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ByAnne Dennon Home Technology Writer

Anne has covered home security and home automation for Reviews.com for two years. She's interested in human-computer interaction and tech ethics.

The Best Identity Theft Protection Services

The best identity theft protection services utilize technology to help safeguard personal information. They monitor private and public records, then offer assistance in resolving any breaches — meaning reimbursement limits to help with lost wages and the option for power of attorney when you need to take your case to court.

To be clear, identity theft prevention services don’t exist — there’s no way to actually prevent your identity from being stolen. What the best identity theft protection services can do is help minimize the risk by ceaselessly monitoring your credit and accounts to alert you as soon as suspicious behavior arises. From there, credit monitoring services will assist you every step of the way in reclaiming your identity. We signed up for as many accounts as we could and read their fine print to see which services could best help you monitor and reclaim your identity.

The 3 Best Identity Theft Protection Services

The Best Identity Theft Protection Services: Summed Up

  IdentityForce myFICO EverSafe
Our review
The best
Value Reimbursement Family discount
Recommended plan
UltraSecure+Credit Premier Gold
Three-bureau credit monitoring
Family plans
Mobile app
View plans View plans View plans

Why Trust This Review?

Over the last five years, Reviews.com has helped more than 1.2 million people protect their identity online. Our research team investigated 18 major identity theft protection providers and spoke with a third-party expert to narrow down our three top picks. We’ve also regularly updated this review to ensure that it reflects current offerings and prices. The author of this review does not own stock in any companies that provide identity theft protection services.

IdentityForce


Best Value

IdentityForce
Pros
Great protection, great price
Useful dashboard
Affordable family options
Cons
Minimal app capabilities

Why we chose it

Great protection, great price

For identity theft protection that covers all of the essentials at an affordable price, we recommend IdentityForce’s UltraSecure+Credit plan. The company offers power of attorney and credit monitoring from all three major credit bureaus, plus personal information monitoring with mobile and email alerts. If a new bank account is opened in your name or if a payday loan is taken out, you’ll hear about it. In the case of suspicious activity, it’ll help you take action after alerted. IdentityForce will complete paperwork, make calls, and handle every detail to restore your identity. For the scope of the company’s monitoring and restoration services, their standard $24 per month pricing is a bargain (although we have seen even lower promotional pricing for $17 per month).

Useful dashboard

Upon log-in, features that most users will need regularly — including your recent alerts, your credit score, and links to other accounts in your family plan — are displayed prominently on a clean, easy-to-use dashboard. We never had to do much hunting to find what we needed.

Identity Force Dashboard

Affordable family options

Another standout feature: the company’s affordable family options. Child protection is $3 per month per kid, one of the cheapest of all our finalists. If you’re willing to pay for a full year upfront, you can also sign up for annual membership for less than $170 and get two months free. And if you have a larger family, IdentityForce does offer family-specific plans — however, you have to speak to an agent for details and registration.

Points to consider

Minimal app capabilities

IdentityForce's app isn't very feature-rich: It essentially serves as a pager to let you know if you need to contact the company. You can use the app to see whether you've received an alert, but you'll need to log onto the website to view details, and you’ll need to call customer service or use the live chat feature on IdentityForce's website to actually resolve any fraudulent activity.

myFICO


Best Reimbursement

myFICO
Pros
High reimbursement
Additional access to credit monitoring
Cons
A little pricey

Why we chose it

High reimbursement

Recovering from the financial losses of identity theft can be a major ordeal, which is why we appreciated the high reimbursement limits offered by myFICO. Neither of our other top picks offer myFICO's $1 million in reimbursement. This covers wages lost, travel expenses, or document replacement costs. That’s a lot of money myFICO puts forward to help you put your life back together.

Additional access to credit monitoring

MyFICO does not currently sell identity theft protection by itself. Rather, you can opt for one of the company’s credit monitoring plans (Advanced and Premier) and have access to both identity theft monitoring and credit monitoring. If you’re in the market for both identity theft protection and credit score monitoring, then myFICO might be a great way to kill two birds with one stone.

Points to consider

A little pricey

Of the two plans that come with identity theft protection, even the cheaper Advanced plan is more expensive than the lower-tier plans offered by competitors. While that high cost may be worth it if you're looking for high reimbursement limits, IdentityForce's UltraSecure+Credit plan is a cheaper way to get identity theft protection and credit score tracking.

