The world of identity protection has changed significantly in the last few decades. With today’s technology, there are plenty of ways for fraudsters to obtain your personal information. This could be anything from your Social Security number to your bank details. These and other types of identity theft can cost individuals thousands - sometimes millions - of dollars, destroy their credit scores, and ruin their lives. Luckily, there are ways to prevent this from happening. Let’s go through some of the best identity theft protection programs to see how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.
- Insures up to $1 million
- Amazing packages
- Low prices
- Great credit protection
- Fantastic family packages
- Extra credit features
- Integrated with Norton antivirus software
- Excellent credit protection
- 60-day money-back guarantee
- Rated A+ by the BBB
- Deep monitoring
- Insured for $1 million
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is when your personal information is deliberately stolen for fraudulent purposes at your loss and the thief’s gain. Most of the time the information is related to finances, as fraudsters seek to access your credit card number, PIN, or other sensitive financial information.
Since the internet opened its gateways, it has become far easier for fraudsters to access your financial information. We input our financial information online all the time. Buying a pair of shoes, paying for an online class, or transferring money to someone – these all leave a trail of information behind. That’s why it’s important to investigate the best identity theft protection systems and keep on top of all the threats out there.
Your identity can be stolen in a number of different ways online. Unfortunately, online data breaches are now so common that they struggle to make headlines in today’s world. These attacks result in millions of people’s records being breached and then sold to third parties. While there is no surefire way to prevent breaches from happening, you can opt for an identity theft protection service, and that way you’ll at least be alerted if your information has been compromised.
Malware strikes are another monster. This is when malicious software attacks your computer or network of computers, yet again compromising your personal information and causing damage to the system as a whole. Fraudsters use malware to steal or monitor your activity. The best way to protect yourself from these attacks is through robust antivirus software or a firewall.
Unsecure websites can also put your information in jeopardy. This is when the website you’re browsing has been infiltrated and any personal information you disclose could be stolen. Thankfully, a lot of the best identity theft protection software – and even some standard web browsers – can warn you of this.
Using public Wi-Fi can also allow intruders to gain access to all the data you transmit over your connection. This could include banking information, passwords, and medical test results. It’s best not to make these kinds of transactions over a public network, but if you must, consider using a VPN.
Why Do You Need Identity Theft Protection?
Let’s make one thing clear first: Not even the best identity theft protection program can fully cover you. The name “identity theft protection” might actually be misleading since, at the end of the day, many protection software users end up having their identities stolen. You should look at it more like an insurance policy.
Identity theft protection has several functions. One of these is monitoring. These software programs scan the internet for your bank details and Social Security number to see if it’s being used by fraudsters. They’ll send you an alert if they notice any suspicious activity and if any further action is required.
The best protection for identity theft scans the dark web for your information, as this is the main marketplace for stolen data. Those who steal your information in the first place aren’t necessarily the ones who’ll go on to abuse it. Many times thieves sell your details to other fraudsters over the dark web. These fraudsters then use your information for their own financial gain. By having identity theft software scan the dark web for your information, you can find out if it has been compromised before a sale takes place. This enables you to freeze your account before anything bad happens.
The best identity theft protection companies will also help you recover your information and losses after a breach. This is one of the key reasons you should consider subscribing to a data protection company - it acts as insurance for your personal information.
Some of our top picks offer insurance of up to $1 million. Losses of finances are almost never anywhere near that high. Nevertheless, showing that they cover that much proves that these companies take their prevention work seriously. They obviously don’t want to be handing out payouts to unfortunate customers.
Identity theft is a serious matter. Therefore, you must be serious when choosing the best service for identity theft protection. There are many things to consider, so we’ve put forward a rigorous methodology to help break down the process and make it more straightforward for you to decide on a program that suits your needs.
Most services offer credit monitoring from three credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Note that Experian also provides some of the best identity theft protection, so we decided to include it in our review. These three bureaus monitor everyone’s credit. It’s always better to check that the identity theft protection uses all three bureaus, which means that anything conspicuous can be flagged sooner.
