Identity theft protection services can help prevent someone from hacking into your brokerage account or using your personal information to open a new credit card in your name. Without this type of protection, your sensitive personal details and financial information may be susceptible to theft and fraud, making you an easy target for hackers and thieves.
Identity Theft is a Real Problem
Unfortunately, instances of identity theft are far too common. According to a 2019 report from Javelin Strategy and Research, over 14.4 million consumers were victims of identity theft in 2018, which is down slightly from a record high of 16.7 million victims in 2017. In 2018, victims also bore the responsibility of $1.7 billion in out-of-pocket costs related to this type of fraud.
If you want to protect yourself from financial losses and stress caused by identity theft, your best bet is paying a third party to oversee your credit reports and other sensitive details to keep an eye out for fraud around the clock. Obviously, this is a much better idea than trying to watch over all three of your credit reports and all of your accounts yourself, which is the ultimate exercise in futility.
But, which service should you choose? Selecting an identity theft monitoring company may not be easy since dozens of players offer identity theft protection services, credit monitoring, and packages that combine a variety of these services for one monthly price.
For this guide, we compared all the top identity theft protection companies in terms of their included services, ongoing costs, and overall value. Identity Guard came out on top for its comprehensive identity theft and credit monitoring plans, but there are a few other companies that made the cut for our ranking. Before you sign up for this important protection, keep reading to see how the top companies compare.
The Best Identity Theft Protection Services of 2020
The best identity theft protection companies offer a broad range of important services that protect you against identity theft and other types of fraud. The companies that made our ranking offer some of the most comprehensive coverage money can buy for a price most people could justify and afford.
*Family plans are also offered at slightly higher rates.
Best Overall Coverage
Get Identity Guard
Norton 360 with LifeLock Select ($8.99/mo)
Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage ($17.99/mo)
Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus ($25.99/mo)
Best for Online Security
ReliaShield Essential ($7.99/mo)
ReliaShield Prime ($14.99/mo)
ReliaShield Elite ($23.99/mo)
*Family plans are also offered at slightly higher rates.
Best for Family Coverage
Individual Plan with 1 Bureau ($12.95/mo)
Individual Plan with 3 Bureaus ($17.95/mo)
Family Plan with 1 Bureau ($25.95/mo)
Family Plan with 3 Bureaus ($32.95/mo)
Best Free Trial
Best Identity Theft Protection Services Reviews
We shared some of the basics of each plan we’re profiling in the table above, but the whole story isn’t told there. To find out which company might work best for your needs, you should read more about plans offered by each company and everything that’s included.
The reviews below include all the highlights of each identity theft company as well as where they might fall short.
Identity Guard secured the top spot on our list thanks to its robust identity theft coverage combined with credit monitoring, as well as the overall affordability of their plans. After all, their Premier plan is only $20.83 per month, yet it includes dark web monitoring, monitoring of all three credit reports, tax refund alerts, and more.
Identity Guard’s basic plan is only $7.50 per month, and their mid-tier Total plan is $16.67 per month. However, note that all three identity monitoring plans from Identity Guard come with $1 million in identity theft insurance. You can also pay slightly more for a plan that covers everyone in your family, including minor children.
Why It Made the List: Identity Guard offers comprehensive identity theft protection for individuals and families, and their pricing is some of the most affordable overall.
What Holds it Back: Identity Guard doesn’t offer a free trial, so you’ll have to commit to a year of membership upfront.
LifeLock offers comprehensive identity theft coverage that may work best for consumers who want additional protection online. A standard LifeLock membership is only $8.99 per month, yet you can pay the same for a membership with the addition of Norton 360 computer software. Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage is only $17.99 per month, whereas Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus membership is only $25.99 per month.
All of LifeLock’s plans included tiered levels of coverage and oversight meant to protect you from identity theft. They also include different levels of identity theft insurance and coverage for personal expenses and reimbursement of stolen funds.
Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus membership may be the best deal since you receive identity theft insurance, up to $1 million in coverage for reimbursement of stolen funds, credit monitoring of all three bureaus, bank account and credit card activity alerts, 401(k) and investment account activity alerts, and more for just $25.99 per month for the first year.
Why It Made the List: While LifeLock doesn’t offer a free trial, they do offer a 60-day money-back guarantee. This gives you almost two months to try out the service and see how well it works.
What Holds it Back: LifeLock offers lower rates for the first year, but prices for your plan will go up after 12 months.
ReliaShield offers identity theft protection plans for individuals and families, and their plans for individuals start at just $7.99 per month. This company’s ReliaShield Elite plan for individuals may be the best value at $23.99 per month, however, considering it includes perks like dark web monitoring, social security number monitoring, data breach updates, court records monitoring, new bank account monitoring, and unlimited restoration services.