EverSafe


Best Family Discount

EverSafe
Pros
Family discount
Strong plans
Affordable
Cons
Lackluster site experience

Why we chose it

Family discount

EverSafe boasts a 30% discount when you sign up additional family members for identity theft protection. Not only does this help protect the identities of your loved ones, but it can also save you money in the long run.

Strong plans

EverSafe features more protection plans than IdentityForce and myFICO. Currently, there are three plans to choose from: the bare-bones Essentials plan, which comes with darknet, bank, and credit card monitoring; EverSafe Plus, which adds credit monitoring, identity theft monitoring, and fraud remediation support; and the higher-end Gold plan, which has more robust credit monitoring and investment account monitoring.

Affordable

We were impressed with EverSafe’s affordability. The Gold plan offers a lot in the way of identity theft monitoring and is cheaper than myFICO's lower-tier Advanced plan. Furthermore, EverSafe’s Gold plan is about the same price as IdentityForce UltraSecure+Credit plan. While the former might feature more perks, it’s missing that 30% family member discount exclusive to EverSafe — so if you're looking to extend protection to loved ones, EverSafe might cut you the best deal.

Points to consider

Lackluster site experience

One of our major gripes with EverSafe is with the site itself. While it’s easy enough to find plans, pricings, and features, we would have appreciated more in the way of educational resources and explanations about these protections. In contrast, each feature listed under IdentityForce’s plans has a link for more information on what the feature entails.

Guide to Identity Theft Protection Services

How to protect your identity

Understand that protection services can't monitor everything

There are some types of personal information that identity theft protection services are prohibited from monitoring. They can monitor your credit reports, public records, and some websites, but privacy laws bar them from accessing your medical benefit statements, as well as any tax info or Social Security benefits paid in your name. And because those are fairly common avenues for identity theft, we highly recommend you keep track of these details by requesting records from these agencies yourself.

Tax-related identity theft, in which a thief claims your tax refund before you do, is also disturbingly prevalent. In 2015, it accounted for nearly 49% of all reported identity thefts. And because government offices also do not recognize power of attorney to resolve disputes, the most an outside company can do for you in this situation is give you the right forms to fill out.

Be vigilant about medical ID theft

Medical identity theft can exhaust your insurance benefits and pose health threats. When someone else obtains care in your name, your files may be updated to reflect their diagnosis and treatments. This means that if you show up at the hospital in an emergency situation, you might not get the care you need — or you might get treated for something you don’t have.

A little vigilance goes a long way. Anytime you receive medical treatment, you should get an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statement or Medicare Summary. Read these line by line and pay special attention to the services provided, the name of the health care provider, the date of the service, and your personal information. Errors like a misspelled name or incorrect procedure date can be warning signs of medical identity theft. Report errors like these to your health plan; you’ll find the customer service number on the statement. The bottom line: If anything on your medical statements or notices doesn’t make sense, investigate it. This goes for receiving bills for care or doctor visits that you didn’t experience, too.

Consider other ways to protect yourself from identity theft

  • Utilize free account services with your bank or credit card issuer. Most banks offer free transaction-monitoring tools that notify you whenever an account withdrawal exceeds an established limit. An increasing number of credit card companies also bundle credit scores and monitoring with their standard service. Both are free ways for you to stay up to date on important financial data.
  • Opt out of prescreened offers. Unsolicited mail from credit card and insurance companies is more than just annoying; it can actually be dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands, since it contains your full name, address, and the promise of approval for credit. OptOutPrescreen.com lets you remove your info from the list that credit bureaus give to banks and insurance companies, so they’ll stop sending you preapproved offers. You can always check your credit and available offers at a free credit-monitoring website.
  • Make a habit of reviewing your medical and insurance statements. Because of health information privacy laws, identity theft protection services can’t monitor your medical statements. Read bills, collection notices, and any other medical statements to ensure that the information is accurate.

Identity Theft Protection Services FAQ

Who do you call about identity theft?

If you have been the victim of identity theft and do not already have identity theft protection, the first call you should make is to one of the three major credit reporting agencies:

Equifax – 1-800-525-6285
Experian – 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion – 1-800-680-7289

Doing this first will create an alert that ensures creditors will not approve new credit for anyone using your information without contacting you to verify that you made the request.

On the plus side, you only need to call one of these agencies in order to get the ball rolling on preventing any further credit fraud.

How do I restore my identity without identity theft protection?

