Best Identity Theft Protection Services

IdentityForce

  • 30-day free trial
  • Free child identity monitoring
  • Sex offender list

Lifelock

  • 401k and investing alerts
  • Offers family plan
  • Easy to navigate portal

Identity Guard

  • Family plans offered
  • IBM intelligent tracking
  • Moderately priced

ID Watchdog

  • Affordable plans
  • Offers family protection
  • All plans include credit monitoring

ADT Identity Theft Protection

  • Affordable
  • Accessible dashboard
  • Scans for medical insurance IDs

Best Identity Theft Protection Services

  • Identity Force — Best Overall Monitoring
  • LifeLock —  Best Money-Back Guarantee
  • IdentityGuard – Most Overall Coverage
  • ID Watchdog – Best Monitoring for Healthcare Professionals
  • EverSafe – Best Monitoring for Seniors
  • ADT Identity Protection – Longest Industry Experience

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is defined as unauthorized use of someone’s personal information – this includes Social Security numbers, credit cards, health insurance and other personal records. Once your personal information is exposed thieves may be able to take on your identity to open accounts in your name, get a passport, file a false tax return and more. 

Over 3 million identity theft and fraud reports were received in 2018, costing businesses and consumers $1.48 billion, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  While you can’t completely stop identity theft, you can shut down thieves before they cause damage to your digital life with either DIY or professional credit monitoring.

What is identity theft protection?

Professional identity theft services use a combination of technology and professionals to regularly scan databases and websites to detect unusual or suspicious activity. If fraudulent activity is detected, you’re immediately alerted via a mobile alert, email or text message. And if you fall victim to identity theft,  most providers will offer recovery assistance to secure your information from further harm.

Most providers offer individual plans and the whole family plans for $86-$240/yr., depending on the features selected and the number of people monitored.  Usually, if you choose to pay the annual price upfront, you’ll receive a discount lower than monthly pricing.

There are two types of services offered – credit monitoring and identity theft recovery. Credit monitoring services look for unusual activity in your credit file that may indicate your financial information is being used fraudulently. 

Signs you may be a victim of identity theft include:

  • Fraudulent credit card changes
  • Bogus loan applications
  • Social Security number for sale on the dark web

On the other hand, identity recovery services assist in financial and reputational recovery that include:

  • Freezing credit 
  • Correcting credit reports
  • Filing police reports
  • Closing accounts opened in your name. 

It should be noted that identity theft protection services do not prevent your identity from being compromised. Instead, it provides you with constant monitoring to immediately alert you to suspicious activity. Instant alerts provide you the opportunity to quickly take action to reduce the amount of damage identity theft can cause – if it goes undetected.

Compare Identity Theft Protection Services

IdentityForce

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Lifelock

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Identity Guard

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ID Watchdog

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Eversafe

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ADT Identity Theft Protection

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Starting monthly fees $12.99/mo. $9.99/mo. $7.20/mo. $14.95/mo. $7.49/mo. $9.99/mo.
BBB rating A+ A- A+ A+ A+ A+
Family plans Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A N/A
Recovery assistance Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Free trial 14 days 60 days 30 days N/A 30 days N/A

Best Identity Theft Protection Providers

IdentityForce

  • Starting price
    $12.99/mo
Our take

IdentityForce offers 24/7 identity protection support and real-time alerts if suspicious activity is detected by IdentityForce’s Certified Protection Experts. The team will keep a close eye on your information including the selling of your personal data and credit.

If your data is compromised, you’ll receive instant mobile alerts and experts will handle recovery on your behalf including phone calls, letters and an identity theft protection policy up to $1 million. IdentityForce offers free trials for families and businesses and plans start as low as $12.99/mo.

What we like

  • 30-day free trial
  • Free child identity monitoring
  • Sex offender list

What we don’t like

  • Phone call required for family plans
  • No retroactive identity recovery support
  • Only 2 plans offered

LifeLock

  • Starting price
    $9.99/mo
Our take

LifeLock is an industry leader committed to protecting your identity with Norton Security to keep a close watch on your information and devices. With LifeLock, experts will monitor your Social Security Number (SSN), devices and bank accounts. They’re also able to track any crimes in your name and monitor credit reports from all three credit bureaus.

LifeLock’s identity theft technology is designed to scan your account transactions every second to quickly spot any suspicious activity. LifeLock offers a Million Dollar Protection™ Package™ covering up to $1 million in stolen funds, attorney fees and stolen money. Plans for LifeLock coverage start as low as $9.99/mo.

