander InsuranceMost Affordable$6.75 – $12.90/mo.Up to $1M on all plansAll plans

Identity Guard – Best Coverage

Overview 

Identity Guard is among the more affordable choices for identity theft protection. While other premium plans can cost up to $35 per month and more, Identity Guard caps plan pricing at $12.49. There is still $1 million coverage on its basic plan, and alerts come included, making this a well-rounded and affordable choice for most people.

With Identity Guard, you have a choice of several plans. Plans include credit and computer data protection with Social Security number monitoring from all three credit bureaus. What makes the price even more impressive is the integration of IBM WatsonTM artificial intelligence technology to better protect your information. 

Points to consider

There are a 30-day free trial and a 30-day guarantee, so even if you aren’t sure, you do not have to commit to a plan without trying the services first.  

Experian IdentityWorks – Best Credit Bureau Integration

Overview 

Experian is already a trusted and well-respected credit monitoring agency, so it makes sense that it offers fantastic credit monitoring services, too. There is widespread coverage, which is created for the entire family, with thoughtful plans accommodating both single and married households. Customers who feel their identity is compromised can also freeze their credit through Experian’s Security Freeze feature.

Plans also include not only dark web surveillance and Social Security number monitoring, but there is social network monitoring, as well. You also receive monitoring from all three major credit bureaus. 

For customers in need of a better credit score, Experian also has features that not only educate consumers on how to enhance credit scores using Experian Boost, which allows you to place monthly bills on your credit history.

Points to consider

Experian also offers a free 30-day trial membership, but you will still need a credit card to sign up. You have the option to be billed monthly or annually, which could help save costs. 

IDShield – Best Family Plan

Overview

IDShield provides some of the most expansive coverage with fraud monitoring features and advanced alerts. However, prices run pretty high, with 3-bureau reporting for two adults and ten kids running over $32 per month.

All plans include up to $1 million in coverage with comprehensive dark web internet monitoring and financial investment and security monitoring. IDShield also monitors over 78 billion public records with new application alerts and telecom monitoring. Child monitoring also comes included with the family plan.

These are the plans available from IDShield, which include individual and family plans.

Points to consider

We love that IDShield includes unlimited consultations with your plan, and it is the only plan to offer a licensed private investigator, who is available 24/7, should trouble ever strike.

IdentityForce – Best for Additional Protection Tools

Overview 

IdentityForce offers an impressive suite of protection tools to keep the whole family safe. There is technology for earlier detection of identity theft and fraud with real-time alerts. It also includes comprehensive fraud monitoring to safeguard your information with a total of nine different monitoring and privacy tools. There is also $1 million coverage on all plans with stolen funds replacement. Even with all of these benefits, plans are affordable.

IdentityForce gives you a choice of plans with either one or three credit monitoring bureaus. The UltraSecure+Credit plan also includes access to the credit score tracker and credit score simulator.

Family plans are also available but must be purchased directly from an agent.

Points to consider

Identity Force carries a 100% Identity Recovery Guarantee with 24/7 support. There is also a 14-day free trial and plans suited for businesses. 

Zander Insurance – Most Affordable

Overview

Zander Insurance is hands down one of the lowest-priced identity theft providers with plans starting at a little over $6.75 per month.

That doesn’t mean the company skimps on its services, either, because Zander Insurance provides comprehensive identity theft protection. There are several types of monitoring services, which include Social Security number monitoring, change of address monitoring, and court records monitoring.  The company also boasts a 100% recovery success rate, and plans include unlimited recovery services. Family plans include two adults and up to ten dependent children under the age of 18, with child identity theft monitoring included.

With Zander Insurance, you have your choice of a single or family plan, but there are also group discounts corporate programs available for employers wishing to protect its employees.

Points to consider

Unlike most providers, Zander Insurance does not offer a free trial or guarantee for its identity theft services.

How To Choose the Best Identity Theft Protection Service for You 

Credit reports from all three bureaus

You rely on your credit to give you the things you want in life, like lower interest rates on loans, cheaper car insurance, and a new job. Your credit speaks for you before you sometimes can, so it’s important you keep your credit score as high as possible. You can’t always keep an eye on your credit, so a credit monitoring service can help keep your identity safe even when you’re not looking. 

