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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

In today’s digital age, there are a whole host of security threats and cyberattacks that sneak into our lives through the dark corners of the web, risking the state of our financial portfolios.

Identity theft is a high-risk threat and happens when a predator uses personal information like your social security number for unauthorized actions. This doesn’t just mean spending your money through purchases - there are plenty of instances where identity theft includes the opening of new accounts or the outright theft of a tax refund.

As we grow increasingly dependent on the internet, it’s more important than ever to use the right precautions to protect yourself, as well as your entire family. This begins with identity theft protection and choosing the right partner to help you with credit monitoring.

There are many companies out there that offer identity theft protection, but some are better equipped than others to safeguard your identity.

These are the best identity theft protection services for 2020.

The 5 Best Identity Theft Protection Services

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
  • Family Plans
  • Mobile App

The Best Identity Theft Protection Services: Summed Up

  Our Score Monthly Price ID Theft Insurance Payout Banking Alerts
IdentityForce 4.9 / 5 $9.99 - $35.90 Up to $1M on all plans All plans
Experian IdentityWorks 4.5 / 5 $9.99 - $19.99 Up to $500K on the basic plan, and up to $1M on the premium plan Only on premium plans
ID Watchdog 4.5 / 5 $14.95 - $19.95 Up to $1M on all plans Only on premium plans
Identity Guard 4.3 / 5 $16.67 - $24.99 Up to $1M on all plans Only on premium plans
LifeLock 4.2 / 5 $8.99 - $25.99 Up to $25K on basic plans, up to $100K on the mid-tier plan, and up to $1M on the premium plan Only on premium 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 five 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 Coverage


Best Coverage

IdentityForce

Pros
Up to $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance
24/7 medical identity monitoring
Excellent online accessibility
Cons
Expensive policies
Coverage for children is additional
Limited features and accessibility for mobile app

IdentityForce Overview

IdentityForce provides decent credit monitoring, but it is designed more for the individual and less for the family. You are covered with up to $1 million in identity theft insurance, with extra benefits like lost wallet and restoration and recovery assistance. However, IdentityForce only monitors the top ten most popular banks, leaving you susceptible if there is ever any fraudulent activity that occurs with smaller banks.

Client reviews are also mixed. IdentityForce earns an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and yet the majority of customer reviews center around frustrations with poor customer service and customers plagued by technical issues, causing just some of the many available features to actually work.

ID restoration experts are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but regular customer service issues will have to wait. Customer service representatives are only available during standard office hours, with support available via phone or email.

Points to Consider

Sign-up is easy through the web, but that’s not all you will find online. The website offers fantastic resources, with loan calculators to help with all sorts of things like credit card and loan comparisons, a mortgage consolidation, or whether to buy or lease your new car.

Pricing for the UltraSecure Plan is currently advertised at $9.99 each month, while the Ultra Secure + Credit is listed at $17.99 per month, a discount offered as part of a Reviews.com partnership. There is a free 14-day trial so you can ensure the service is right for you before committing to a policy.

Experian IdentityWorks - Best Credit Bureau Integration

Best
Credit Bureau Integration

Experian IdentityWorks

Experian IdentityWorks
Pros
Enormous IT infrastructure
Credit reports can be locked to prevent fraud
30-day free trial
Cons
Limited customer service availability
Computer security tools are not available
Limited features for Plus

IdentityWorks Overview

IdentityWorks is a solid program provided by Experian, with over $800 million invested annually in the company’s IT infrastructure. With Experian’s powerhouse security and software, users benefit from a wide variety of provided services, such as dark web surveillance with social security and USPS address monitoring, in addition to ramped-up identity theft security precautions. IdentityWorks also provides lost wallet assistance, and identity theft insurance is available up to $1 million depending on your policy.

IdentityWorks offers a Plus and Premium policy. While both include excellent features, the Premium policy takes things to the next level. Premium users are provided extensive financial monitoring and alerts with payday loan monitoring, sex offender registry, social network monitoring, and court record monitoring. It even includes file network sharing monitoring.

Customer service is available during limited hours, but there are domestic fraud resolution specialists to help when there is trouble.

Another bonus? Even if you cancel your policy, Experian will keep your information on file so you pick up where you left off if you ever decide to resume coverage.

Points to Consider

One of the best parts about IdentityWorks is the consideration it offers to the whole family. Plans are available for one or two adults with up to 10 children, offering expansive coverage that is not as common among other policies.

IdentityWorks Plus is currently priced at $9.99 per month, while IdentityWorks Premium is listed at $19.99 each month.

ID Watchdog - Best Family Plan

Best
Family Plan

ID Watchdog

Pros
Straightforward plans with family coverage
Budget-friendly
Customer support in 100+ languages
Cons
Too many alerts
App receives only average reviews

ID Watchdog Overview

ID Watchdog is similar to Experian’s IdentityWorks, with two plans that can also provide coverage for the family if needed.

