This will be a comparison between opposites. One of these services is affordable, extremely effective, and one of the best all around identity theft protection services on the market. The second is…none of these things. It should quickly become apparent which is which.
Why Should You Trust Us?
Our process is specially designed to get repeatable results based on real use cases. Each service is painstakingly tested by our experts over the course of about a month, and used in the same way any other normal user would. Our test information is realistic, and often changes, taking “risks” in order to ensure that alerts will show up on the service.
Once the testing time is up, the service is given a grade in each of the six primary categories we use to judge a service’s usefulness:
- Monitoring and alerts
- Threat resolution
- Ease of use
- Additional services
These categories are listed in order of importance, and heavily weighted on that importance. For example, the vast majority of a service’s score comes from the accuracy, speed, and breadth of the monitoring tools provided by the service, while any additional services they offer (like an antivirus option) don’t really move the needle much, acting mostly as a potential tiebreaker for services that have similar levels of performance.
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Do You Really Need Identity Theft Protection?
In this day and age, making sure you have at least basic identity monitoring and protection is something every responsible adult should consider.
Identity fraud is more common than it’s ever been, and it’s fast becoming one of the most likely crimes that many people will become a victim of.
The rise of the internet has led to many opportunities opening themselves up to people. Entertainment has been revolutionized, as have businesses. Online shopping, publishing, banking, and so on are commonplace. And now, even more traditional workplaces are allowing people to work from home.
All of these things are great. However, these benign opportunities for enriching your life are, sadly, coupled with increased opportunities for unscrupulous individuals to take advantage of people. And not just the incautious or gullible; the truth of the matter is that you can do everything right, take all possible precautions, and still be exposed by a data breach from a company that’s been negligent, or just got unlucky.
An identity theft protection service exists to give you advance warning about a data breach, so you can head off molehills before they become mountains. Most also offer insurance, so any lost money becomes a non-issue.
Given just how likely it is you could be the victim of identity theft, investing in at least minimal, cheap identity theft protection is an extremely good idea.
Quick Score Guide:
|Criteria||Identity Force (8.5/10)||Identity IQ (1/10)|
|Ease of Use||6/10||6/10|
|Monitoring and Alerts||9/10||0/10|
Ease of Use: Winner – Tie
Both services here have okay websites and dashboards.
Identity Force’s is a little better in my opinion, due to the layout that’s easier to navigate.
The site is very simplistic, though weirdly crowded. I’m not a fan of the sidebar with the news updates and the like, because none of it is especially useful. Still, the site is easy enough to navigate.
Identity IQ’s dashboard is likewise fine:
I definitely found it a bit more cumbersome to navigate, as there’s somewhat of a learning curve for where each of the links takes you, and there’s a lot of scrolling involved. It’s clearly inferior to Identity Force’s dashboard.
The main reason they get the same score? Identity Force makes it incredibly annoying to both sign up for and to cancel their service. Their retention department in particular is extremely pushy, and I had to very firmly tell them to stop calling me multiple times before they’d leave me alone. I’ve rarely had a similar experience with another service.
Monitoring and Alerts: Winner – Identity Force
Identity Force has extremely good monitoring for a service of its type. While it doesn’t cover the more niche options, like home title monitoring, that are very important to a subset of users, it covers all the bases that every user would want covered:
- Data breach and dark web monitoring
- Social security number monitoring
- Social media monitoring
- Credit monitoring
- Bank account monitoring
- Payday loan monitoring
The monitoring is very accurate, and picks up on new alerts quite quickly, which makes it one of the better options on the market for competent basic monitoring.
Identity IQ, by contrast, offers fewer types of monitoring, mainly only providing dark web monitoring and a smattering of the other minor monitoring types (like change of address monitoring).
But that doesn’t really matter, because Identity IQ is laughably incompetent at all of it.
Over the course of testing, I received zero alerts from identity IQ. There are somewhere between 5 and 10 alerts I expect to see from every new identity theft protection service I test, because the test information has a few “pre-seeded” fraud alerts that services should pick up.
These range in severity from a compromised email address from years ago on an old website – which is actually forgivable for some services to miss – to a spoofed phone number which all competent services should give an alert about.
Identity IQ, again, gives you nothing. Their service promises little and somehow manages to deliver on even less.
Threat Resolution Services: Winner – Identity Force
Identity Force edges things out here by a hair, as their customer support has a little more availability.
Being able to gain quick access to customer service after an alert pops up is key to the threat resolution department of any service like this, as it puts you on the road to resolving the threat and removing said alert as quickly as possible.
