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Best Identity Theft Protection Reviews & Monitoring Services 2020: Which One to Trust
So you have finally decided to give your online security the due attention and respect it deserves?
Good for you! Especially when we consider the fact that literally, no one is safe from identity theft hacks and the enormous damage it brings about.
In a Rush?
- Affordable with Maximum Protection
- Family-friendly Packages
- 60-Day Money Back Guarantee
- Insurance Coverage Up to $1 Million
Simply put, identity theft or fraud is any activity that aims to take advantage of your personal credentials without your consent or knowledge. From unauthorized bank account activity to unwanted payday loan application, it can take countless forms.
However, if you have just started out exploring the cyber security space, we are sure you must be feeling as if your head is spinning considering the sheer number of options that are currently available in the market.
That said, we have taken the time to put together a few handy tips to help you decide which one to pick. It includes a list of core factors that must be considered while choosing your ID protection service provider.
Moreover, we have also compiled a list of top service provides in the ID protection space, so you don’t have to spend hours sifting through the clutter.
Best Identity Theft Protection Reviews [Updated 2020]
Within the following section, you will find an overview of the key features and plans of top-ranked ID theft protection services.
1. LifeLock Identity Theft Protection
With a huge customer base and a towering reputation to match, LifeLock is quite easily one of the best identity theft protection services out there. From generous compensation packages and robust surveillance mechanism to a smooth account restoration process, there is plenty that this service brings to the table.
Plans & Pricing
Lifelock offers a pretty straight forward plan menu with 3 variations of the individual plan and a family plan.
1. LifeLock Standard
It is priced at $11.99 a month. The annual plan will cost you about 13% less. You will get up to $1 million in case of lost identity plus an additional $25,000 for immediate financial loss and an additional $25,000 to take care of your personal expenses. However, you’ll have to subscribe to a pricier plan if want your credit reports or scores.
2. LifeLock Advantage
It will set you back $23.99 for the month but you can bring down your monthly bill to $20 if you choose the annual identity theft protection plan. Apart from the features of the Standard plan, the extra bump in the price will get you $100,000 each for financial loss and personal expenses compensation. The cherry on top – you will get an additional Equifax credit report and Equifax VantageScore 3.0 credit score.
3. LifeLock Ultimate Plus plan
It will run you a monthly bill of $34.99 but it truly sweetens the deal with $1milion to cover personal expenses for ID theft victims. That’s in addition to the $1million insurance cover. The plan also provides reports from all 3 credit agencies and sex offender reports.
4. Lifelock Family Plan
It will cost you 5.99 per month per child to add your children and you can add no more than 10 children per plan. But you’ll have to shell out for an extra individual plan to add your spouse.
- 60-days money-back guarantee
- ID theft insurance coverage of up to $1 million
- Additional personal expense compensation ranging from $25,000 to $1 million.
- Expensive family identity theft plan
- $1 bump in the monthly bill after 12 months
2. Identity Guard Monitoring Services
Identity Guard started operations almost 2 decades ago in 2001. Over the years, it has gone onto to become a sought-after brand in the online ID protection space. The core of this best identity theft protection framework is powered by IBM's Watson artificial intelligence. It comes along with easy-to-use Android and iOS apps. It has also added an extra layer of security with anti-phishing features and has simplified functionality with extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers.
Plans & Pricing
Identity Guard offers a simplified plan structure with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Let’s take a closer look. You will be eligible to get a decent reduction on your monthly bill should you choose their annual plans.
1. Basic Value Plan
It will cost $8.99 a month and offers an insurance cover of up to $1 million. Moreover, they assign a dedicated case manager to ID theft cases.
2. Identity Guard Total Protection
This plan is significantly more expensive at $19.99 a month. However, in addition to the features of the Basic Value Plan, it will monitor your bank account for unlawful activity. Also, you will be provided a monthly credit score from VantageScore 3.0.
3. Identity Guard Premier
The plan will run you a monthly bill of $24.99. You will get all the features from the other two plans. The plan also comes with credit monitoring reports from Equifax, Experian. FICO and VantageScore 3.0
4. Family plans
Identity Guard’s family identity theft protection plan is divided into 3 categories:
- Identity Guard Couple Plan covers two adults under a single address and will cost $14.99 a month.
- Parent and Children Plan will cost $29.99 a month and will keep one adult and all the children safe under a single address.
- Identity Guard Family Plan will cover you and your partner plus the children.