The plans are straightforward and easy to understand, with tiered pricing based on the extent of your needs. All plans provide extensive coverage with dark web monitoring, high-risk transaction monitoring, subprime loan monitoring, change of address warnings, and court record notifications. ID Watchdog provides lost wallet vault and assistance, as well as fraud alerts and help with freezing your credit.

In addition, you will receive alerts for social networking monitoring and registered sex offenders. You even have the option to customize your own alerts!

Unlike other companies that offer limited hours for customer support, ID Watchdog offers 24/7 customer support, 365 days a year. Even more impressive is ID Watchdog’s customer support department that is able to provide help in over 100 different languages.

Points to Consider

There are two different plans available, with optional coverage for families.

The ID Watchdog Plus currently starts at $14.95 per month with single bureau credit monitoring, while the ID Watchdog Platinum starts at $19.95 per month. For the cost of Platinum, users get 3-bureau credit reporting and additional 401K/HSA stolen funds reimbursement of up to $500,000.

Identity Guard – Best for Additional Protection Tools

Best For
Additional Protection Tools

Identity Guard

Pros
Advanced AI scans millions of social media postings daily
Safe browsing tools for protected web browsing and shopping
Among the best priced
Cons
Credit reports available only annually
Limited mobile accessibility
No fraud alerts

Identity Guard Overview

Identity Guard offers three different plans. Its lowest-tier plan, the Value plan, includes basic protections with credit alerts, dark web monitoring, safe browsing tools, and risk management reports. Policyholders can also use the anti-phishing mobile app, which represents Identity Guard’s commitment to the latest in software advancement.

Identity Guard’s affordability adds to its value, with thoughtful coverage designed across three different plans. The Total plan adds 3-bureau credit report monitoring, address monitoring, and tax refund alerts. The Premier plan is Identity Guard’s best plan, offering extras such as regular credit score reporting and additional social insight reports.

Identity Guard’s customers are assured up to $1 million in identity theft insurance and stolen funds reimbursement, with a U.S.-based case manager ensuring reliable and dependable support when you need it most.

Points to Consider

One of the best aspects of Identity Guard is the flexibility it offers customers. There are three different plans with excellent pricing, so you can pick the right coverage that works best for your budget.

The Value plan is Identity Guard’s budget policy listed at under $9 per month, or $14.99 for families. Their mid-tier option is the Total plan at $19.99 each month, or $29.99 for families. For the most coverage, the Premier plan is advertised at $24.99 per month, or $34.99 for families. For extra savings, paying annually earns customers an additional discount.

LifeLock – Most Affordable


Most Affordable

LifeLock

Pros
60-day money back guarantee
Convenient mobile app
Dark web and credit monitoring
Cons
Not suited for families
Monitors fewer accounts than the competition
No free trial
Poor reputation

LifeLock Overview

Operated by Symantec, Lifelock offers three separate plans: Standard, Advantage, and Ultimate Plus. The Ultimate Plus offers the most features, with additional dark web monitoring, bank account monitoring, and personal data monitoring. Policyholders also benefit from recovery assistance and 24-hour support.

Overall fairly affordable overall, LifeLock’s coverage is minimal. Up to $1 million is available in coverage but only if you purchase the top-tier plan. The cheaper plans have only limited features when compared to competitors. Coverage for the family can quickly become a major expense, as well. Reputation also stands out as a consideration.

In 2015, LifeLock was fined $100 million by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for “deceptive advertising practices” and failing to “establish and maintain a comprehensive information security program to protect users’ sensitive personal information” in 2010. $68 million was paid to customers in redress fees.

While such a lawsuit has not occurred since 2015, it’s worth considering the reputation of a cybersecurity company when such important data is on the line.

Points to Consider

Plans are certainly affordable, with the Standard plan at just $9.99 per month, the Advantage at $19.99 per month, and the Ultimate Plus topping off at $29.99 per month. To avoid buyer’s remorse, there is a 60-day money-back guarantee in case this plan is not the best fit for you.

How to Prevent Identity Theft

The 2017 Equifax cyber breach shows no one is immune to identity theft and fraud, no matter how careful you are. Still, there are things you can do to reduce the chances of fraud so you can help protect information. Safeguarding your information should be the first step.

Protect your personal data and passwords; do not leave them in vulnerable places where they can be found or used. Keep important documents locked up in a secure location and use extra precaution when disposing of sensitive records and data.

Your electronic devices can leave you susceptible, exposed to possible viruses and malware. The FTC recommends that you install anti-virus software on all of your devices, in addition to a firewall and anti-spyware software. Take the time to install regular updates and ensure that these programs are running properly so you always have the latest and best technology working for you around the clock. As a general best-practice, enabling two-factor authentication on your devices for all logins with sensitive data is an effective and simple way to prevent data breaching.

You can also check with your financial institutions as they may offer additional support. Many companies offer proprietary software and advanced AI technology to provide greater support against hackers and online predators.

Identity Theft Protection Services FAQ

How can I find out if someone is using my identity?

Identity theft is not always as obvious to detect as a sudden loss of thousands of dollars from your bank account. Perhaps your mail goes missing or you start getting calls from debt collectors about a bill you don’t recognize. Although incidents like these seem innocuous, they could be the early warning signs of identity fraud.