Also, note that all of ReliaShield’s plans come with $1 million in stolen funds and expense reimbursement coverage. All family plans also include free coverage for kids, making ReliaShield a good option if you want to protect your children from fraud while they’re young.
Why It Made the List: ReliaShield offers affordable identity theft protection services for individuals and families, and all of their plans come with $1 million in identity theft insurance.
What Holds it Back: The most expensive family plan ReliaShield offers is $47.99 per month, which is higher than other comprehensive family plans on this list.
IDShield is another credit monitoring company to consider, and especially if you want access to a free trial. This company offers individual and family plans that include only your TransUnion credit report, but you can also select plans that include monitoring of all three bureaus. Each of their plans also comes with $1 million in identity theft insurance coverage as well as credit bureau monitoring, social security number monitoring, dark web monitoring, and credit score tracking and reporting.
The biggest difference in plans from IDShield is the fact that you can choose reporting from only one credit bureau (TransUnion) or all three. You can also choose from individual plans and family plans that cover you and a spouse as well as up to 10 dependent children.
Why It Made the List: Pay for comprehensive identity theft protection for you, you and a spouse, or you and a spouse plus up to 10 kids.
What Holds it Back: The least expensive plans offered only include monitoring of your TransUnion credit report, meaning you’ll have to pay more for monitoring of all three credit bureaus.
Most Important Factors to Consider
Which services are offered?
As you compare the identity theft protection services we profiled below, make sure you’re checking for services you need the most. This may include monitoring of the dark web, social security number monitoring, or identity theft insurance that gives you peace of mind.
How much will you pay?
Most identity theft protection companies offer a few levels of coverage with tiered services included. Keep in mind that you will likely pay more if you want a plan with all the bells and whistles, but that this coverage can be well worth it if it prevents you from enduring full-fledged theft of your personal details and identity.
How well is each company rated?
Make sure to compare each company’s ratings, including consumer reviews from individuals who have used or continue to use each company. Ideally, you’ll want to pay for coverage from an identity theft protection company with excellent reviews and solid ratings from users.
What You Need to Know About Identity Theft Protection Services
The threat of identity theft is real. If you think identity theft is a threat you don’t have to worry about, think again. According to figures from ReliaShield, 2.5 billion records were compromised in data breaches in 2017 alone. Further, there were more than 16.7 million victims of identity theft in 2017. Consumers who use social media face 46% more risk when it comes to account takeover fraud.
Make sure you are having all three credit bureaus monitored. While some identity theft protection packages only include monitoring of one of your credit reports, you should pay extra to ensure all of your credit reports are monitored and not just one.
Identity theft insurance is crucial. Also, make sure to consider plans that include identity theft insurance coverage. This benefit is crucial since it can reimburse you for lawyer’s fees and out-of-pocket costs if a hacker or thief steals money from your bank account and you have to navigate the legal process to restore your identity.
You can also freeze your credit reports. If you’re very worried someone will open an account using your information, you can also “freeze” your credit reports with all three credit bureaus The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers information on how to do so for free on this page.
How We Chose the Best Identity Theft Protection Services of 2020
You may be wondering how we came up with this list of identity theft protection services, but you can rest assured we didn’t pull it out of thin air. Our team considered a broad range of factors to separate the best companies from the rest of the pack. While many details came into play, here are the most important factors we considered and compared.
Identity Theft Insurance
We think identity theft insurance is crucial, which is why we only included plans on our list that include this important coverage. If you’re a victim of identity theft, you will be glad you’re covered against out-of-pocket costs including lawyer fees and the replacement of stolen funds. Without identity theft insurance, you could be stuck covering financial losses resulting from identity theft of your own.
We compared a variety of plans at many price points, but we opted to only include identity theft protection services that offered the most value. Generally speaking, this means we only included plans that offer a ton of services in exchange for a higher monthly premium. However, we also considered plans that offer basic identity theft protection for less than $10 per month since we know many consumers only want some general protection and oversight.
Ratings and Reviews
We looked at third party ratings and reviews for each company, including rankings from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), reviews on Trustpilot, Consumer Affairs, and more. We considered both rankings from third parties and the overall nature of user reviews.
Finally, we looked for identity theft protection services that offered every type of account monitoring available today. The companies that made our list offer the most comprehensive identity theft protection services on the market, but that’s particularly true with their most expensive, top tier plans.
Summary: Best Identity Theft Protection Services of 2020
Read more: goodfinancialcents.com