- Offers 24/7 bank account and credit monitoring.
- Alerts you to suspicious activity via text, email, phone, or through the mobile app.
- Assumes limited power of attorney to do the legwork of helping recover your identity.
- We recommend the Ultimate Plus plan. ($30/mo.)
- January 11, 2018 - Symantec, cyber security leader and parent company of Norton Antivirus, acquired LifeLock last year and completely overhauled its digital tools. The re-booted app and browser portal are better than ever — but those upgrades also come with a price jump from $27 to $30 per month. We’ve updated this review to include LifeLock’s new pricing structure and tech.
We’re also no longer recommending Identity Guard as a cheaper alternative to Lifelock. It doesn’t monitor driver’s licenses, nor does it offer ID restoration help. If Lifelock’s monthly rate is more than you want to pay, consider IdentityForce or ID Watchdog: their premiums plans run $10 cheaper.
Our Review of LifeLock
Against the threat of identity theft, LifeLock boldly promises to be better than anyone at prevention and recovery. It monitors all your personal and financial information, alerts you of suspicious activity, and — in the unfortunate event that your identity is stolen — LifeLock will spring into action to mitigate the damage and restore it.
Three identity protection packages monitor and protect an escalating range of your personal and financial information. But the only truly comprehensive option is the top-tier Ultimate Plus plan ($30 per month). That’s expensive as far as ID theft protection services go, but it unlocks a robust set of tools and alerts — including three-bureau credit and fictitious ID monitoring, bank account and investment activity alerts, and the option to receive every notification via a phone call, so that a live rep can explain the alert’s significance.
Customers who opt for LifeLock’s less expensive plans leave much of their financial data unprotected; if you choose the $10 per month Standard plan, you’ll miss out on credit monitoring, which most security experts consider essential.
LifeLock offers comprehensive credit and identity monitoring, but its legal woes and high price tag may drive away some consumers.
LifeLock does its best work when the worst happens. Identity restoration specialists can do most of the legwork of reclaiming your identity on your behalf. This cuts down on time and stress, but it also gets pricey if you’re planning on protecting multiple members of a family. Some companies, like Identity Force, offer discounted family plans. LifeLock doesn’t.
But there’s a bigger buyer-beware complaint. Over the last eight years, LifeLock has faced several lawsuits. The Federal Trade Commission fined LifeLock $12 million in March of 2010 for deceptive advertising practices and failing to properly secure customers’ personal information. Even after the FTC ordered LifeLock to develop more stringent security measures, LifeLock neglected to do so, and in July 2015 the FTC fined them again — this time for $100 million. That’s a major blow for any company claiming to be the best at identity theft protection.
That’s a quite a rap sheet, but there is reason to believe that Lifelock is cleaning up its act. In 2017, LifeLock was acquired by cyber security giant, Symantec — the makers of Norton Antivirus. We anticipate better business practices going forward now that LifeLock is operating under the eyes of a reputable parent company, but it’s still too soon to tell.
Despite these concerns, LifeLock makes good on its promises to come to your aid after you’ve become a victim of identity theft. Once you grant the company limited power of attorney, LifeLock can tackle the complicated drudgery of setting fraud alerts, contacting banks and financial institutions, settling insurance claims, and obtaining legal representation. The company also provides a generous $1 million service guarantee, which both covers the cost of restoring your identity and reimburses you for any stolen funds.
A Closer Look At Features
|Price tiers||LifeLock Junior: $5.99/mo.*
LifeLock Standard: $9.99/mo.
LifeLock Advantage: $19.99/mo.
LifeLock Ultimate Plus: $29.99/mo.
|Types of plans||Individual|
|Who should get it||Individuals who will spare no expense for the most comprehensive identity monitoring and restoration service|
|Who should skip it||People on a budget|
*For children under 18, only available as an add-on to the Standard, Advantage, or Ultimate Plus plans.
- $1 million service guarantee: LifeLock covers costs associated with restoring your identity up to $1 million. This benefit includes lost income, travel expenses, replacing lost documents, child care, and more. LifeLock also reimburses you for stolen funds up to your policy’s limit.
- Block pre-approved credit offers: Here’s a nice quality-of-life benefit: LifeLock can help you opt out of pre-approved credit card mailing lists, which are common targets for identity thieves who open the credit card in your name after you’ve discarded the offer.
- Easy user interface: View your credit scores and monitor alerts right from an account dashboard. Tabs give you access to more details and enable you to quickly edit personal information.