- Up to $1 million insurance
- It’s AI-assisted
- Added security features such as anti-virus software, password protection, ad blocking, cookie blocking, keyboard encryption software, and an anti-phishing mobile app
- No assistance in case of tax or medical information theft
* The score you receive with Identity Guard is provided for educational purposes to help you understand your credit. It is calculated using the information contained in your TransUnion credit file. Lenders use many different credit scoring systems, and the score you receive with Identity Guard is not the same score used by lenders to evaluate your credit.
** Identity Theft Insurance underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group‚ Inc. The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms‚ conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms‚ conditions‚ and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.
3. IdentityForce Identity Theft Protection & Monitoring Service
Headquartered in Framingham, Massachusetts, IdentityForce opened its doors in 2005. It is owned by EZShield, Inc. Apart from a simplified interface, it offers an extensive security feature bucket, which includes SSN screening, bank account & credit card monitoring, loan checks, drivers’ license screening, and public record information monitoring.
Plans & Pricing
IdentityForce has two tiers of personal plans plus a family plan. Moreover, each plan comes with a 2-week trial period to help you decide if it’s the right fit.
You can subscribe to it for $17.95 a month or $179.50 per year. You will get unauthorized access notifications, SSN monitoring, bank activity alerts, loan checks, court & dark web monitoring, sex offender list, and social media screening. The plan also offers anti-spam features. ID theft victims are eligible for up to $1 million in insurance coverage. The plan also bundles in wallet loss assistance and medical ID protection.
2. UltraSecure + Credit
It will cost $23.95 per month or $239.50 annually; even with the annual identity theft protection plan it isn’t cheap. But, in addition to the features of the UltraSecure plan, this plan provides quarterly credit reports from all 3 major credit firms.
3. IdentityForce family plan
There are two ways to approach the family plan:
- For 1 adult and 1 child, you only have to pay $2.75 per month in addition to your individual plan
- For 2 adults and 2 or more children, you will have to pay an additional $25 (for UltraSecure) and $36 (UltraSecure + Credit) a month. However, you can add as many minors as you like.
- Up to $1 million compensation in case of ID theft
- Medical information monitoring
- Unauthorized loan application alerts
- Court records monitoring
- Credit score simulator to plan your major financial outlays
- Expensive to get started at $17.95
- Not easy to sign up for their family plan, it can only be done through phone
4. Zander Identity Protection
Zander Insurance Group is a well-respected name in the insurance space and has been in the business since the early 1920s. Over the past few years, it has also stepped into identity theft protection. It took off after being endorsed by Dave Ramsey – a respected personal finance expert. It monitors your financial, tax information along with the medical records. It also covers social security fraud, child identity theft, employment fraud, and title fraud. ID theft victims are eligible for compensation of up to $1 million along with account restoration assistance.
Plans & Pricing
Zander has structured its plans with the goal to provide decent ID protection at an affordable price point. It offers a single variation of its individual plan along with a family plan.
1. Individual Plan
At $6.75 a month, Zander’s Individual plan is probably the cheapest service to get started. You can score a further discount on the annual plan. Your monthly bill will come down to $6.25. The plan includes all the above-mentioned features along with lost wallet assistance. The insurance cover is up to $1 million, plus personal expense compensation at $7500 per month
2. Zander’s Family Plan
The family plan is also very reasonable at only $12.90 a month or $145 for the year. The family plan covers 2 adults and there is no limit on the number of children up to age 25.
It is also commendable that even with low prices; Zander provides a customer service that rivals some of the top names in the industry. You will have 24-7 access to it.
- Decent security at an affordable price
- Up to $1 million cover
- Great family plan
- Reliable customer care
- They don’t have a mobile app
- No credit screening
5. Costco Complete ID Monitoring Service
Contrary to the popular belief, Complete ID is not operated by Costco. It came into existence as a result of a partnership between Costco and Experian, a respected name in identity theft protection space. Costco only lends its brand name, however, Experian directs its functionality.
Complete ID offers dark web surveillance, SSN monitoring, criminal record monitoring, payday loan alerts, child identity protection, financial account takeover services, and neighborhood watch.
Plans & Pricing
Most identity theft protection services structure their plan offers according to the number of protection features you choose. Complete ID, however, has taken a different approach. You will be able to choose a plan according to the Costco membership you have. Here’s the breakdown:
1. Executive Members
- Regular price: $8.99 per month
- Child protection: $2.99 per month per child (for up to 5 children)
2. Business and Gold Star Members
- Regular price: $13.99 per month
- Child protection: $3.99 per month per child (for up to 5 children)
- At under $9 per month, it’s quite affordable
- Up to $1 million for ID theft victims
- A user-friendly dashboard with a low learning curve
- Swift complaint resolution and great customer service with round the clock availability
- The membership is only available to Costco members
- They don’t offer social media surveillance
- They currently don’t have a mobile app
6. ID Watchdog Monitoring Service
ID Watchdog has been in business since 2005. Over the past decade and a half, it has carved a respectable name for itself in identity theft protection. That’s partly because Equifax (a well-known consumer credit report agency) owns and runs it. It offers a wide variety of protection services, which include internet/dark-web monitoring, loan database monitoring, credit monitoring, $1 million insurance cover, credit scores and national provider identifier (NPI) alerts.
