The United States has a serious problem with identity theft. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 17 million people are victims of identity theft each year. Identity thieves use increasingly-sophisticated methods to gain access to your personal information. The best identity theft protection offers features to shield you from identity theft and recovery services to help you restore your credit, if you become a victim of identity theft.
1. What Are Identity Theft Protection Services?
Identity theft protection services are designed to monitor your personal information, credit reports and financial information to detect possible intrusion and prevent criminals from stealing your identity. Monitoring services look for signs of potential identity theft and send alerts when suspicious activity is detected.
2. What Does Identity Theft Protection Do?
The best identity theft protection helps to prevent someone from using your personal information to fraudulently apply for credit. Identity thieves have been known to open accounts for credit cards, auto loans, mortgage loans, retail credit, payday loans, wireless accounts and utilities.
Some even use other people’s identity when they are arrested for crimes, which can result in victims mistakenly having criminal records or even being listed on sex offender registries. A growing problem is fraudulently using your medical insurance to receive medical treatments.
3. How Does Identity Theft Protection Work?
When the monitoring service suspects that someone is using your personal information to obtain credit, you will receive an alert to check if it is legitimate or not. The best identity theft protection offers comprehensive features to monitor your credit cards, bank accounts, social security number and driver’s license number.
The best services go beyond protecting your financial information. These added features include monitoring criminal records, court records and other public records to protect you against many types of fraud. Some even monitor your medical insurance numbers to make sure somebody isn’t using your identity to obtain medical services.
The most comprehensive services offer recovery services to help you restore your credit after fraudulent activity is detected. These services have recovery specialists who will take action to resolve the problem and recover your credit.
The best identity theft protection services use sophisticated tools and technology to stay ahead of the identity thieves. Some use highly sophisticated and complex algorithms to search all corners of the internet to look for signs that your personal information is being used by thieves to obtain credit or sold on the dark web.
4. Where Can You Buy Identity Theft Protection Services?
Identity theft protection is widely advertised on television, the radio and online. You can compare plans and ultimately purchase the service you choose on the company’s website.
5. Is Identity Theft Protection Worth the Cost?
This is a common question, and the answer is generally, yes. Data breaches are frequently reported on the news, leaving you at risk of having your personal information stolen. Of course, you can diligently check your own credit report and financial statements, but identity protection companies have access to large databases of information that can detect possible vulnerabilities so you are alerted to potential problems sooner.
Plans that also offer recovery services are especially worth the money. When you consider that some companies will spend up to $1 billion dollars to investigate and resolve identity theft and their specialists will alert the credit bureau and complete paperwork to restore your credit, the price of protection seems even more reasonable.
How We Reviewed The Best Identity Theft Protection
In preparing this list of the best identity theft protection in 2018, we conducted extensive research of various identity theft protection services. We looked at plans in different price ranges to find the best offerings at different price points. We compared and contrasted the features of various plans, prices and services offered. From there, we narrowed down our list to the best identity theft protection services.
Overall Price Range Of This Product
(And Similar Products)
Identity theft protection services range in price from as low as $ to $$$ or more per month. The features and services vary, depending on the plan. Some of the higher-priced plans offer more comprehensive features for receiving alerts, 24-hour support and recovery specialists to help you restore your credit, if your identity is stolen.
What We Reviewed
IdentityForce UltraSecure + Credit
IdentityForce offers identity theft protection services that are designed to alert you when your identity is compromised. IdentityForce UltraSecure + Credit provides among the most comprehensive services for identity theft protection. The plan offers features that include monitoring for signs of fraudulent activity on your credit cards, social security number, name and street address. In addition, they have an expanded scope to track loans, lease records and other public records databases. Very few other services monitor this many areas.
