IdentityForce vs Costco Complete ID

When it comes to identity theft protection, looking for budget options is always something you at least  want to consider. The higher profile services are often the best you can get, but depending on your own circumstances, they may actually be a bit overkill, in terms of both price and function.

Smaller, more cost-effective services are often quite a good pick for many people. This is a comparison between two of these types of service; sort of. I’ll get into more detail later on why one of these services may not be as cheap as it appears at first glance.

Let’s get to it.

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Why Should You Trust Us?

Identity Theft Protection

Our process is designed to get repeatable results that map perfectly to a normal user experience. We search for the best deals, sign up for our test information, and then test each service over the course of about a month of normal use.

We take a hard look at all of the service’s features, divided into six primary categories:

  1. Monitoring and alerts
  2. Threat resolution
  3. Insurance
  4. Ease of use 
  5. Cost
  6. Additional services

The service gets a grade in each category, and a final score is given to the service based on a  combination of these scores.

The first three categories are weighted the most, and determine the majority of the score, while the final three categories act more as tiebreakers and interesting features to round out the score.

Monitoring is the number one feature we look into for each service, as it’s the primary means of figuring out whether an identity theft protection service is worth anything. Most other features are negotiable, but monitoring is not. Poor monitoring means a low score, regardless of other factors.

Do You Even Need Identity Theft Protection?

Cyber security concept, Businessman hand using smartphone with lock icon, protection network and internet, copy space.

While “need” may be a strong word, “strongly recommended” is something I’d say, at least.

Identity theft protection is quite possibly the most important form of security you can invest in right now. Yes, more so than home security, depending on where you live.

Identity theft and online fraud are rapidly becoming one of the primary threats someone can face. Doing business online has become more and more common, with a lot of businesses having access to your name, home address, phone number, credit card information, and maybe even more.

A data breach to one of these businesses can be devastating to you, and in some cases lead to all of your accounts being compromised if you share passwords and usernames between different accounts.

Identity theft protection services give you early warning for stuff like this, and also tools to help resolve the issue.

On top of that: insurance. Because it never hurts to have financial aid on tap if someone steals from you, or worse.

Ease of Use: Winner – IdentityForce

I’m not a big fan of either of these services when it comes to ease of use, but Identity Force edges out Costco’s Complete ID system here just a little bit.

Identity Force’s dashboard is miles better, and I quite like how it’s laid out.

Identity Force's dashboard

It’s a bit cluttered, especially on the sides, but you get a lot of useful information up front.

My main issue in terms of user friendliness is Identity Force’s signup process…as well as their cancellation process.

Signing up takes an unnecessarily long amount of time, and it’s more complicated to do than anything else out there. Cancellation is likewise annoying as it can only be done via phone, and their customer service representatives are trained to be very persistent and even somewhat aggressive about retention. I’ve never had as much trouble canceling a service, nor been pestered so often after doing so.

Costco Complete ID is better in that regard, but in terms of the overall moment-to-moment workings of the site I find it falls short.

Costco CompleteID dashboard

It’s a barren-looking page with a lot of unused space. This makes it more annoying to navigate than it needs to be, as using the service involves a lot of scrolling up and down the page to find the exact link you’re looking for.

Basically, once you’re into Identity Force, you should have a pretty good time using it. Costco will always be annoying, even if signing up is easier.

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Monitoring and Alerts: Winner – IdentityForce

For a service of its size, Identity Force is a real powerhouse when it comes to monitoring. In terms of breadth, it rivals the big boys on the market in many ways, offering all of the core options you’d expect from a service like this:

  • 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 activity monitoring

This covers anything you’ll need in day to day life for most users. All Identity Force lacks are the very specialized (though often important) monitoring tools like home title monitoring, which is forgivable for a smaller service like this.

Complete ID, meanwhile, falls short in this regard. It covers about half the situations there, and misses out on some of the most important, like the advanced fraud monitoring features.

In terms of accuracy and speed, Complete ID also falls short of Identity Force, which is blindingly fast and offers a lot of detail. Its instruments are obviously pretty sensitive. Getting an alert from the Costco systems usually takes a bit longer, and it doesn’t always catch 100% of the things it’s supposed to get.

The one main thing Complete ID has going for it there is that its sex offender and criminal registry monitoring systems (billed as “neighborhood watch alerts”) are extremely detailed, which is a good feature if that is one of the alert types you’re most concerned about due to living in a high crime area.

