After a long day’s work, you slip into a peaceful slumber. In the dead of night, you are ripped out of the dream world as your phone starts buzzing violently. Still drowsy, you check the screen. Why has $100 just been withdrawn from your bank account? Or wait, is it $200? Now it’s $500! Within hours, the nest egg you’ve been working so hard to build is gone.
In 2017, as many as 16.7 million Americans fell victim to ID theft, leading to the loss of over $17 billion. According to research from 2019, 23% of all Americans have experienced identity theft at some stage; this issue has affected over 59 million US consumers. While even the best identity theft protection service can’t prevent all attacks at all times, thorough 24/7 monitoring will help you react immediately. And in the case of theft and fraud relating to credit cards or health insurance, every minute you ended up saving counts.
In today’s competitive market, banks, healthcare institutions, and even governments have prioritized convenience over privacy in one way or another. Nowadays, logging into your bank account is super easy and it only takes a few seconds. Unfortunately, making data access easier for customers has also made it easier for criminals. They’re even willing to target children.
If you want to know what is the best identity theft protection option for you in 2019, skim through our findings. We filtered through over 100 companies to come up with the best players in the industry and help you keep your data safe and protect your family in the process.
We’ve listed Identity Guard as the best identity protection service for both individuals and families. What truly sets this product apart is that it uses IBM® Watson™ technology. Earlier versions of this supercomputer combined AI and advanced analytical software to help diagnose cancer. Currently, Identity Guard uses Watson solely to detect and help prevent identity theft.
The Watson-enabled Identity Guard monitors users’ credit files, DOB, SSN, and even social media profiles. The collected data is then fed into a common database, which calculates the best steps you can take to manage your identity. This keeps relevant information about you monitored – including your family’s address, credit cards, Social Security numbers, and even criminal records – and alerts you of any unusual or suspicious activity.
Identity Guard’s ID theft protection provides invaluable tools to help prevent you from falling victim to identity theft in the first place. For example, an Identity Guard account provides you with a unique “risk management score” feature. This analyzes your overall risk of identity theft based on your past behavior. Your actions, lifestyle, and answers to a short online quiz all play into the score and help you make the right changes to better your odds.
Identity Guard’s browser extension enables you to surf the web safely. The free anti-phishing mobile app helps you not fall for the oldest trick in the book by accidentally opening a suspicious attachment. All these features come at only $79.99 per year for individuals and $119.99 for families if you enroll through SafeAtLast.
Next-level identity theft monitoring, however, comes at a slightly higher price. For this extra money, you get monthly credit report updates and scores*. As some of the most dangerous types of identity theft result in financial losses, this is a particularly useful feature. Criminals might take out loans or lines of credit on your account, and these monthly checkups provide solid protection against that.
The same plan includes address monitoring and three-bureau credit monitoring. With the latter, Identity Guard scans the three national credit-reporting agencies for changes on a daily basis. The above-mentioned features come for $159.99 per year for individuals and $239.99 for families if you enroll through a link on this page. Do not be discouraged by the slightly higher prices for family plans: we consider Identity Guard to be the best family identity theft protection provider in the industry. Keep in mind that the family plan covers an unlimited number of family members within the same household.
Finally, the Identity Guard Premier plan offers all of the above, plus a three-bureau monitoring report and a social insight report, which analyzes your presence on Facebook and works out potential liabilities. This feature is especially useful for family plans, as parents will get alerts in the case of potential cyberbullying attacks. Identity Guard also provides $1 million in identity theft insurance**. Overall, Identity Guard combines low prices with thorough, reliable high-tech protection.
* The score you receive with Identity Guard is provided for educational purposes to help you understand your credit. It is calculated using the information contained in your TransUnion credit file. Lenders use many different credit scoring systems, and the score you receive with Identity Guard is not the same score used by lenders to evaluate your credit.
** Identity Theft Insurance underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group‚ Inc. The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms‚ conditions‚ and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.
This Experian-made ID theft defense product is especially affordable and convenient for Costco members. While non-members need to pay $19 per month for Complete ID’s versatile services, Gold Star Costco members pay $13.99 per month (with an optional $3.99/month for kids). Costco Executive members, on the other hand, pay $8.99 per month, with the kids’ fee amounting to measly $2.99/month.
Complete ID provides the usual precautions, including monthly credit scores, annual credit reports, and monitoring potentially unauthorized uses of your Social Security number. Credit monitoring provides reports from the three national credit bureaus on a yearly basis. These agencies can also check your current credit score at any time. As part of the deal, you also get $1 million in limited identity theft insurance.
Complete ID’s identity theft protection serves spans thousands of sources and any unusual activity will trigger push notifications. In case your personal data is compromised in any way, Complete ID will let you know what you can do next, if necessary. The company even tracks your stray data down on the dark web to let you know if it’s being bought or sold, especially following a data breach. In case somebody uses your identity to commit criminal acts or get arrested, Complete ID will protect your name from getting dragged through the mud.
Some additional identity theft protection measures include a neighborhood watch, which provides monthly updates on sexual predators, crimes, and criminals in the area. If a registered criminal moves into your neighborhood, you’ll get a push notification, allowing you to respond in due time.
Complete ID provides more than just standard data protection; the company also notifies you when your loan payments are due. It will also keep a close eye on potential financial account takeovers and applications. If an intruder hacks into your financial data or tries to open new accounts in your name, you’ll learn about it in no time. As an added precaution, you should also consider using one of the best VPNs to prevent such attacks from happening.
