Identity Force has long been one of my favorite budget identity theft protection services, able to stand up to the giants of the industry in a surprising way given how relatively small and unknown it is.
The budget nature of the service makes it a great fit for many people who can’t afford a more robust service, or simply don’t need the additional features. So let’s see what it looks like in comparison to Aura, and whether that trend holds.
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Why Should You Trust Us?
Our process is laser-focused on achieving repeatable, realistic results using a simple and thorough testing process. Our experts sign up for each service the same way a normal user would, and let it simmer in the background, making small changes to the test information to see how the service responds, and how fast.
At the end of the testing period, usually about a month, we tally up the service’s performance in each of the six key areas that make up each service:
- Monitoring and alerts
- Threat resolution
- Ease of use
- Additional services
These categories are heavily weighted toward what we find to be the most important features that define how good a service actually is at being an identity theft protection service. Some features are negotiable.
For example, something doesn’t necessarily need to be cheap so long as it performs well, so the cost of a service has a very low weight when determining the final score, unless the price is grossly out of whack with what the service provides. By contrast, the power of a service’s monitoring tools isn’t negotiable at all. Poor monitoring results in a low score regardless of whether everything else is very good or not.
A combination of the scores in each category then makes up the service’s final score, and determines whether we can recommend it or not, and whether there are any major caveats in that recommendation.
Why is Identity Theft Protection Even Important?
If you’re reading this article, you’re using the internet. And chances are, you use it frequently for all sorts of stuff. Whether it be for business or pleasure, the internet has been evolving with us and shaping our culture for a while now.
In the modern day, business transactions are often done online, and a wide variety of personal information is stored digitally even if you went through the effort of giving that information manually.
That information is vulnerable to data breaches, and identity theft events and fraud have been rising exponentially on the web for many years.
The last couple of years, with many people starting to work from home even if they hadn’t been allowed to before, were the straw that broke the camel’s back. The floodgates have opened and are not likely to close again.
The ability to work remotely is a great thing for a lot of people, but it does pose some inherent security risks.
Identity theft protection, even some of the most basic protection you can get, helps to alert you when your information has been breached and is being used suspiciously. It also provides a bit of insurance for any money that might be lost if, for example, someone gets a hold of all the information they need to brute force your bank account’s password and siphon off all your money.
Getting identity theft protection is a natural, basic step in personal protection everyone should take, both for themselves and for the well-being of their family.
Quick Score Guide:
|Criteria||Aura (9.5/10)||Identity Force (8.5/10)|
|Ease of Use||7/10||4/10|
|Monitoring and Alerts||10/10||9/10|
Ease of Use: Winner – Aura
I’m not a huge fan of either of these website layouts, but where I feel Aura’s is primarily disappointing, I think Identity Force’s dashboard is actively pretty bad.
They both have the same issue, to different extents. They’re a bit cluttered, and have a lot of wasted space.
Aura shunting its alerts up to the top right corner, and filling the page with mostly useless buttons (five out of seven of these options will be pressed and then never touched again) is annoying, but mostly harmless. Navigating its features list is slightly cumbersome, especially compared to its predecessor (Identity Guard), but it’s largely functional.
Identity Force’s dashboard layout is just a mess.
It’s very cluttered, much of it is taken up by the largely useless sidebar full of articles, and I’m overall not a fan of how its tabs are organized. The only thing of value on the dashboard is showing the alerts; everything else is just fluff.
Both of these services could stand to go back to the drawing board here, because this just isn’t appealing or very easy to use compared to many options on the market.
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Monitoring and Alerts: Winner – Aura
Identity Force actually offers a pretty impressive suite of monitoring tools, covering most of the basics. These include:
- Advanced Fraud monitoring
- Change of Address monitoring
- Court Records monitoring
- Dark Web monitoring and data analysis
- Sex Offender monitoring
- Payday Loan monitoring
- Bank and Credit Card monitoring
The monitoring is also lightning fast, and exceptionally accurate, giving no false positives that I’ve seen and enough detail to follow up on any alerts and double check or take action if needed.
Unfortunately for Identity Force, Aura takes this a step further. While a bit slower on average (it takes about an hour for an alert to hit as opposed to the minutes or even seconds of Identity Force), that difference is negligible in the grand scheme.