As soon as IdentityForce finds fraudulent activity, you are notified. In addition to alerts about fraudulent activity, you will receive alerts when an unfamiliar name or address is associated with your name. You can set a specific dollar amount alert for you to get notified when withdrawals or transfers from your bank account exceed that total. They provide regular credit reports from all three credit bureaus, and there are tools available for you to monitor how your credit score changes over time.
If you are a victim of identity theft, IdentityForce offers tools to help you recover. Their fully-managed restoration service provides someone from the company to help you complete all necessary paperwork after identity theft.
IdentityForce Ultra Secure + Credit offers $ million in identity theft assistance and up to $ million in monetary loss coverage. Most plans do not cover your own monetary loss so that is a definite advantage for this plan.
LifeLock Ultimate Plus
If you have been searching for the best identity theft protection, you have probably heard of LifeLock. This company offers one of the most thorough services available for identity theft protection. The LifeLock Ultimate Plus plan monitors public records, online databases and black market websites for your personal information to make sure it isn’t being bought or sold. It also monitors your name, address, bank account numbers, driver’s license and social security number to ensure that nobody is using your information to open fraudulent accounts. It tracks file-sharing websites and sex offender registries for your information.
LifeLock offers a Privacy Monitor tool that provides alerts to let you know that fraudulent activity may have occurred. You will be alerted to make sure that a purchase, application or address change was legitimate. When fraud happens, a LifeLock identity restoration specialist will work with you to solve the problem and restore your identity.
This plan has a $ million total service guarantee, called the Million Dollar Care package. They will spend up to $ million on lawyers and experts to recover your identity.
Identity Guard Platinum
Sometimes budget is an important factor when choosing identity theft protection services. You want to make sure that the service you choose offers decent coverage and notifies you of potential problems. Many cheap services offer a stripped-down version of identity theft protection and lack certain essential features. Identity Guard offers a good balance of protection and affordability.
The Identity Guard’s service monitors many aspects of your identity, such as your social security number, driver’s license number, credit card numbers and criminal records. They offer tools to gauge your risk, alerts and recovery services for victims of identity theft. Although this is an affordable service, it lacks some of the features commonly offered by the best identity theft protection services. For example, there is no 24-hour telephone support, and they won’t send alerts to the credit bureau on your behalf.
This service includes fraud insurance for up to $ million.
When choosing an identity theft protection service, it is important to find the best fit for your unique needs. IDShield Individual offers the best identity theft protection for families. This service monitors your credit cards, bank accounts and sex offender registries, and it alerts you of data breaches that put you at risk of identity theft. A password manager is included at no additional cost.
This service does not have all the features of some of the more expensive services, but they do offer recovery services. If your identity does get stolen, the Kroll investigative firm works to restore your credit, and IDShield will spend up to $$$ million on the recovery effort.
The maximum identity theft assistance is $$$ million for restoring your credit. There is no monetary loss coverage.
Credit Sesame Platinum Protection
Credit Sesame is a familiar name due to the commercials offering free credit scores. They offer a basic service and two paid identity theft protection services. Their best offering is the Credit Sesame Platinum Protection plan. This plan offers daily credit scores, alerts from TransUnion, monthly credit scores from the other credit bureaus and live telephone support. In addition, the Platinum plan provides monitoring of social security numbers, public records and the dark web. There is also a lost wallet protection feature.
Credit Sesame will pay up to $ million for legal and investigative costs if you are the victim of identity theft. However, there is no reimbursement for your losses.
There are several good options for identity theft protection. If you want the overall best identity theft protection service, IdentityForce and LifeLock offer comprehensive features and services to meet most people’s needs. If you are on a budget, Identity Guard Platinum offers the best value and overall features among the lower-priced plans and services.
When selecting the best service, it is always important to consider the features that are most important to you. Consider how you want to be notified, such as through an app, by text or email. Many services, such as IdentityForce and LifeLock, offer additional services for alerting the credit bureau of the identity theft, which definitely saves time. In case of identity theft, it can be valuable to choose a service with restoration specialists to take steps to help you rectify the fraud.