- 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.)
Our LifeLock Review
While no identity theft protection service can actually prevent theft, LifeLock is one of only a few companies to offer the next best thing: monitoring and recovery services. LifeLock tracks your credit scores, your banking info, and whether your personal details show up online, looking for signs of fraudulent activity. If something suspicious pops up, LifeLock alerts you via app, email, text or phone call. Most importantly, if the worst happens and your identity is compromised, LifeLock takes on the heavy-lifting — contacting agencies, creditors, and employers on your behalf so that you can get your life back on track as quickly as possible.
Against the threat of identity theft, LifeLock promises to comprehensive prevention and recovery, making it easy for you to stay protected
Is it True?
LifeLock monitors all your personal and financial information, alerts you of suspicious activity, and — in the unfortunate event that your identity is stolen — springs into action to mitigate the damage. The company stands out for four reasons:
- Tri-bureau credit monitoring: LifeLock monitors all three major credit-reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) to make sure that our credit scores aren’t being dinged by fraudulent applications.
- Tracks online use of personally identifying information: LifeLock tracks whether your personal info is being used to open payday loans or other online accounts that won’t show up on your credit report until they go to collections.
- Multiple means of communication: LifeLock makes it easy for you to stay apprised of any changes, with email and text notifications in addition to 24/7 phone availability.
- Takes on the brunt of recovery: If your identity is stolen, LifeLock will assume “limited power of attorney” on your behalf, contacting creditors, employers, and law enforcement agencies for you rather than handing you a list of phone numbers and expecting you to figure it out on your own.
When we assessed other identity theft protection services, we found that LifeLock was one of only three services to monitor both tri-bureau credit scores and personal information — in addition to helping us recover in the event of a theft. LifeLock’s mobile app is also extremely easy to use, with an equally user-friendly website portal. In short? The company follows through on its promise to make prevention and protection as comprehensive as possible.
While it offers comprehensive services, LifeLock has faced several lawsuits over the last eight years. 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.
It’s quite a rap sheet, but there’s good reason to believe that LifeLock is cleaning up its act. In 2017, cyber security giant Symantec – makers of Norton Antivirus – acquired LifeLock, and we anticipate better business practices now that LifeLock is operating under the eyes of a reputable parent company. And as one of the three identity theft protection service companies capable of not only monitoring your personal information but also tackling the complicated drudgery of restoring normalcy in the event of a theft, LifeLock is definitely worth a look.
A Closer Look at LifeLock’s Features
We recommend the Lifelock Ultimate Plus plan. While the company offers two lower-tier plans, Ultimate Plus is the only one to monitor all three credit bureaus (instead of just one). Here’s how the plan breaks down:
|Price||$29.99 / month|
|Best For||People who want to spare no expense for comprehensive identity monitoring and restoration.|
|Not For||People who are on a budget, or those who are tackling pre-existing identity theft.|
|Annual Credit Reports and Scores||Yes; Three-bureau reporting
|Kids add-on protection||$5.99 / month per child|
|Alerts||Email, text, or phone|
Our Deep Dive
LifeLock Plan Details
- Multiple service tiers: Only LifeLock’s highest service tier – LifeLock Ultimate Plus — met all of our requirements when we looked for the Best Identity Theft Protection Service. However, LifeLock also offers a Standard Plan ($10/month) and an Advantage Plan ($20/month), in exchange for having less detailed monitoring and a smaller funds reimbursement package. You can also protect your elderly parents with LifeLock’s Senior plan ($20/month), which allows you to monitor their credit activity.
- Million dollar protection package: At the Ultimate Plus tier, LifeLock will cover the costs associated with restoring your identity, including up to $1 million for reimbursement coverages (like lost income, and travel expenses), up to $1 million for fraudulent withdrawals, and up to $1 million for legal, remediation service, and case management costs.
- Easy user interface: LifeLock’s dashboard make it easy to find and view credit scores and alerts, while clearly labeled tabs give you access to more details and enable you to edit personal information.
- Block pre-approved credit offers: LifeLock can help you opt out of pre-approved credit card mailing lists. These are common targets for identity thieves, who open the credit card in your name after you’ve discarded the offer.