In exchange, everything else about it is better. It has more detail and a higher breadth of coverage, offering things like home title monitoring, as well as 401(k) and investment monitoring at its highest tier of service.
These are more niche monitoring tools for sure, but if you own a home or are already planning ahead for retirement (as you should be), these are invaluable tools.
All of this is well worth a bit of loss in speed, though if you find you don’t have a need for those more advanced monitoring tools, Identity Force is still very impressive, and easily competes with the other top tier identity theft protection services on the market.
Threat Resolution: Winner – Aura
This comes down to one major factor: availability.
The backbone of any identity theft protection service’s threat resolution suite comes down to its customer service. In terms of competence, I have found very little difference between the services I’ve tested; all of their representatives are friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable, either on their own or as a team; I’m not going to fault one person for not knowing the answer to a question if they can kick it up the chain and I can get an answer from someone else in a reasonable time.
I could give a slight edge to Aura here, as they tend to have more experienced representatives on average (their average customer support team member having about 7 years of experience), but that’s not what really clinches this.
The main difference, as I said, is availability. Aura’s customer service team is available 24/7, with no holidays. If you’re in a crisis you can contact them any time of the day or night and have it sorted out.
By contrast, Identity Force only has availability between the hours of 8 AM and 5:30 PM (EST) every day. Now I do mean every day, they are open all 7 days of the week, but while that availability is quite good (far better than the average service), it can’t compete with 24/7 availability.
Insurance: Winner – Aura
Identity Force has a very good insurance plan: $1 million in coverage for lost funds and expenses, separately.
This is what I’d call the industry standard, and would usually result in a tie. Aura, though, offers something I haven’t seen in another service: a higher tier of insurance available to “Executive” members…which for some reason is defined as, anyone with the Ultra tier plan.
This offers $5 million in lost funds reimbursement on top of the $1 million in expenses. For each adult enrolled in a family plan on the same account.
That’s…a lot of coverage, and it’s not something Identity Force can compete with.
Additional Service: Winner – Aura
This is a bit of a wash, but the edge goes to Aura. It provides a WiFi security feature, which acts as an extremely limited VPN, alongside an antivirus service. Both are subpar, but much better than nothing, and I won’t fault them for giving you something for free.
Identity Force likewise has a lackluster VPN service, but no antivirus; instead they have pre-filled forms you can send off to cut down on solicitations from some businesses.
On the whole, I’d rather have the okay antivirus than the forms (which you can seek out on your own for free anyway), so Aura takes it.
Cost: Winner – Aura
Identity Force is a perfect confluence of being very cheap, but also very good. It only has one “true” tier of service that includes all of the identity theft protection features, plus optional credit monitoring.
You can easily forego the credit monitoring to save $6 per month and not feel the sting, because you can get credit monitoring for free from a plethora of places like Credit Karma; I don’t really factor it in as a major feature of identity theft protection services at all.
Aura is no slouch either, costing only marginally more at its highest tier, as long as you use our affiliate code for 50% off.
So if you want the credit monitoring, it’s better to go with Aura. More to the point, it’s better to go with Aura under several circumstances, primarily if you need the extra monitoring features…or if you need a family plan.
Identity Force really drops the ball on family plans, because they don’t have any. You have to buy a separate account for a spouse, or child monitoring separately.
By contrast, Aura has one of the most flexible and inexpensive family plans on the market, allowing up to 10 individuals on any family plan. That’s right, individuals, not a specific number of adults plus a specific number of children. You could have 10 adults, 1 adult and 9 kids, 5 adults and no kids, etc.
Whatever combination you can think of, it works, with the only restriction being that all children on the plan need to be under the legal guardianship of the account holder.
This is an insane amount of value, and makes Aura the best option for family protection on the market by an extremely wide margin.
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Conclusion: Aura vs IdentityForce (Winner – Aura)
Identity Force is an extremely good little budget identity theft protection service, with an excellent price point and equally good performance.
There just aren’t really any reasons to pick Identity Force over Aura, which it does pain me to admit. I really like Identity Force as a small service, but sometimes ‘the little engine that could’ gets matched up against a high-tech bullet train and it turns out it just…can’t. No matter how much you root for the underdog, it’s not going to catch up in this instance.
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