Threat Resolution Services: Winner – Costco Complete ID

completeid

Credit where it’s due, Costco Complete ID gets customer service all the way right. 24/7 access to customer support is one of the primary things an identity theft protection service should provide to its customers.

Identity Force offers more limited hours, being available from 8 AM to 5:30 PM (EST). While open 7 days a week, this does make them a bit harder to get in touch with if you get an alert in the middle of a workday and can’t deal with it immediately.

As neither offers other resolution services, unlike some of their competitors, this is a clear win for Costco here.

Additional Services: Winner – Tie?

This is impossible to call, as Identity Force offers very little in terms of additional services, and Complete ID has an N/A in this column for a reason, which we’ll get to later.

Suffice to say that Identity Force gives you access to some pre-filled forms that can help you cut down on solicitation from various companies, but not much else.

Complete ID is, arguably, an “additional service” rather than the main course. This is, obviously, an odd situation.

If Identity Force had more going for it, I’d give it the win, but as-is it’s not a win or loss for either.

Insurance: Winner – IdentityForce

Identity Force has insurance of a quality similar to what I expect from the biggest names in the business: $1 million for reimbursement of lost funds and expenses, calculated separately. This can give you up to $2 million in coverage if your needs happen to extend that far.

Complete ID’s insurance isn’t bad actually, but it’s essentially half of what Identity Force offers. They give you $1 million in insurance, but expenses and lost funds are pooled together, so you never get to double dip.

So, Identity Force just has quantifiably better insurance.

Cost: Winner – IdentityForce

Here’s where we sort of get down to the nitty gritty of what makes Costco Complete ID a bit of a headache to review, and separate from that, in my opinion one of the worst deals on the market if we’re talking purely about how much it would cost to gain access to their identity theft protection.

At first glance, their prices are extremely reasonable.

Business and Gold Star
Executive
Price
Individual Monthly
Business and Gold Star
$13.99 /month
$167.88/year
Executive
$8.99 /month
$107.88/year
Child Identity Monitoring
Business and Gold Star
$3.99 /month
$47.88/year
Executive
$2.99 /month
$35.88/year

$13.99 a month is what I’d expect to pay for a service with its level of utility, though it may be a bit overpriced compared to a few notable low budget competitors that offer better service. Still, it’s not bad. $8.99 per month is an excellent price, and very hard to beat for what you get.

If these were the actual prices, this would be a different discussion and Complete ID would be the winner in this category.

Unfortunately, they are not, due to one simple fact: Costco Complete ID is only available to Costco members. This means you’re tacking on an extra $60 (for Business and Gold Star members) or $120 (for Executive members) onto the base price here to gain access to this service. That’s $227.88 per year for both services, or the equivalent of about $18.99 per month, with either $60 or $120 being owed up front, as Costco memberships are on a yearly basis only.

That is quite a bit less of a deal for what Costco Complete ID offers, especially compared to Identity Force.

Individual Plan
Family Plan
Price
Individual Monthly
UltraSecure
$17.99 /month
$215.88 /year
UltraSecure+Credit
$23.99 /month
$287.88 /year

So Identity Force’s cheapest plan is already $1 less than Costco Complete ID. Now, you might wonder, does that mean Complete ID wins out against Identity Force’s more expensive plan? And the answer would be yes…technically.

The problem with Identity Force’s more expensive plan is that “+Credit” part. You’re paying an extra $6 a month for credit monitoring.

This is ludicrous. For one, that is all you’re paying for; it adds no other new capabilities. And two, you can get credit monitoring of the same or better quality for free from services like Credit Karma.

Essentially, there’s no reason to even mention Ultrasecure+Credit. UltraSecure is the only real identity theft protection plan here, and it’s a better deal than Complete ID.

Not only is it cheaper, it’s better, in just about every conceivable respect, besides the neighborhood watch alerts.

This, really, is where Complete ID falls flat. It’s a middle of the road service with prices rivaling services that are much, much better.

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Conclusion: Winner – IdentityForce

identifyforce

Complete ID simply doesn’t stack up to most other options on the market for identity theft protection. This isn’t just because of its high price point, but because of its performance, which is thoroughly mediocre in most respects.

Identity Force by contrast is exceptional in almost every regard, merely lacking in a bit of customer service availability and a few monitoring tools compared to the top dogs on the market. The choice here is clear, really. There are very few services I’d recommend Costco’s Complete ID identity theft protection over, and Identity Force is not one of them.

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