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Costco’s Complete ID service is pretty good as these things go, but no service is perfect, and Complete ID is far from it at that. All services have advantages and disadvantages over other options out there, so it’s always worth looking to see what your options are when you’re shopping around and how each service stacks up to the others.
Costco Complete ID Quick Review
Complete ID is, at first blush, a low-cost identity theft protection service offered by Costco that gives basic but significant protection at a good price.
And in some ways this is true. However, the cost efficiency of the product comes into question when you take into account the main “gimmick” of the service: it is only available to Costco customers.
This jacks up the price considerably if you’re not already a Costco customer and/or have no particular need for the membership.
However it does provide quite a good value if you’re an existing member and a surprisingly good service for what you’d expect from something offered as a discount identity theft protection option by Costco and backed by Experian (whose own primary service, IdentityWorks, I am not very impressed by).
It gives you what I’d call the bare minimum of identity theft protection, primarily in the form of data breach and dark web monitoring and not much else.
However what little it provides is done impeccably well, with a very high level of accuracy and detail in the information it monitors, particularly when it comes to their sex offender registry monitoring.
They also offer 24/7 customer support (a rarity in the industry) and close to the full industry standard $1 million insurance plan, though it is a bit more limited than other options as it only covers up to $1 million in lost funds and expenses combined, rather than $1 million for each.
All in all, not too bad for what it is.
Best Overall: Identity Guard
Identity Guard is the best all around identity theft protection service on the market. While there are several options out there that match it on several levels, and exceed it in some of the categories I use to rate these services, none of them match it in all of the key areas out there.
The Identity Guard Ultra plan is far and away the best service out there in terms of raw monitoring power, breadth, and speed especially for the cost.
It covers everything you’d expect to find in a high-end monitoring service:
The only other option here that matches it in terms of breadth is LifeLock’s Ultimate Plus plan, with Complete ID covering a very narrow slice of these options, and IDShield covering about half of what Identity Guard offers.
Of these, only IDShield matches it in terms of accuracy and speed (though Complete ID does exceed it in raw level of detail for the few things it does monitor).
Likewise, no other service here matches Identity Guard’s raw value when it comes to family plan coverage, as their family plans don’t actually cost much extra over what their individual plans do in the grand scheme, giving coverage for two adults and up to 10 children under the same household at a reasonable price.
Rounding things out is a top-of-the-line customer service team (though with less availability, as Identity Guard has limited business hours) and the best insurance on the market.
Best For the Same Price: IDShield
IDShield offers a service at the exact same monthly price as Costco Complete ID for Business and Gold Star users…but better, in pretty much every conceivable way.
It has broader monitoring with an equal amount of speed and accuracy, if less detail on some aspects (like the sex offender registry monitoring) and an even better insurance plan to boot, being largely identical to Identity Guard’s plan.
While its customer support is worse, having very limited hours, the tradeoff of just having an all around better service at a similar price (or a MUCH lower one if you have no interest in a Costco membership) is well worth it.
If you’re looking for a budget friendly, powerful identity monitoring service, IDShield is really your way to go over Costco Complete ID. Though, like Complete ID, it has terrible value on its family plan deals, sadly.
Best Additional Value: LifeLock
Norton’s LifeLock service is pretty much the best around when it comes to giving you a ton of different things alongside your identity theft protection.
Their identity monitoring services aren’t the best out there, but they’re not bad either. The breadth is equivalent to Identity Guard’s Ultra plan, assuming you go for LifeLock’s Ultimate Plus tier plan, so you’re getting a full range of monitoring, including the ever-important home title monitoring and protection, and the accuracy is decent as well (though it doesn’t hold a candle to IDShield or Identity Guard). The main drawback of LifeLock’s monitoring is the speed…or lack thereof. The service takes days to throw up alerts that most other services would show you instantly, and completely misses out on some major and more minor alerts I’d expect to see.
Still, it’s overall quite good, and balanced out by how much else you get rolled into the cost.
The main star of the show here is access to a VPN service. Not only are VPNs great to have for internet security, as it helps hide your information from people online, it’s just all around a nice service to have for all the other benefits it provides.
Being able to trick websites into thinking you’re logged on from a different country allows you to access content that may be region locked, such as Netflix shows that are only available in certain countries, or local news websites from around the world that may be difficult to access otherwise. It also does a bit to stop targeted ads from appearing based on your web searches, which is great if you’re tired of Google or Facebook pretending it knows what you want to see.
Alongside this you get Norton’s antivirus service, which is also a good value, and a quite competent antivirus option.
Both of these would normally cost you a monthly fee on their own, so getting them rolled into the cost of your identity theft protection is good, even if it does jack up the price of LifeLock’s service a bit.
Finally, you get their Norton 360m security suite, which is…fine. It’s honestly just a bunch of stuff you could get for free elsewhere, but not having to download separate programs for each function is convenient if nothing else.
Rounding things out is LifeLock’s excellent 24/7 customer service, great insurance (though only with Ultimate Plus, as that’s the only tier that gives a full $1 million in coverage) and relatively cost effective family plans.
Of particular note LifeLock offers a “LifeLock Jr.” service, much like Complete ID’s child protection, for a flat fee per month if you need to cover a child and have no spouse to cover.
Complete ID is not a bad service, per se, but it is unfortunately overshadowed by a wide variety of other identity theft protection options out there. Whether they offer more for the price or just more in general, most other options are going to be better for the average user than Costco’s Complete ID service, though it is far from the worst service out there and does have some merits if you’re already an existing Costco member.
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