What we like

  • 401k and investing alerts
  • Offers family plan
  • Easy to navigate portal

What we don’t like

  • Not all transactions are monitored
  • No educational tools or support
  • Top package is expensive

Identity Guard

  • Starting price
    $7.20/mo
Our take

Identity Guard uses IBM® Watson™ Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect identity threats using predictive analytics and provides recovery assistance. During set-up, you’ll be able to create a Watchlist for Identity Guard to monitor your email address, credit, accounts and phone numbers.

Identity Guard displays all of your personal information on an easy-to-use dashboard, and delivers instant alerts about activity that could be the earliest indication of identity theft or fraud. They’ve been trusted by more than 47 million customers, backed by over 20 years of experience, and plans start as low as $7.20/mo.

What we like

  • Family plans offered
  • IBM intelligent tracking
  • Moderately priced

What we don’t like

  • Limited recovery services
  • Lacks sex offender scanning
  • No money-back guarantee

ID Watchdog

  • Starting price
    $14.95/mo
Our take

ID Watchdog offers credit monitoring for all three credit bureaus and identity monitoring that regularly checks public records to spot any unfamiliar changes and transactions. This ID theft protection company helps keep your data safe with Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialists (CITRMS) that handle monitoring and identity restoration if you fall victim to ID theft.

ID Watchdog offers $1 million in reimbursement and guaranteed payment for recovery if ID theft happens with an ID Watchdog plan. ID Watchdog is dedicated to fighting identity theft by providing recovery assistance for non-customers that face identity theft and fraud.

What we like

  • Affordable plans
  • Offers family protection
  • All plans include credit monitoring

What we don’t like

  • Vague limit and benefit details
  • Website lacks family plan pricing
  • No credit reports or scores

ADT Identity Theft Protection

  • Starting price
    $9.99/mo
Our take

ADT Identity Protection helps protect your personally identifiable information with 24/7 professional monitoring and instant mobile alerts of suspicious activity. You’ll be able to easily review all alerts and reports using your smartphone and an easy-to-read dashboard.

ADT also offers fraud and ID theft recovery assistance with fraud resolution professionals and up to $1 million in reimbursement insurance. Help protect your information with ADT Identity Protection services starting at $9.99/mo.

What we like

  • Affordable
  • Accessible dashboard
  • Scans for medical insurance IDs

What we don’t like

  • Only one product offered
  • Enrollment required for non-credit monitoring

EverSafe

  • Starting price
    $7.49/mo
Our take

EverSafe analyzes your regular financial behavior, spots any irregular activity and immediately alerts you with an email, text message and notification using the EverSafe mobile app. If hackers get ahold of your identity, EverSafe specialists will work with you to create a recovery plan.

EverSafe offers bank, credit and investment account monitoring for you, your children and special assistance for seniors. You’ll be able to easily monitor all of your family’s individual accounts using one unified dashboard for your convenience.

What we like

  • 30-day free trial
  • Spousal coverage
  • Special protection for the elderly

What we don’t like

  • No ID theft monitoring in basic plan
  • Limited industry knowledge
  • Only top tier plans carry insurance

PrivacyGuard

  • Starting price
    $9.99/mo
Our take

PrivacyGuard provides credit reporting, monitoring, and identity theft protection services, backed by educational tools and resources. Professional recovery services help save valuable time and money if something goes wrong. With PrivacyGuard, there are a number of benefits beyond time and money savings. The major perks include up to $1 million in ID theft insurance coverage, professional recovery services in case of fraudulent activity, an annual public records report and a number of educational tools and calculators to help customers improve credit and manage debt. Privacy Guard gives you a 14-day trial period for $1, so you can determine if the service adds both protection and value.

What we like

  • VantageScore provided
  • Triple bureau credit monitoring
  • Selection of tiered protection

What we don’t like

  • Basic plan doesn’t include credit monitoring
  • History of complaints against parent company
  • No family plans

Showing 5 of 7 providers

Showing 7 of 7 providers

Identity Theft Shopping Factors

There are several factors to consider when shopping for your ID theft plan:

  • 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring

  • Insurance Coverage

  • Dark Web Monitoring

  • Educational Materials

  • Restoration Services

  • Mobile Apps & Dashboards

Top Identity Theft Monitoring Features

Family Plan Options

Children are the most vulnerable to ID theft, so it’s important a plan offers monitoring for the whole family. Many providers offer plans that cover a child as part of plan coverage or for an additional monthly fee.