You should not only look at these programs as protection, but also as insurance in case you do get affected by identity fraud. Keep in mind that even those who take the precaution of having the best identity theft protection plans can also suffer financial loss. Having your identity stolen can not only have a financial impact, but it’s also a huge mental strain. Make sure that you can at least retain some of your pride by being able to recoup your losses. The high benchmark for insurance coverage is around $1 million, so keep an eye out for this figure.
The best identity theft protection companies provide more than just financial insurance. They will also help you recover your details to minimize the threat of having your identity misused again. Unfortunately, if your identity has been stolen, you are far more likely to suffer from theft again. That’s why it’s so important to opt for protection, especially if you’ve been affected in the past. The best identity theft protection reviews your situation by assigning you a case manager to look into your circumstances in greater detail. The company can help you have your documents notarized, thus making you less susceptible to future breaches.
Plans and Features
The key features of the plans offered by the company should also be scrutinized. Examine how you can access your account and how you receive alerts. Mobile apps are also a great bonus to have. Children are also susceptible to identity theft, so it’s worth checking out if the company of your choice offers the best identity theft protection for your family.
Pricing and Free Trial
Pricing for identity theft protection is fairly competitive, and what it covers is of good value if you feel susceptible to identity fraud. Some companies will provide you with a discount if you pay for an annual subscription, so look out for this kind of offer. The other thing we’d recommend you watch out for is the offer of a free trial.
If you are new to identity protection, you might not be too sure what you’re signing up for. By enjoying a free trial, you’ll be more certain as to whether you think the software helps you or not. Some of the best free identity theft protection trials last for 60 days, which is ample time to decide whether it’s something you want to purchase or not.
Best Identity Theft Protection
- Identity Guard
Best Identity Theft Protection Services: Reviews
- ⦿ IBM Watson AI
- ⦿ A+ BBB rating
- ⦿ High levels of alert
Founded in 2001, Identity Guard has quickly become one of the most trusted organizations with respect to online identity theft protection. It wins our pick of the best identity theft protection company overall.
Identity Guard hits top marks with regards to monitoring your credit. It uses all three credit monitoring bureaus to make sure that there are no inconsistencies with your banking. As well as this, Identity guard uses IBM Watson to scan the internet to look for the information that makes up your identity.
Another thing that makes Identity Guard a top pick is its alert system. Identity Guard has three alert tiers: critical risk to your finances, dark web alerts, and low-risk alerts such as a data breach. You’ll receive notifications immediately so that you can take further action if you believe the threat to be real and serious.
Another reason Identity Guard is one of the best identity theft protection products is its insurance plan. This plan insures you for up to $1 million, which is the barometer of strong identity theft coverage. This covers all levels of plans, meaning that you don’t have to pay for things you may not want in order to receive the right coverage.
If there’s a serious threat and your personal identity is stolen, Identity Guard will assign you a case manager to help you sort out the issue. This personal touch is reassuring; you’re not in this alone. A professional will be on hand to guide you through the next steps. Once they’ve helped recover your information, you can begin to move on with your life, having been helped by some of the best identity theft protection after a data breach.
Plans and Features
Identity Guard has three plans for you to choose from: Value, Total, and Ultra. The Value plan contains many great features, and the price is great for what you get. If you want to receive features such as your monthly credit score, three-bureau credit changes, requests to open a bank account in your name, or any account takeovers, you’ll need to upgrade to the Total or Ultra plans. Likewise, if you wish to receive three-bureau credit and social insight reports, the Ultra plan has you covered.
This company also offers you the option to cover your family for a small extra cost. This covers all adults and children in your household, making it one of the most comprehensive family plans you can find.
Pricing and Free Trial
Identity Guard offers some of the best and cheapest identity theft protection plans. The Value plan will cost you just $7.50 a month. Its higher-tiered plans can be a bit pricey compared to the competition, but they come with some great features. This company doesn’t offer a free trial, but it does give you a 30-day money-back guarantee when you opt for the annual plan. You’ll have to front a fair bit of money, but if you’re not happy with the service then there’s no problem leaving Identity Guard.
