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Best Identity Theft Protection Services

Updated Dec 23, 2020

Best Identity Theft Protection Services

  • IdentityGuard – Best Overall Coverage
  • IdentityForce — Best Overall Monitoring
  • IdentityIQ — Best Credit Monitoring
  • LifeLock —  Best Money-Back Guarantee
  • 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.

Credit Monitoring

Credit monitoring involves having professionals keep track of your credit score for any changes. With identity theft protection services, you can have single-bureau credit monitoring or tri-bureau credit monitoring. They look for any changes with your credit, such as applications for credit cards or loans. If you’d rather monitor your credit on your own, you can get a free report from each of the three major bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

Identity Theft Monitoring

Identity theft monitoring slightly differs from credit monitoring in that this type of monitoring focuses on fraudulent use of your personal information. With identity theft monitoring, professionals look for suspicious activity with the use of your name, address, social security number, and additional information. There are additional types of identity monitoring including dark web monitoring, change of address monitoring, public records, and social media monitoring. In the event that your personal information is stolen or compromised, you can get assistance with recovery.

What Is Identity Theft Recovery?

Identity theft recovery involves having counselors or case managers work with you preventing further damage. Generally, some providers offer dedicated assistance for your case. These professionals help you to complete paperwork, contact your creditors, and work through the dispute process.

Compare the Best Identity Theft Protection Services

Each of our top identity theft providers offer the following services for your personal data protection.

- ID theft insurance
- Credit monitoring
- Bank account monitoring
- Identity theft monitoring
- Dark Web monitoring
- Recovery assistance

Check out some of the key differences in our comparison table below.
Identity Guard Logo

Identity Guard


Identity IQ

IdentityIQ


LifeLock

Lifelock


ID Watchdog


Eversafe


ADT Identity Theft Protection


Starting monthly fees
$8.99/mo. $9.99/mo.$8.99/mo. $9.99/mo.$14.95/mo.$7.49/mo.$9.99/mo.
Credit score simulator
NoYesYes NoNoYesNo
Social media monitoring
YesYesNo NoYesNoYes
Mobile app
Yes YesNo YesYesYesNo
Family plans
Yes YesYes YesYesYesNo
Trial Period
2 months of free service on annual plansVaries7 days 60 daysN/A30 daysN/A
BBB rating
A+A+A+FA+A+B+

Best Identity Theft Protection Providers

  • Best Overall Coverage
    Identity Guard Logo

    Identity Guard

    Starting at
    $8.99/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 $8.99/mo.

    Pros

    • Family plans offered
    • IBM intelligent tracking
    • Affordably priced

    Cons

    • Limited recovery services

    Research Identity Guard

  • Best Overall Monitoring
    identity_force_logo

    IdentityForce

    Starting at
    $9.99/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 $9.99/mo.

    Pros

    • 2 months of free service on annual plans
    • Mobile Device Protection
    • Investment Account Alerts
    • Family Plans Available

    Cons

    • Must upgrade plan to monitor both credit reports and scores
    • No retroactive identity recovery support

    Research IdentityForce

  • Best Credit Monitoring
    Identity IQ

    IdentityIQ

    BBB rating
    A+
    Starting at
    $8.99/mo

    Our take

    Founded in 2010, IdentityIQ seeks to help individuals protect their personal information through a variety of identity theft solutions. With 4 plans you can choose from, IdentityIQ offers theft protection solutions at affordable price-points, no matter if you just want the basics or if you want to safeguard your children. Offering up to $1 million in coverage and credit monitoring for the lowest tiered plan, you can feel more assured about protocols in place and a safety net if in the event your identity is ever stolen. They will also work with you through recovery and restoration. Learn more about the plans and features offered through IdentityIQ.

    Pros

    • Tri-bureau credit monitoring
    • Protection for family members
    • Up to $1 million in coverage

    Cons

    • Social media monitoring not available
    • No trial period for online registration

    Research IdentityIQ

  • Best Money-Back Guarantee
    LifeLock

    LifeLock

    Starting at
    $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.

    Pros

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

    Cons

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

    Research Lifelock

  • Best Monitoring for Healthcare Professionals

    ID Watchdog

    Starting at
    $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.

    Pros

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

    Cons

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

    Research ID Watchdog

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Features to Look for with ID Theft Protection Services

These are several features you should look for when choosing an ID theft protection service.
  • Tri-Bureau Credit Monitoring

    Having your credit report monitoring for each of the three main bureaus, Equifiax, Experian, and TransUnion, can provide you with a broader view of your credit score. You may not receive the credit score across all three bureaus, as each may have different scoring models, but this is a feature you’ll typically find with most identity theft providers, and we highly recommend it.

  • Dark Web Monitoring

    Not everyone online has good intentions. The dark web is a deeper part of the Internet where criminals may attempt to steal your personal information and misuse it. With dark web monitoring, those areas of the Internet are scanned to detect if your information is fraudulently used.

  • Insurance Coverage

    Most identity theft protection providers also offer insurance for expenses related to fraud loss and the recovery process. You’ll typically find that many providers have a $1 million cap. This is a helpful feature to have especially during the recovery process with any attorney fees and additional costs.

  • Restoration Services

    Another important feature you’ll want to look for is dedicated support for the recovery process. Find out if the provider you’re interested in allows you to have access to a counselor or specialist who will step you through the process of contacting any credit agencies, an attorney, and completing paperwork to get your identity back on your track.

  • Family Plans

    If you’re looking for identity protection for children, a spouse, or your parents, choosing a provider with a family plan or the ability to add on members of your household is important. With some providers you’ll find child social security monitoring and insurance coverage for family members.

  • Bank Account Monitoring

    Most identity theft providers also offer monitoring for your credit and debit accounts. With this service, you’ll get an alert in the event there is suspicious activity with your accounts. Additionally for good measure, you should also periodically check your credit and debit accounts to make sure that everything is as expected.

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 Identity Theft Monitoring vs. DIY Identity Theft Monitoring

Not sure if you should choose a professional service for monitoring your personal information? We break down some of the pros and cons for professional and DIY identity monitoring.

Professional Identity Monitoring

Pros

  • 24/7 surveillance of your personal information
  • Notifications and alerts of any changes

Cons

  • Giving a service access to your personal information
  • Paying for services that you may be able to handle yourself

DIY Identity Monitoring

Pros

  • Not spending funds on routine checks you can perform
  • Not having to give another company access to your personal information

Cons

  • May not catch certain suspicious activity such as over the Dark Web or on your credit report
  • May not catch suspicious activity in relation to a child or spouse

Identity Theft Protection FAQs


Dashia Starr avatar

Written by

Dashia Starr

Dashia researches and writes on all things home automation and security. She focuses on the latest news, products, and providers to share only the best with you.

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