Mobile App Accessibility

Look for a provider with a mobile app make reviewing transactions, credit scores and other information easy and convenient. You’ll receive instant alerts about any changes to your credit files.

Recovery Plan Assistance

The best plans offer services to reclaim your personal information in the event of identity theft. You’ll have assistance notifying the affected creditors and file the proper documentation to file police reports and more.

DIY Identity Theft Monitoring

You can also self-monitor your credit files, but don’t have the same technology professional services provide.  Most self-monitoring identity options range from free of charge to a very low monthly service fee. If you choose to monitor your identity and fall victim to identity theft, IdentityTheft.gov offers help with recovery plans, letters and forms if you choose to monitor your identity or credit using services like Credit Karma, or professional services that don’t offer recovery assistance.

There are a few ways to self-monitor your credit files:

  • Checking your credit reports at all three credit bureaus. You get one free credit report from each credit reporting agency, once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com.
  • Regularly review your bank and credit card account summaries and statements for any unauthorized transactions and changes.  
  • Freezing your credit report to prevent new accounts being opened without your permission. You’ll need to place a freeze on your credit for all three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This service is now free of charge to all U.S. residents.

It should be noted that identity theft protection services do not prevent your identity from being compromised. Instead, it provides you with constant monitoring to immediately alert you to suspicious activity. Instant alerts provide you the opportunity to quickly take action to reduce the amount of damage identity theft can cause – if it goes undetected.

Professional vs. DIY Protection

Professional ID Theft Protection

Professional identity theft protection services use a combination of technology and professionals to monitor your personal data. Identity theft protection services offer a variety of plans for most age groups and needs – including children and seniors. Most providers offer plans that include the whole family for $86-$240/yr., depending on the features selected and the number of people monitored. Usually, if you choose to pay the annual price upfront, you’ll receive a discount lower than monthly pricing.

It’s important to note the two types of identity theft services offered – monitoring and recovery. Monitoring identity theft services look for signs and alert you if your identity is stolen including credit card changes, loan applications and identity trade websites to share stolen information. On the other hand, identity recovery services assist in financial and reputational recovery that include help freezing credit, correcting credit reports, filing police reports and closing accounts opened in your name. Most professional identity monitoring services also offer up to $1 million in recovery costs.

DIY ID Theft Protection

There are a few ways to self-monitor your personal identity for free or at a low cost. One way is checking your credit reports at all three credit bureaus. You should also regularly review your bank and credit card account summaries and statements for any unauthorized transactions and changes. Lastly, freezing your credit report to prevent new accounts being opened without your permission. You’ll need to place a freeze on your credit for all three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This service is now free of charge to all U.S. residents.

Most self-monitoring identity options range from free of charge to a very low monthly service fee. If you choose to monitor your identity and fall victim to identity theft, IdentityTheft.gov offers help with recovery plans, letters and forms if you choose to monitor your identity or credit using services like Credit Karma, or professional services that don’t offer recovery assistance.

Identity Theft Protection FAQs

Why do I need an identity theft protection services?

You should consider identity theft protection if you’re worried about your personal information being stolen – especially in the Digital Age. Identity theft protection services can’t entirely prevent identity theft, but they can detect it quickly, which minimizes the financial toll. If you’ve misplaced your social security card or have been a victim of ID theft, you’ll also want to strongly consider a professional monitoring and recovery service.

How do I know my identity has been compromised?

Without a professional or DIY identity theft protection service, it’s nearly impossible to monitor every website or area where your personally identifiable data could be compromised, but the Federal Trade Commission offered a few common signs to watch out for: unauthorized and unexplainable transactions from your accounts, notices from debt collectors about an unfamiliar debt owed, bills from providers that you didn’t receive service for – such as medical bills, multiple tax returns filed on your behalf or a data breach letter from a company you have an account with.

What’s the difference between a data breach and identity theft?

During a data breach, hackers release unauthorized personal information on behalf of a company. A result of the data breach can be identity theft when hackers use your personal information without your permission to access bank accounts, take out loans or other risky behavior.

What do I do if I’m a victim of identity theft?

If you fall victim to identity theft there are a few immediate steps to take before creating a recovery plan. IdentityTheft.gov recommends immediately alerting the FTC, filing a report with your local police department, and notifying the company included in the theft. So, if you’re billed for a medical service you didn’t receive notify the medical provider immediately.


Dashia Starr

Written by

Dashia Starr