- ⦿ One of the three major credit bureaus
- ⦿ Excellent family protection
- ⦿ Top recovery team
An internationally acclaimed organization thanks to its work in credit monitoring, Experian offers high-quality identity theft protection.
Experian offers one of the best identity theft protection and credit monitoring services out there. Being one of three major credit bureaus, Experian has unfettered access to information and will have no trouble tracking down your credit reports. As well as using its own data, Experian also uses information from the other bureaus, meaning that the company is always on top of any inconsistencies.
Depending on the package, Experian can insure your losses up to $1 million.
As you can imagine, given Experian’s wider work, it has perhaps the best identity theft protection service and anti-fraud teams in the business. They’re there to help you get back on track if you’ve had your identity stolen. The actions that they take include disputing any fraudulent information with relevant financial institutions, seeing how to bump up your security, and being extra vigilant regarding your credit in the future. After Experian has confirmed that the activity was fraudulent with the relevant financial institutions, the blemish on your report will be removed.
Plans and Features
Experian has two plans: Plus and Premium. The key differences between the two is that the Premium plan comes with a quarterly three-credit bureau score and double the insurance payout. The plans, of course, go up in price if you upgrade them to include some of the best family identity theft protection. You can insure up to 10 children. These add-ons include sex offender alerts, accidental file sharing checks, and social media monitoring.
Pricing and Free Trial
Experian has decent pricing for its services. The Plus plan starts at $9.99 per month, while the Premium package is double the price unless you take up the family version of the service, which costs $29.99 for two adults and up to 10 children ($24.99 per month if paid annually). This means that regardless of whether or not you have children, you’ll save money if you and your partner want coverage, making this one of the best identity theft protection for couples.
Experian also offers a 30-day free trial so you can examine its services without making a commitment. Nothing needs to be paid upfront, and you can cancel at any time.
- ⦿ Top of the range mobile app
- ⦿ Good recovery plans
- ⦿ Prompt alerts
LifeLock’s reputation as a top identity theft protection provider was only improved when it was acquired by Symantec in 2017, joining the well-known Norton 360 antivirus company.
The best identity theft protection companies use the three bureaus to help them monitor credit reports. Lifelock is no different. It’ll scour the dark web and sort through other resources to make sure your personal information isn’t showing up where it shouldn’t be. However, this is only available on its highest-priced plan.
If a threat appears, you’ll receive an alert via phone, email, or the mobile app. LifeLock has perhaps the best identity theft protection app for Android and iOS, with a sleek interface and access to quick customer support service.
We don’t consider the insurance provided by LifeLock as being the strongest. Coverage of losses only extends to $25,000 on the Standard plan, and the benchmark of $1 million can only be found on the Ultimate plan. While a loss that high is extremely unlikely to happen, it’s nice to have your coverage extend as far as possible.
Despite the personal insurance on the Standard plan only going to $25,000, the plan covers you up to $1 million in recovery fees. This money goes towards lawyer fees and other costs associated with recovering your identity and trying to bring the perpetrators to justice. On top of that, you can claim up to $25,000 for any personal expenses that occurred due to your identity being stolen. As the plans go up, the identity theft best protection options improve significantly, as does the amount that you can claim for compensation.
Plans and Features
One of the standout features of LifeLock is that it’s combined with Norton 360 antivirus software, which is included in the price of all plans except the Standard package. This further helps alleviate threats to your personal identity and is our recommendation as being the best identity theft protection for antivirus threats.
We wouldn’t regard LifeLock as being great for families, as it costs $5.99 per child per month for coverage. Other identity theft protection companies offer this for a far more reasonable price, but if you have just one child to cover it might be worth it.
Overall, the features in the lower-tiered products are fairly limited. We would say that if you’re looking for advanced identity theft protection, the Ultimate Plus package has the most rigorous features to help keep your identity safe and is probably the best online identity theft protection plan on the market.