After you’ve contacted one of the major credit reporting agencies, you’ll need to file a police report that will serve as proof of the crime. You’ll also want to contact any lenders, banks, and insurance providers to apprise them of the situation. Most will be more than happy to work with you in closing your accounts and starting up new ones. Your bank will also work with you to put together a new PIN number.

You will need to work with credit reporting agencies and directly with creditors to undo any fraudulent activities and charges. It can take some time but it is possible to reverse the damage done by identity theft.

Unfortunately, if you have already been the victim of identity theft, an ID theft protection service probably won’t help much when it comes to restoration. Most services won’t work on preexisting or ongoing cases of identity theft or will charge an additional fee.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is when someone obtains and uses your personal or financial information, without your consent, to commit a crime or fraud.

While identity theft and identity fraud can be used interchangeably, identity fraud is technically seen as the actual use of stolen information, whereas identity theft is the obtaining or stealing of private information.

The most common types of identity theft are:

  • Social Security Identity Theft
  • Financial Identity Theft
  • Criminal Identity Theft
  • Medical Identity Theft
  • Insurance Identity Theft
  • Tax Identity Theft

The most common identity theft schemes are:

  • Phishing emails/spam
  • Skimmer devices
  • Dumpster diving
  • Mail theft
  • Internet
  • Malware
  • Stealing personal items
  • Pretexting

How can I correct a mistake in my medical records?
  • Request copies of your medical records. You may have to pay, but medical professionals have to oblige. If they don’t, file a Privacy or Security of Health Information complaint.
  • Account for disclosures. Also ask for an “accounting of disclosures,” a list of when, where, why, and to whom your information has ever been released.
  • Request corrections. If you find any errors, write the health care provider explicitly describing them. Keep copies of everything.

What does identity theft Insurance cover?

Most services offer up to million-dollar insurance policies, but it’s good to note that this protection is secondary and can only be applied to certain costs. First off, it’s not intended to cover actual lost funds. Because of the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA), you are not legally responsible for paying fraudulent debt.

  • Maximum credit card liability — $50
  • Maximum check or debit liability — $500 (as long as you report theft within 60 days)

What identity theft insurance can cover are legal fees, lost wages, and the expenses associated with spending time getting your life back: travel and child care. Note that each element of coverage has its own limit, that costs must be accrued within a set timeframe, and that the aggregate limit usually reflects how much you pay per month: The more expensive your plan, the bigger the insurance payout.

Can I DIY my identity theft protection?

The protection offered by identity theft services is really just monitoring and restitution. You can take steps on your own — it just requires a little more legwork. Most people are paying identity theft protection services for peace of mind, but you can be independently vigilant with a few steps:

  • Visit IdentityTheft.gov — it’s the federal government’s free restitution website. It can walk you through reporting suspicious activity and all of the steps you need to take for recovery.
  • Request your free annual report from each of the three credit bureaus. Staying aware of what your credit should be will make spotting identity theft easier.
  • Place a free 90-day fraud alert on your credit file. This directs lenders to verify your identity before opening accounts in your name. Use this wisely, though, as you can only place one per year.
  • If you want to go the extra mile, lock your credit reports with a credit freeze. This costs $5 to $10 and prevents anyone from viewing your files. (It’ll cost about the same if you need to unfreeze your credit to apply for loans or credit cards.) Minniti calls a credit freeze “the most effective method out there for stopping new account fraud.” It’s a pretty cost-effective way to lock down a healthy score.

What happens if someone steals my Social Security number?

Your Social Security number (SSN) is the ultimate key to stealing your identity. If you think that your SSN has been compromised, you should take immediate action.

First, call one of the three credit-reporting agencies: Equifax (1-888-766-008), Experian (1-888-397-3742), or TransUnion (1-800-680-7289). The agency where you place a fraud alert will contact the other two. You’ll want to renew that fraud alert every 90 days until the matter has been settled. After contacting one of the agencies, report the theft to the IRS (1-800-908-4490) and the Federal Trade Commission (1-877-IDTHEFT). Next, file an identity-theft report with your local police — you’ll need this if you get a new SSN. Keep a keen eye and record any fraudulent accounts created (by both the companies the accounts are with and by credit-reporting agencies). Finally, report the theft to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Our Other Financial Service Reviews

We’ve been exploring money topics since day one, sifting through providers and services with the help of expert opinion, data collection, and deep research. Along the way, we’ve found standout companies that can protect your money and grow your financial opportunities. Check out our top picks in the reviews below.

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