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The best identity theft protection services you can get

Identity theft is a major problem. It can destroy your credit, threaten your identity, leave you homeless, and cause all sorts of other issues. That’s not to mention the mental distress it can cause. That’s why many people have turned to identity theft protection services. Such services provide protection packages that will monitor your data online to ensure that it’s not being used in harmful ways. General features usually include data breach alerts, credit reporting, and Internet scans for your email, phone number, and other personal data.

Below, we have a list of identity theft protection services that we think do the job better than the rest. Almost every entrant not only provides some form of monitoring, but also a form of resolution, such as identity theft insurance or fraud resolution specialists.

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The best identity theft protection services

Banks with integrated ID theft protection

You already use a bank anyway, so see if it has built-in identity theft protections that you can add to your account.

  • Pricing: Free / Varies by bank
  • Platforms: Any web browser, iOS (App Store), and Android (Google Play)

What we like:

  • Direct integration with your bank removes the need for a third-party service.
  • Most banks that offer this service include both ID theft monitoring and credit report monitoring.
  • Bank services usually work as well as any third-party service.
  • There are usually mobile apps, so you don’t always have to use a website.

What we don’t like:

  • Costs can vary from free to $25+ per month.
  • Different banks have different features, and not all banks offer a service.
  • The list of features isn’t as long as a dedicated ID theft protection service.

One of the first places we recommend checking for identity theft protection services is with your bank. Many banks, including Huntington, Chase, Firth Third, and others, have some sort of extra ID theft protection. Some of them are simple. For example, Chase Journey will monitor your credit from all three bureaus. Huntington and Fifth Third, on the other hand, have dedicated services with ID theft insurance, credit monitoring, ID monitoring, and more.

The services seem to work okay, even if the feature list isn’t quite as big as a third-party service. Sometimes the services are baked into whatever kind of checking account you have. For instance, Huntington’s Platinum Perks Checking comes with ID monitoring natively, whereas Fifth Third sells a service independent of its checking account services. You’ll have to check your bank to see what your bank can or can’t offer, but it’s not a bad place to start if you can get free protection.


Credit bureau ID theft services

Not many services can monitor your credit as well as the credit bureaus themselves.

  • Pricing: Free / $19.95-$29.95 per month (Equifax) / $24.99-$34.99 per month (Experian)
  • Platforms: Official website (Equifax, Experian) with mobile apps available.

What we like:

  • Credit reporting directly from the credit bureaus cuts out the middleman.
  • Equifax and Experian offer a ton of features, including credit monitoring, data breach alerts, and identity theft insurance.
  • Also includes some less common, but equally appreciated features like sex offender registry alerts, and lost wallet assistance.
  • Both Equifax and Experian have mobile apps.
  • Experian has a basic free version that monitors credit, tracks your FICO score, and a free scan of your personal data on the web.

What we don’t like:

  • Experian’s mobile apps are objectively more reliable and less buggy than Equifax’s.
  • Individual plans are pretty expensive, but both Experian and Equifax’s family plans are competitively priced.
  • Equifax doesn’t have a free tier, only a free trial.

Almost every entrant on this list monitors your credit from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, so it’s only natural that the credit bureaus have services that cut out of the middleman. Both Equifax and Experian have competitive services that include a host of features. You can get the basics like credit monitoring from all three bureaus, along with scans online for your personal data, ID theft insurance, and a handy lost wallet feature that helps you cancel and recover your credit and ID cards.

We’re not sure how effective things like dark web reporting are, but such things are also included in the list. Both services also offer apps for Android and iOS, although we think Experian’s mobile apps are better. Individual plans are $19.95 on Equifax and $24.95 on Experian, which we think is expensive for an individual plan. However, the family plans are $29.99 and $34.99 per month, respectively, which is a better deal overall.


Discover Identity Theft Protection

Discover’s Identity Theft Protection is one of the more consumer-friendly options with straightforward pricing and plenty of features.