- Prompt notifications: LifeLock notifies you via email, phone, or text (your choice) the minute it detects anomalous or suspect usage. Financial transactions can be approved or rejected immediately.
- Lost wallet protection: Lose your wallet? LifeLock can cancel and replace credit cards and identification like driver’s licenses before a thief abuses them.
- Mobile: Apps for iOS and Android devices provide access to all your resources. You can view your alerts and credit score, approve or reject financial transactions, and message customer service.
- Privacy Monitor Tool: This tool helps limit the exposure of your personal information online.
- Infrequent credit report updates: LifeLock only gives one set of credit reports per year. Some competitors offer updated reports on a monthly or quarterly basis, enabling them rapidly spot inaccuracies. But you can always get one free credit report from each bureau per year yourself.
- Not budget-friendly: LifeLock’s plans range from $120 to $360 per individual, per year — but the low-cost plans don’t cover enough of the basics.
What Others Are Saying
Wired neatly summarized LifeLock’s recent legal woes, explaining how it dropped the ball on customer data:
“The company failed to apply critical security patches and updates to its network and ‘failed to employ sufficient measures’ to detect and prevent unauthorized access to its network, ‘such as by installing antivirus or antispyware programs on computers used by employees to remotely access the network or regularly recording and reviewing activity on the network,’ the FTC found.”
PCMag praised LifeLock for its tools, credit monitoring, and 24/7 support, but dinged them for a lackluster website and its expensive, limited family options. The end verdict was positive: “LifeLock offers thorough identity theft protection services and excellent support, but the price can add up if you need to protect a whole family.”
Consumer Reports investigated LifeLock and flagged its limitations: “You might conclude that LifeLock somehow intervenes to shut down sites that sell identities. In fact, when LifeLock discovers its members’ data for sale, the only thing it says it will do is ‘notify you,’ according to the 5,808 words in its terms and conditions of service.”
Other Identity Theft Protection Services We Like
ID Watchdog’s clunky interface is nothing to write home about, but customer service and price are impressive: The top-tier Platinum plan is more affordable than any other premium service ($20/month online or $219/year if you pay in full. However, you’ll have to call for a discounted family plan. Plus it offers one big bonus no one else does: Rehabilitation for pre-existing theft. If your identity’s been stolen before enrolling in ID Watchdog, it will still work after the fact to recover it.
IdentityForce provides comprehensive identity monitoring packages through its UltraSecure+Credit plan for $15 per month. Not only is it cheaper than Lifelock and ID Watchdog, it’s ideal for families, too. Adding children to your plan costs half as much as Lifelock at just $3 per head. The only drawback is its bare-bones mobile app — it pings you with alerts, but you’ll have to call IdentityForce or login to its live chat via desktop to address the issue. Still, we like that it offers a two-week free trial, so you have plenty of time to judge whether or not it’s useful.
How to Protect Your Identity
LifeLock and other identity theft protection services mostly add value with convenience: They cut the time and hassle out of monitoring or restoring a stolen identity. But remember that the main purpose of an ID theft protection service is to notify you that your personal information is out there; they don’t actively prevent your information from being stolen.
But there ways that you can better protect your identity. Here’s how to get started:
- Shred your junk mail. Often loaded with personal information, junk mail is an easy target for identity thieves. A simple shredder can render it useless.
- Watch out for phishing scams. If you get an email that looks like it’s from your bank, never click the links. Phishers attempt to trick you to disguised websites in an effort to steal personal and account information. Always type your bank’s web address in the browser bar to ensure you are visiting a real site.
- Watch your credit cards and bank accounts closely. Follow your balance and account history looking for odd and potentially fraudulent charges.
- Opt out of pre-approved credit offers. Visit OptOutPrescreen.com to get your name dropped from the list of offer recipients for five years.
- Check your credit reports. All U.S. citizens are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three credit bureaus through AnnualCreditReport.com. You can check them all at once or at your leisure throughout the year.
- Employ a Security Freeze. A security freeze prevents lenders from being able to view your credit reports at all, which should prevent identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name. Adding a security freeze to any credit account requires a letter sent to all three credit bureaus; some states also require a small fee.
- Add a fraud alert. If your identity is stolen, contact the credit bureaus and add a fraud alert. This will alert lenders to the problem so they can launch additional security measures before opening accounts or approving transactions in your name.
The Bottom Line
Despite its high cost of entry, LifeLock still offers one of the most comprehensive identity monitoring solutions available.