Neither service here offers 24/7 monitoring, with Identity Force being available 7 days a week, but only between the hours of 8 AM and 5:30 PM EST. This can make it annoying to get in touch with them on weekdays if you find it hard to take off work to get a phone call, or don’t have text alerts turned on for example.
Identity IQ is in a similar boat, though their daily hours are slightly broader. Identity IQ is open from 8 AM to 8 PM EST on weekdays, and 9 AM to 6 PM EST on Saturdays. So their daily hours are definitely better.
I think Identity Force having an entire extra day of availability edges things out, however, even without taking into account the fact that Identity IQ’s threat resolution department is technically worthless as their monitoring system is incapable of detecting threats for you to resolve in the first place.
Insurance: Winner – Identity Force
Identity Force offers the industry standard for insurance: two separate $1 million pools that can be used to reimburse lost funds and expenses accrued while trying to resolve an identity fraud event.
Identity IQ’s insurance isn’t terrible, but it is subpar, as you only get a single $1 million insurance plan that covers both, though to sweeten the deal every one of their plans comes with $25, 000 in family insurance coverage for lost funds, which is a nice bonus.
Cost: Winner – Identity Force
Let’s ignore the concept of “value” for a moment, and just take a look at identity IQ’s prices in a vacuum.
This…is a lot of money. The first notable thing here is that Identity IQ offers separate monthly and annual plans. For most services, this makes sense. The typical benefit of an annual plan is you pay a higher up front fee, for what is essentially a “bulk discount” on the service. If their month to month cost is $20 (or $240 per year), then the price for signing up for an annual plan will be something like $200, saving you a total of $40 over the course of the year.
This is a good incentive for many customers to commit to a year with the service if they decide they like it after the one-month free trial most services offer.
Apparently, whoever is in charge of pricing Identity IQ did not get that memo. The annual plan is exactly the same as the monthly plan, allowing you to lock yourself into a one year contract with the service for precisely zero benefit to yourself.
This is a shame, as the prices for this service are ridiculously high, even taken on its own.
When compared with what the service offers on paper (extremely basic monitoring), it looks even higher. When compared with what the service actually provides (essentially nothing)..well, any price is too high, but you get the picture nonetheless.
Contrast that with Identity Force which, as we’ve established, provides infinitely better performance and insurance, combined with arguably superior threat resolution.
Even Identity Force’s most expensive plan is cheaper than Identity IQ’s equivalent. Even better…to get the full performance package that identity Force offers, you actually only need the cheaper plan there, as the credit monitoring is pretty much superfluous. You can get equivalent or even better monitoring for free from sites like Credit Karma, at the cost of getting a few too many emails from them.
So, Identity Force costs close to half of what Identity IQ’s “Secure Max” plan does, and provides quite literally infinitely more security since, again, Identity IQ does not work.
The sheer gall that Identity IQ has to charge this much for such a shoddy service is appalling.
Additional Services: Winner – Identity IQ
Identity IQ offers an antivirus service and a VPN for an additional charge over their already high price. These services are actually pretty decent for what you pay, so they have that going for them.
By contrast, Identity Force has a free VPN that comes with its service, but it’s not very good.
Identity IQ wins this one by the barest of margins, and if the services were even a dollar more expensive I would have called this a tie.
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Conclusion: Winner – Identity Force
Identity IQ is an absolute disgrace of a service that delivers on none of its promises, and worse…would be severely overpriced even if it did.
Identity Force is better in every way that matters. Its monitoring not only works, but it works very well, comparing favorably to the absolute best on the market in speed and accuracy, if not breadth of monitoring types. It hits the high market standard for insurance, provides competent threat resolution, has a solid website, and even provides an extra service, however minor.
Despite my gripes with the tenacity of their retention teams souring my last impressions with the service, I still judge Identity Force as one of the best services on the market, and certainly one of the best values with its performance and low price point combined.
Identity IQ would compare extremely poorly even if its product description matched how it actually performs. As it is, I barely have the words to describe how angry I am at this service for wasting my time.
If you’re looking for a budget service that provides stellar performance, it’s hard to do better than Identity Force, and I’d recommend most people new to shopping around for identity theft protection to try it out for a month and see if it meets your needs.
If you’re looking for a premium service more in Identity IQ’s price range, there are many, many better options out there that promise a whole lot more and actually deliver above and beyond what their description tells you about the service.
There is no world in which I recommend Identity IQ to any user.
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