“Credit monitoring for identity theft usually consists of making sure you don’t have any accounts or inquiries on your report that you didn’t authorize,” explains consumer credit protection attorney, Joseph P. McClelland, of Jackson Laws.

A credit monitoring services job is twofold: to protect and to help grow. First, a service should perform constant monitoring on your information to ensure it is only used legitimately. That means flagging suspicious activity and providing you with timely notice. It can also provide support in times of trouble and help you reclaim your identity.

Services should take a preventive stance, too, by helping you enhance your credit score. Companies typically offer many educational tools, such as articles, videos, blogs, and webinars.

Services that monitor how your personal info is being used online

Experian’s 2017 study shows that on the dark web, your personal information can be worth as much as $110 for your credit card, $1,000 for medical records, and $2,000 for a passport.

Public computers and unprotected websites are two primary tools thieves use to steal your information, or it can be obtained during a data breach at a big company, like your bank or creditor.

Once your information is stolen, it can be used for a number of purposes. You might have mysterious new credit cards taken out in your name or find that there are suddenly loads of medical bills due for visits that don’t belong to you. Some people notice their tax return is missing only to discover that their information was used to falsely file and then collect your hard-earned tax refund.

Scammers are developing new tactics every day, so it’s more important than ever to have the right protection to keep your information safe. 

Alerts via text, email, phone call 

Modern technology has made it easier for you to receive instant notifications whenever there may be suspicious activity on your accounts.

Credit monitoring services use a blend of communication styles to reach you, so there is less likely of a delay when every moment counts.

Email provides more detailed communications, often including a brief overview of the matter and instructions on how to proceed. However, email is long thought to be a slower method of communication, because people do not check their email as often as they check their phones for calls and texts.

That’s why the introduction of phone and text notifications are so important today. Most credit monitoring services have adopted cutting-edge systems, which provide prompt notification when something seems wrong. Both phone calls and text messages are common primary contact methods for immediate response.

Remember, a legitimate service will never ask you to disclose personal details over email or text.

Legal support toward reclaiming your identity

The process of recovering your identity can be costly. According to the Insurance Information Institute, approximately 14.4 million people fell victim to identity fraud in 2018, costing a total of $1.7 billion in out-of-pocket costs.

The faster you act, the fewer damages you are likely to encounter, so it’s important to move as quickly as possible when you suspect your identity has been stolen. Having an identity theft monitoring service can not only help you find a resolution that much quicker, but it can also be an invaluable partner throughout the entire recovery process, too.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), your identity theft case manager will help you through the entire process, which can include placing a freeze on your credit and contacting creditors to notify them of the issue. Some companies may even offer legal representation and coverage for lost wages.

Rupert agrees that a credit freeze is an essential part of the recovery process.

“The best way to preserve wealth is to establish a Security Freeze at all credit reporting services. Placing a freeze on your credit report with TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian will prevent lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely,” Rupert said.

Before choosing the best identity theft prevention service for you, consider what kinds of legal benefits will be available should you ever need them. 

How to Prevent Identity Theft

In addition to using an identity theft prevention company, there are numerous steps you can do to protect not only your identity but the identities of your whole family, too.

Your personal data should always be protected as much as possible by storing sensitive data in a secure location and shredding any paperwork you no longer need. Experts also recommend using a unique password with a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Try not to repeat passwords whenever possible, and use creative words and numbers, which aren’t easy to guess.

Keep a close eye on your mail, carefully monitoring everything you receive. The United States Postal Service offers a free service called Informed Delivery, which provides a daily preview of your mail. The notifications make it much easier to know when mail is missing and possibly stolen. If you receive any bills or statements you do not recognize, immediately look into the matter to see if this debt actually belongs to you.

Finally, be diligent in where you share your personal data. When a provider requests your personal information, it’s okay to ask why it is needed and what it will be used for. By better understanding how your information is used, you can keep closer tabs on your account activity.

Your Identity Theft Questions Answered

About the Authors

Sean d’Oliveira is an editor for Reviews.com covering personal banking, investing, and security topics in Finance. Before his work on Reviews.com, Sean served as a copy editor for an online marketing agency and as a writer for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida. Sean graduated from the University of North Florida in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in communications.