- Mobile apps and prompt notifications: LifeLock notifies you via email, phone, or text (your choice) the minute it detects anomalous usage. Financial transactions can be approved or rejected immediately. Using either the iOS or Android app, you can also view your alerts and credit score and message customer service.
- Lost wallet protection: If your wallet is lost or stolen, LifeLock can cancel and replace credit cards and identification like driver’s licenses before a thief abuses them.
- Privacy monitor tool: This tool helps limit online exposure by letting you find and “remove or suppress personally identifiable information” – like your name, age, address, and known relatives – on popular people search websites.
- Infrequent credit report updates: While LifeLock will update you immediately about suspicious changes, the company only gives you access to one set of credit reports per year. Some competitors offer updated reports on a monthly or quarterly basis. But if you want to keep closer tabs on this info, you can always get one free annual credit report yourself from each bureau.
- Doesn’t cover pre-existing theft: LifeLock offers comprehensive help if you become a victim of identity theft after signing up for their service. But if you need assistance navigating pre-existing theft, you’ll be on your own.
LifeLock vs. The Competition
LifeLock vs. IdentityForce
IdentityForce offers monitoring and restoration services comparable to LifeLock, with one notable difference. Its app is not as convenient as LifeLock’s – you can see alerts through the app, but you’ll have to call customer service or switch over to a desktop to respond to them. We also didn’t like how you can’t contact customer service through the app: If you see an alert, you have to hop on the phone to ask IdentityForce about it. In exchange, however, IdentityForce’s UltraSecure+Credit plan (comparable to LifeLock’s Ultimate Plus) costs less, coming in at $20/month rather than $30/month.
LifeLock vs. ID Watchdog
ID Watchdog doesn’t offer much by way of mobile support: It has an app but you’ll have to call customer support to actually resolve issues. We also found ID Watchdog’s online portal more confusing and difficult to navigate than LifeLock’s. However, ID Watchdog has two potential advantages: its Platinum plan costs less, at $18/month. It also offers rehabilitation for pre-existing theft. LifeLock and IdentityForce both require you to discover theft during your membership in order to take advantage of their recovery services, but ID Watchdog’s “ID Rehab for Previously-Existing Conditions” simply charges a fee for each pre-existing record error that needs to be corrected. If you discover additional theft during your enrollment, your restoration will be covered under your regular subscription (no additional fees necessary). While the charges might add up, they’ll probably be less expensive (and less hassle) than fighting to change the records yourself.
What Others Are Saying
TechRadar finds that, while expensive, LifeLock is worth the extra cost.
In particular, TechRadar calls out LifeLock’s mobile app for “near real-time alerts [that] keep you in touch with what’s going on.” Since responding quickly to a fraudulent transaction is important in cases of identity theft, LifeLock’s app is a valuable perk.
PCMag gives LifeLock high marks for its protection services, but notes that covering a family can be pricey.
LifeLock scores well with PCMag for its mobile app, bank account monitoring, and recovery services. However, they note that while LifeLock provides peace of mind, “extending that assurance to the rest of your family is an expensive endeavor.” Children can be added to a plan at a price of $6 per child per month, but your spouse will need to purchase a separate account; a family of four can run you $72 per month.
The Los Angeles Times is critical of LifeLock for maintaining a partnership with Equifax despite Equifax’s 2017 data breach.
In 2015, LifeLock signed a four-year contract with the Equifax (one of the three major credit bureaus) to begin sharing consumer data in return for Equifax’s credit reporting services. The Los Angeles Times reports that this agreement may give LifeLock the freedom to share info like your driver’s license or passport number — information that Equifax wouldn’t normally have access to. LifeLock has maintained its contract with Equifax even after Equifax’s massive 2017 data breach, which exposed the personal information of 143 million consumers. Given Equifax’s poor track record of maintaining data privacy, the Times advises caution before signing up with LifeLock — or any other identity theft protection service.
The Bottom Line
While it doesn’t have a squeaky-clean record, LifeLock’s acquisition by Symantec suggests it’s turning over a new leaf regarding data privacy. And you won’t find an identity theft protection service more comprehensive than LifeLock. Its Ultimate Plus plan is pricier than the competition, but it combines comprehensive monitoring with unrivaled user-friendliness and accessible customer support.