Plans & Pricing
ID Watchdog offers two plans – Plus and Platinum.
1. ID Watchdog Plus
It costs $14.95 per month. However, if you sign up for their annual plan, your monthly bill will be reduced to $12.50. The plan doesn’t offer access to credit scores and reports.
2. ID Watchdog Platinum
It will run you $19.95 a month. Howsoever, you get the yearly credit scores and reports from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. If you sign up for the year, you can bring down your monthly bill to $18.25 a month.
You’d be disappointed if you’re also looking to bring your family under protection as ID Watchdog doesn’t currently offer any family plans.
- Up to $1 million in compensation for victims of ID theft
- A trouble-free ID restoration process, overseen by a dedicated department
- Two-tier data surveillance for enhanced ID security
- A hassle-free plan and a clear pricing structure
- It’s very easy to cancel your plan
- 24-7 availability of customer support in several languages
- The ability to lock your credit reports from Equifax
- ID Watchdog doesn’t currently offer any family plans
- Moreover, the service also doesn’t offer social media surveillance
- The login process can be somewhat complicated. It may give you a login error and you may have to restart your browser.
Trusted ID is another online ID protection run & owned by Equifax. The service “popped up” on the ID protection map back in 2017, when it offered its services for free. This was its way of saying “I’m sorry” after a massive data breach that compromised millions. The free bonanza lasted for hardly a year, as free sign-ups were discontinued by early 2018. The core features include $1 million identity theft insurance, Equifax credit report, three-bureau monitoring, Equifax credit report lock, social security number surveillance, lost wallet assistance, prompt alerts, and internet surveillance.
Plans & Pricing
There is a lack of clarity as what plans are being offered by Trusted ID or if they are being offered at all. Currently, the official Trusted ID’s official website doesn’t offer any details on plans. However, we dug in a bit deeper and came across several online reviews, which shared the plan details. Here they are.
1. IDEssentials Individual
It will cost you $13.49 per month and if you sign-up for the annual plan, it will cost less than $11 a month. The core features include $1 million insurance cover, credit reports from all 3 agencies, medical record surveillance, antivirus software, internet, and dark web surveillance and you can also lock your credit reports.
2. IDEssentials Family
It will cost you $25.19 a month and you can add up to 6 family members. It offers all the features offered in the individual plan. Again the annual signup will net you a hefty discount of more than 20%.
- Up to $1 million for identity theft victims.
- Credit reports from all 3 major credit agencies.
- A user-friendly mobile app,
- Reliable customer service.
- No social media monitoring.
- They don’t offer a dedicated case officer if identity theft occurs.
- The inability to grant limited power of attorney to Trusted ID in case of identity theft. This creates a hurdle in the restoration process.
8. Discover Identity Theft Protection
Discover started its operations in the mid-80s and was related to Sears. Discover mainly provides credit card and loan services and seems to have done quite well considering that it has been recognized for its financial competence and customer satisfaction. The success led the company stepping into the ID protection industry. Although, it hasn’t yet rivaled the big players in this space but has gained quite a bit of momentum in the recent past thus making it onto our list.
Plans & Pricing
Discover offers quite a limited plan roster as currently they only offer a single plan variation. The plan will cost $15 a month and currently doesn’t offer bulk discounts or trial periods. However, if you look at the security features, you’d feel that the $15 price tag is quite justified.
The features include credit alerts from all 3 bureaus, bank account activity screening, SSN screening and notifications, credit balance and utilizations notifications, identity verification alerts, payday loan checks, address change notifications and court records screening.
When it comes to ID theft insurance, Discover matches the competition with up to $1million cover for victims. However, currently, it doesn’t offer any family protection plans.
- A comprehensive security feature bucket
- They have a U.S. based fraud resolution team
- A user-friendly mobile app for both iOS and Android
- Up to $1 million for ID theft victims
- Quick access to all your alerts though an easy-to-use dashboard
- Limited plan offerings
- No family plan
Definitive Guide: How to Choose the Right One For You?