Pricing and Free Trial
LifeLock is the most expensive of the identity theft protection products we’ve reviewed, with the Standard package starting at $9.99 per month. The features in the lower-tiered packages are limited compared to other products.
One negative aspect of this service is that LifeLock’s prices increase after the first year. The Ultimate Plus package, for example, will cost an extra $90 per year in the second year. Make sure that you understand this before signing up so you don’t feel you’ve been misled when it comes time to renew your subscription.
LifeLock has a 60-day money-back guarantee when you pay for an annual subscription, which we regard as excellent.
- ⦿ Two-factor authentication
- ⦿ Great family plans
- ⦿ Great depth of monitoring
IdentityForce is a robust service that goes into great depth, making it one of the best–rated identity theft protection services. It’s rated A+ by the BBB, and we regard IdentityForce as being the most secure identity theft protection service.
IdentityForce has some of the most advanced monitoring in the business. It covers fraud, the dark web, payday loans, social media, addresses, and sex offender monitoring, going into great detail on each one. Credit monitoring isn’t available in the standard package, but if you upgrade to include it then you’ll receive excellent coverage and reports.
IdentityForce gets full marks from us on its insurance plans, as it covers $1 million in both packages.
If the worst happens then IdentityForce is there to help pick up the pieces and rebuild everything for you. The support team is available to do all of the heavy lifting for you, saving you potentially hundreds of hours in bureaucratic paperwork. It boasts a 100% identity recovery rate on its website, and promises to recover everything for you. With these words in place, it’s hard to beat IdentityForce as the best protection against identity theft.
Plans and Features
We particularly enjoyed feeling secure when using IdentityForce. It has two-factor authentication, which shows a willingness to keep you secure. IdentityForce also guarantees that it will defend your information like its own.
Child protection is available as an add-on for $2.75 per child on both packages, which is a low rate compared to the competition. Overall, IdentityForce offers some of the best identity theft protection family plans in the industry.
Pricing and Free Trials
IdentityForce has a simple pricing structure. You can pay to have credit monitoring added or choose to go without it. Without credit monitoring, it costs $17.99 per month or $179.90 a year, and with credit monitoring, it costs $23.99 per month or $239.90 per year. This is a fair bit more than some of IdentityForce’s competitors, but you can be assured that the depth of monitoring and protection can’t get much better.
IdentityForce also has a business protection package, but you’ll need to contact the company for further details on that.
Its free trial is only available on its lower-tiered package and lasts for 14 days. This isn’t as strong as some competitors’ offerings, but it’s still worth testing for yourself nonetheless.
Having reviewed a few of the top identity protection services, we found several that stood out strongly in various areas. When it comes down to the details, Identity Guard was our top pick. It has three plans that offer protection for both individuals and families. It’s simple to use and insures you for up to $1 million. Overall, it scores highly in every area, providing what we believe to be the best identity theft protection.
Identity theft affects more people than you might realize. Tens of millions of people around the world have had their identity stolen. But even so, identity theft protection isn’t necessarily for everybody. There are various steps you can take to protect yourself, such as regularly checking your accounts and credit and looking for inconsistencies. Identity protection services will do these tasks for you, as well as providing insurance and aid in your identity recovery. We wouldn’t consider them essential for everybody, but for a relatively low cost, you can have peace of mind knowing that should your information be compromised, help is on the way.
There are a few ways to find out if someone is misusing your identity by making regular credit checks. If you don’t wish to do it manually, we have reviewed some of the best personal identity theft protection services for you. These services go deeper than basic credit monitoring and give overarching monitoring over spaces including the dark web to make sure that your details are not being abused. Should the worst happen, they’ll aid you with insurance coverage and attempt to recover your identity.
There are various steps you can take to help secure your identity online. Make sure your passwords are discrete and secure, only shop on legitimate websites, and don’t give away too much information on social media. There is no way to secure yourself 100%, but we recommend seeing how the best identity theft protection sites can help. They’ll monitor the depths of the web for you, insure you, and aid you in recovering your identity if it’s stolen.