The best way to find out if your identity has been compromised is to partner with a protection service to stay on top of any and all suspicious activity on your accounts.

What do you do if someone steals your identity?

Identity theft happens every day, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stands ready to help. You will first need to file a claim, giving an in-depth explanation of what happened with a full review of the extent of damages. A counselor will then work with you to create a recovery plan based on your exact case.

The FTC offers an online resource where you can create an account to track your recovery goals and progress, with online forms and letters pre-filled and ready to be sent to the appropriate parties. These tools give you accessible monitoring over the entire process. While you are waiting for help, you can close any unauthorized accounts and authorize a freeze on your credit.

How to report identity theft?

The FTC is an enormous help in keeping you safe from identity theft and is one of your biggest allies if you are a victim. Reporting identity theft to the FTC is a good first step, but you will also need to contact the social security office to report that your social security number has been stolen.

Local police can also be notified and may help with tracking fraudulent purchases and criminal behavior. Take the time to contact any companies where there may have been fraudulent transactions. Not only can you report and dispute these purchases, but you can also warn the staff of the criminal activity that has occurred.

What does identity theft Insurance cover?

Because electronic devices are so popular and are exceptionally susceptible to data theft, identity theft insurance should be a serious consideration. Homeowners insurance and renters insurance will only go so far, so additional coverage can make an enormous difference in how quickly you are able to reclaim your identity.

The Insurance Information Institute defines several responsibilities for this specialized form of insurance, including the assignment of a case manager or consumer fraud specialist who will personally oversee your case. Your insurance will also assist with the replacement of your government identification cards and provide support with any civil judgments, criminal charges, or audits that may arise from this incident.

In addition to helping you reclaim your identity and credit, your insurance should cover the reimbursement of legal expenses and fees. Your insurer can also help with hearings related to the criminal activity and fraud. Certain guidelines vary by state, so be sure to check with your insurer for your state’s requirements.

What happens if someone steals my Social Security number?

The Social Security Administration defines identity theft as one of America’s fastest-growing crimes. With just a few numbers, a predator has easy access to your most private details and can quickly go on a spending spree on your dime. Worse, your social security number can unlock all sorts of new accounts and purchases that you could end up on the hook for. If they open credit cards or other credit-based accounts in your name, you could be responsible for those debts (and the interest) until it is expunged from your account.

There are a few ways to lose your social security number. Someone might access your information through hacking or just by coming into accidental contact with it – maybe you left a form out, or a company employee was careless with your records. It’s also possible that thieves helped themselves to your mailbox, retrieving sensitive data from an official document. However it took place, reporting the loss of your social security number right away is critical.

Are identity theft protection services worth it?

The Insurance Information Institute paints a grim picture:

“Victims of identity theft fraud often travel a long and frustrating road to recovery. Depending on the severity of the identity theft fraud damage, the recovery process (including getting credit records corrected) can take anywhere from a few weeks to several years. In the meantime, victims are often left with lower credit scores and may have difficulty getting credit, obtaining loans and even finding employment.”

Identity theft protection and credit monitoring plans are often fairly inexpensive, providing widespread coverage that not only helps to resolve trouble when it happens, but also helps to prevent it in the first place. With ever-increasing risk of identity theft, the minimal investment towards protecting sensitive data and credit history is well worth the cost.

How do I protect my identity for free?

Whether or not you use credit monitoring or identity theft protection service, there are certain actions you can take to help secure your information without spending any money.

Storing your personal data somewhere secure and private where it cannot be easily found is the top priority. Your wallet and purse are easy marks for thieves looking for their next target. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or credit cards with you; try to take just what you need and leave the others safe at home.

Limit online shopping to secure sites that protect your personal information — always pay attention to who you provide your billing and shipping information to, as identity theft occurs locally and internationally alike.

Finally, take a proactive stance and constantly monitor your accounts for any suspicious or unwarranted activity. No one knows your purchases better than you, so diligence will always be the best course of action when it comes to protecting your identity.

What do identity thieves look for?

Identity thieves will take any opportunity to steal your information, whether it is physically or digitally. It can be easy to obtain someone’s personal details through documents found in the trash or temporarily left out on a counter or desk. Malware creates countless outlets for hackers or thieves to obtain and misuse personal data. Ultimately, identity thieves are always on the lookout for weak spots and opportunity.

Can someone steal your identity with just your name and address?

It seems hard to imagine, but it is actually very easy to steal someone’s identity with just one’s name and address. Although it seems small, these two pieces of information can quickly help predators gain access to other information quickly. “Your name and address could be used as a gateway to steal your identity,” explains Eva Casey Velazquez, CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center.

The Internet is full of membership-based public database services that, for a small fee, will scour the internet and deliver a person’s most private details. This can include things like your phone number, marriage status, and where you work.

While you can do your best to safeguard information like this, it is available for public sale which makes identity theft prevention that much more important. Being aware is the best way to stay ahead and protect your identity.

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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