Literally, every identity theft protection service you come across will try and paint itself as the next Fort Knox. However, that is not always the case and often they fall short of the tall, shiny claims. There are several core features that you must consider while shortlisting an ID protection service. Let’s see what they are:
Recovery Insurance Policy
This is probably one of the most important features of any identity theft protection service provider. You see, one of the most common effects of ID theft is financial damage. And the damage can be quite severe.
So you have to make sure that the service you choose offers an insurance policy that has the ability to make you whole again if you suffer financial loss as a result of ID fraud. Depending on the plan you choose, most well-respected ID protection services will provide you ID theft insurance cover of up to 1$ million. Other than the main cover, some services also provide several handy features such as lost wallet assistance or personal expense compensation ranging from a few hindered dollars to several thousand per week.
Lastly, make sure that there are no loopholes in their policy. You don’t want to be denied a legitimate claim because of a minor technicality. So it’s paramount that you ask questions about the approval process. And if they don’t provide clear answers, it’s perfect to move on.
Family Coverage Policies
Speaking of identity theft, it’s not uncommon to find that your children’s identities have been compromised. Almost all ID protection service providers have a family plan in place; however, not all family plans are made equal.
In addition to the per-child charges, some brands may require you to sign up for an additional individual plan if you want to bring in your partner plus the children. Most services will have an age limit for the children and a maximum number of children you can add under a single family plan.
The ideal family plan would be something that gives you the greatest of both worlds – decent protection at an affordable price. It’s good to consider your budgetary limit while choosing one.
Dark Web Monitoring
Even if the hacker doesn’t immediately get hold of your money; your personal information alone can net him a decent profit. In all likelihood, your sensitive information will end up on the dark web – available to the highest bidder.
So while choosing an ID protection service provider, you must make sure that they have a robust framework to constantly screen the dark web for any information related to you or your family members. It’s paramount that your service is able to detect your information quickly because it profoundly impacts your chances of minimizing damage by letting you respond swiftly.
Credit Policy Monitoring
Damage to your credit as a result of identity theft will severely damage your short term and long-term financial standing. Your ability to take out loans or make financial outlays will be severely impacted.
Most service providers offer some degree of credit monitoring but it varies in efficacy, cost and the extent of screening. Some services will provide very limited screening while others will provide you a comprehensive credit report from all 3 major credit bureaus. However, such a report maybe be reserved for premium or mid-tiered memberships, meaning that you will have to shell out extra.
Even if you don’t currently have any major financial outlays planned, it’s a wise choice to keep a sharp eye on your credit. So we recommend choosing at least some form of credit screening even if you have to pay a few extra dollars.
Types of Damages That You May Encounter
As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of ways that hackers can use to take advantage of your stolen identity. Let’s explore what are some of the most common types of ID theft damages.
It is the most obvious and the juiciest prize for most ID thieves. They will use your information to gain unauthorized access to your bank account or credit card data. So it’s a great option to minimize the use of your credit card and always destroy your ATM receipt after use. Moreover, never share your banking information.
The other equally damaging ID theft type is when your stolen identity is used to commit unlawful acts. Subscribing to an ID protection service will give you the chance to keep yourself safe as it will constantly monitor court records and let you know if your name pops up without your knowledge.
Medical identity theft takes place when the hacker obtains your personally identifiable information (PII) to access medical services. It is very likely that you will receive a hefty bill for services that you never requested. This may further affect your credit score negatively because medical fraud can take a while to be settled. Such an attack may also lead to your electronic health record (EHR) to be altered without your knowledge.
How Important is It To Protect Yourself?
There are several compelling reasons why it makes sense to subscribe to a decent identity theft protection service
There are literally thousands of data points that a hacker can exploit to gain access to your sensitive information. The sheer number of potential gaps makes it virtually impossible for you to monitor yourself. An ID protection service will have a reliable identity theft protection screening framework to ensure constant screening of such data points.
The impact of an ID hack is multiplied tenfold if you don’t respond immediately after the breach. The quicker you respond, the minimal the damage will be. An ID protection service will alert you immediately through multiple mediums such as text, email, and phone calls. This greatly improves your chances.
3. Information and Financial Recovery
We're sure you must have heard the horror stories of how ID theft left someone on the brink of financial ruin. This is where having an ID protection service really pays off. Depending on the plan you choose, you can receive an insurance cover of up to $1 million for ID theft-related financial loss. Moreover, such services may also assign you a dedicated case officer to recover your accounts.
Final Verdict: Best Identity Theft Protection for You
All of the identity theft protection services featured in this article have pros and cons. And it would be naive to assume there is a one-size-fits-all service. We all have unique requirements and eventually, it will come down to the level of protection you deem appropriate and the amount you’re willing to spend. If you’re not exactly sure or just starting out, it’s great to start out with the cheapest possible option.
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