What we like:

  • A long list of available features, including the basics like credit monitoring, bank account alerts, and Social Security alerts.
  • You can add up to ten children for no additional charge.
  • Straightforward and reasonable pricing.
  • There are features in place to help you deal with ID theft, including ID theft insurance and U.S.-based fraud specialists.
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What we don’t like:

  • There is no dedicated mobile app. The existing Discover app is mostly for credit card accounts.
  • Some reports and alerts aren’t instant. Make sure to read the terms and conditions.

Discover has one of the easier-to-understand ID theft protection services. It costs a standard $15 per month, and you can include up to ten children for no additional charge. That undercuts most family plans by a considerable margin. The list of features is pretty good and includes monitoring of many databases, reports that are easy to read, and resolution help if your identity does get stolen. There is a dashboard with all of your alerts. You can use it on your phone, but the desktop website is better.

There wasn’t much wrong with this one aside from not having a dedicated mobile app like many of its competitors. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that some alerts may take a week or two longer than some folks are comfortable with, but otherwise, this is one of the more positively received products on the list. We think it’s relatively easy to use and understand, which puts it a step above many more complicated services.


IdentityForce

TransUnion’s third-party ID protection service consistently ranks among the best in the industry.

  • Pricing: Free trial / $17.95 per month / $23.95 per month
  • Platforms: Official website, iOS (App Store) and Android (Google Play)

What we like:

  • All three IdentityForce plans include recovery features such as ID theft insurance, ID restoration, stolen funds replacement, and remediation.
  • A vast number of monitoring and alert options, including bank and credit card alerts, Internet monitoring, and more uncommon things like payday loan monitoring.
  • It can assist in other ways as well, including lost wallet assistance and freezing your credit.
  • Tons of additional, smaller features that members will appreciate, such as a VPN built into the app for paying subscribers.

What we don’t like:

  • The mobile apps should be better for how much the service costs.
  • It is middle of the road when it comes to prices.
  • Only the most expensive plan has credit monitoring for some reason.

IdentityForce is a pretty big name in this space. It’s owned by TransUnion and operates as the company’s competitor to Equifax and Experian. Where IdentityForce excels is in its exhaustive list of features. You can monitor a wide variety of things, and get alerts for those things. We’re curious why you have to buy the more expensive package for credit monitoring when most competitors add to the base subscription. Otherwise, you won’t be left wanting features here.

What we do like about this one more than most of the others are the recovery aspects. If your ID is stolen, IdentityForce has ID theft insurance up to $1 million, a restoration and remediation program to get your life back, and it can even help you recover funds if possible. Most of the competitors on the list have some of those remediation features, but this one has all of them, which we appreciate.


IDShield

IDShield partners with Trend Micro, a big name in the cybersecurity space, and it offers more cybersecurity features than most.

What we like:

  • Includes a good set of monitoring and reporting features, including continuous credit reporting, SSN monitoring, court record monitoring, and more.
  • Reasonably good identity restoration services, including ID theft insurance, lost wallet assistance, ID theft consultation services, and more.
  • The mobile apps for IDShield are actually good, unlike many of its competitors.
  • Includes some cybersecurity features, such as VPN, lost device protection, and optional antivirus protection.

What we don’t like:

  • Requires the more expensive plan for reporting from all three credit bureaus.
  • It doesn’t offer an annual plan at a discount like most of its competitors, which is odd.
  • Requires you to use up to three different apps for the VPN, antivirus, and ID theft services.

IDShield has a lot going for it. It’s partnered with Trend Micro for a healthy dose of both ID theft protection and also cybersecurity. That means you get a lot of value for your subscription. However, it also means you have to use multiple apps to access all of those services. As a service, you get the kinds of features you would expect, including data, dark web, SSN, and credit monitoring. It’ll also monitor social media, court documents, and other sources to make sure your name doesn’t appear anywhere else.

Like most, there are identity restoration services as well. They include identity theft insurance, along with a set of consultation services to get your life back in order. It also offers lost wallet assistance. In terms of user experience, we enjoy the simplicity of the service. The apps work well, which is nice to see in this space, and the extra features seem to work well. There isn’t much wrong with this one.


Insurance companies with ID theft protection

Insurance companies have decent ID theft policies, and some can even add it to their homeowner’s insurance as a rider for a few dollars a year.

  • Pricing: Usually starts around $9.99 per month for individuals and $18.99 per month for families
  • Platforms: Official website, iOS (App Store), and Android (Google Play)
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What we like:

  • Usually less expensive than third-party services or credit bureau services.
  • It can be added to a homeowner’s insurance policy for less than $100 per year in some cases.
  • Decent monitoring features, although some advanced reporting requires a more expensive subscription.
  • Using the same service for ID theft as your car or homeowners insurance has its benefits.

What we don’t like:

  • There aren’t as many features as dedicated third-party services, including more advanced features like dark web monitoring.
  • Different insurance companies have different features, so you may need to shop around.

Most insurance companies have some sort of ID theft protection. It’s usually not as comprehensive as third-party services, but it’s nice that you can bundle your ID theft protection with your other types of insurance. Generally speaking, you can do this two ways. The first is dedicated services that you pay for every month. The second is adding it on with your homeowner’s insurance, which is substantially cheaper than paying for it monthly. Each one we tried out had basic stuff like ID monitoring, credit reporting, and ID theft insurance.

Having an insurance company do this isn’t a bad option, because you can bundle your stuff together and often get discounts. However, different companies have different benefits. For example, Progressive bundles credit reporting with its cheapest tier, whereas Allstate makes you pay extra for it. However, Allstate includes stolen funds reimbursement with its cheapest tier. Most insurance companies have an ID theft protection option, so you’ll need to shop around if you want to see which ones offer which benefits.


LifeLock by Norton

LifeLock is one of the biggest names in this space, and you can bundle this one with Norton antivirus if you want to.

What we like:

  • Plans range from reasonably cheap with basic features to very expensive with tons of features.
  • Every plan includes stolen funds reimbursement, credit monitoring, and funding for lawyers and remediation experts.
  • The more expensive plans have unique features like phone takeover prevention and home title monitoring.
  • Reasonably competent mobile apps are better than most competitors.

What we don’t like:

  • Only the most expensive plan includes reports from all three credit bureaus.
  • Annual plans only shave a few bucks off of the monthly plans, which barely makes them worth having.
  • The $9.99 version of Norton 360 includes most of the base LifeLock features, so you might as well go with that instead for antivirus and some basic ID theft protection.

LifeLock by Norton is one of the larger names in this space. It has a long list of features, including the basics like credit reporting, assistance in recovering your identity, and SSN alerts. Where LifeLock differs from others is its three-plan strategy. You can get some basic protection for as little as $9.99, a second tier for $14.99, and a max tier for $19.99. The $9.99 plan undercuts most competitors, making it a compelling option, while the most expensive tier competes with most of the companies on this list in terms of features.

What we do like, though, is that every plan has ID theft remediation help. Each plan offers support for lawyers and experts in ID remediation. Additionally, each tier has an increasing amount of stolen funds reimbursement. We literally wouldn’t have recommended this if it didn’t have those features. The mobile apps offer a good experience without too many notifications, and the addition of an antivirus service may sway some folks.


Spokeo

Spokeo is a trusted name in ID theft protection, with reasonable plans that keep the best features.

What we like:

  • Three tiers of plans cover a wide range of use cases.
  • All three plans include ID recovery support, including money for lawyers and a remediation team to assist in restoring your identity.
  • The annual plans are 30% less expensive than monthly plans, providing an excellent discount.
  • All plans include dark web monitoring, data breach alerts, and searches to see if you show up on any databases you shouldn’t.

What we don’t like:

  • Credit reporting is only available on the top two tiers.
  • There doesn’t appear to be any mobile app support, an oversight in 2023.
  • The basic plan may be a bit too basic for some.

Spokeo is a trusted name in this space, even if it’s not the largest. It offers three plan tiers, for $9.95, $19.95, and $29.95 per month, and you can subtract 30% from those prices if you get the annual version. Each plan comes with monitoring that gets increasingly more complex and comprehensive as the plans get more expensive. The base plan doesn’t include credit monitoring, but it does get to keep dark web monitoring. Every plan also has ID remediation specialist support along with money to help pay for stuff like lawyers.

What we like about Spokeo is that its cheaper plan, with an annual subscription, averages out to about $6.95 per month. That undercuts most of the competition. With that, you get remediation support, up to $25,000 in personal expenses for hiring lawyers, and some basic monitoring. Sure, you’re missing things like credit reporting, but entrepreneurial members of our readership know how to do that for free anyway. It’s a good, base option that covers the important stuff.

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Zander

Zander offers a decent set of features for a price that generally undercuts its competition by a pretty wide margin in some cases.

What we like:

  • No-nonsense plans cover the basics, and that’s it.
  • Monthly prices undercut every other company on this list.
  • It still includes ID theft insurance, recovery services, and various types of monitoring.
  • The more expensive plan adds an UltraVPN subscription, UltraAV antivirus, Experian CreditLock, and account takeover monitoring, which might actually be worth the extra cost to some.
  • Family plans are equally inexpensive compared to the competitors.

What we don’t like:

  • The mobile apps aren’t very good.
  • Unless we missed something, none of the plans include credit monitoring.
  • Zander’s advertising focused on one person, and it’s not very tastefully done.

Zander is a good budget option for ID theft protection in this space. It looks like Zander keeps its prices lower by not including credit reporting, but you can usually do that for free on your own anyway. The features include SSN monitoring, data breach alerts, and a decent set of ID recovery services. Each plan includes up to $1 million for stolen funds and expenses, along with a remediation team to help repair credit.

The more expensive plan adds a lot of extras, but we’ll leave it up to you as to whether or not they’re worth it. The VPN and antivirus services do add value, but you can usually find better ones as standalone products. Those who opt for the family plan double the stolen funds and expenses insurance, and all children are covered by the plan. It doesn’t have as exhaustive of a list as some others on this list, but sometimes you don’t need that many features.


Do it yourself

Knowing the ins and outs of ID theft protection can save you money, and educate you on the process at the same time.

  • Pricing: Free (usually)
  • Platforms: Any web browser, and usually, there are iOS and Android apps too.

What we like:

  • Manually freezing your credit prevents anyone from using it without going through exhaustive steps to be you.
  • There are many services, like HaveIBeenPwned and Credit Karma, which let you monitor data breaches and your credit.
  • Free resources like a Social Security Administration account can help you monitor other bits of your personal data.
  • The vast majority of these tools are free.

What we don’t like:

  • The manual process takes much longer in some cases.
  • Requires you to be more active in your quest for security.
  • There is no remediation or stolen funds replacement insurance if your identity is stolen.

There is a large and growing number of people who believe you don’t need a third-party ID theft protection service. That is mostly true. Most of the steps that these services take to protect you once something goes wrong are steps you can manually take yourself, and usually for free. For example, you can call up any of the three credit bureaus and freeze your credit, preventing anyone from using it for anything. Websites like HaveIBeenPwned let you see data breaches for free, while services like Credit Karma are a decent way to monitor your credit for free. Many ID theft services have built-in VPNs, but there are many great VPN apps that aren’t tied to another service.

The number of free tools is rather exhaustive but supremely useful. However, the one big downside is that there is no remediation help if something does go wrong. You’re all on your own there. That is not an endorsement to buy a service, but it is the truth. Most third-party ID theft protection services serve best as an insurance policy against monumental mishaps, just like any insurance. Some folks can get by just fine without it. Others may find comfort in having it in case they need it. You can go either way, but for monitoring and credit freezing, you can do that for free.

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FAQ

It really depends. You can do most of the monitoring for free on your own, and even freeze your credit for free by yourself to prevent damage. However, ID theft protection services also double as insurance policies in case your identity gets stolen, which can be valuable to some people.

Since most services have monitoring, recovery, and remediation features, you can use whichever one you like the best.

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