Complete ID’s identity theft protection services will also notify you in case dangerous people like sex offenders move into or near your neighborhood. The neighborhood watch feature is particularly useful for people with children.
LifeLock is one of the most dependable identity theft protection companies out there, and it offers some features that none of its competitors have thought of. The company provides Norton 360 protection for up to five devices, and LifeLock Junior monitoring for kids, and LifeLock Senior monitoring services for adults. This Norton protection and the offer of specialized protection for different age groups truly set LifeLock apart from the competition. The usual features, such as credit bureau monitoring, dark web monitoring, a mobile app, and a protection package of up to $1 million are also a part of the deal.
Founded 14 years ago, LifeLock offers enhanced identity theft protection for both individuals and businesses. LifeLock monitors credit reporting agencies and the dark web to see if anyone is stealing, copying, or selling your confidential data. The company keeps track of data breaches on a daily basis and helps you address the potential difficulties immediately if something happens thanks to its 24/7 support service. LifeLock even provides lawyers to litigate your case if any breaches do happen and offers reimbursement for any lost property or expenses.
The company offers membership-based protection, with three membership levels: Select, Advantage, and Ultimate Plus. Now, it’s time to discover card identity theft protection solutions that best suit your needs – the basic plan, for example, only monitors credit from one bureau, for $9.99 per month. The $29.99/month top-of-the-line plan, on the other hand, keeps an eye on all three major credit bureaus and offers reimbursements of between $25K to $1M.
Some additional features include lost-wallet protection, verification from USPS when you change address, and, of course, a 60-day money-back guarantee. It’s the special protection for elderly family members, however, that truly sets LifeLock apart.
Once old age catches up with your parents, there’s a chance you’ll become responsible for all their financial affairs. It’s also worth remembering that elderly people are at a higher risk of becoming a victim of identity theft. They are regularly targeted by criminals, as their data is often fairly easy to steal. Bear in mind that a single scammer can cost older people their entire life savings and even deny them access to medical care.
With all those horror stories out there, you’re probably wondering “Who can protect my ID?” The answer is in the question: ProtectMyID, a joint venture by AAA and Experian, is a global leader in identity security.
The company offers three levels of protection to customers and their families, the most basic of which – ProtectMyID Essential – is completely free of charge for AAA members. As its name suggests, this plan is pretty basic; it only provides Experian credit monitoring. The other two plans provide three-credit bureau monitoring, adding Equifax and TransUnion. However, if your data does get compromised, even the basic plan will provide you with $10,000 in identity theft insurance coverage. This entry-level plan is reliable and thorough in its data monitoring, making it an excellent choice for AAA members who don’t want any extra charges.
If you don’t already have AAA identity theft protection, on the other hand, you should consider upgrading to either ProtectMyID Deluxe ($10.95 per month) or ProtectMyID Platinum ($15.95 per month). Both plans deliver three-bureau monitoring and up to $1 million in identity theft coverage. Given that ProtectMyID is Experian-backed, users can tap into the network of more than 16,000 identity theft support agents operating across 39 countries. They also get notifications immediately after any type of foul play, or any attempt at copying, selling, or unauthorized use of your data. ProtectMyID even notifies you if nothing happens at all; the “all clear” alerts confirm that there has been no activity for an entire month.
The other ID theft monitoring services ProtectMyID provides are all pretty commonplace. The lost wallet protection, dark web surveillance, Social Security number monitoring, and change of address monitoring are to be expected of any high-quality identity theft protection program. Additional features, such as the monitoring of a dormant credit card, your children’s online identity, and your own social media persona go the extra mile.
To top it all off, ProtectMyID also scans criminal bookings and court records daily to make sure nobody has used your name to commit a crime, as well as monitoring your payday loan payments. It’s equivalent to having a real-time financial advisor. When you consider the great discounts available on all three plans, this is definitely the best identity theft protection option for AAA members.
Finally, the company’s 24/7 fraud resolution support lets you handle any potential breach as quickly as possible, saving you a considerable amount of time and money.
Intelius Identity Protect offers one of the top identity theft protection services on the market, aptly named Identity Protect. The company will help keep your data safe by closely monitoring the web and public records. In case Intelius detects any sign of suspicious or criminal behavior, or attempt at stealing, accessing, or copying your data by unauthorized individuals, you’ll get an email notification. The Intelius Identity Protect Score monitors your public records, private records, and credit records.
Intelius keeps a close eye on credit bureaus on a monthly basis, sending you a report every 31 days. While its basic package only monitors one bureau, you can pay a bit extra and cover the other two major bureaus as well. If you do happen to become victims of identity theft, Intelius provides ID theft protection and up to $1 million of insurance coverage. You’ll also get an identity recovery kit and a team of experts, whom you can contact 24/7.
Intelius examines 20 billion records every year. If anything looks even remotely suspicious, it notifies its thousands of customers. The monitored data includes commercial publications, marriages, birth, deaths, financial data, and more. The company lets you monitor two addresses, bank account numbers, phone numbers, and up to three credit or debit cards. Furthermore, the junk mail reduction feature minimizes the number of spam emails you get, thus increasing the overall security of your data. In this regard, you can also use the best email encryption software for added protection.
Specific to USA identity theft protection market requirements, Intelius can also monitor your medical insurance data. If you use this feature, the company will check your medical insurance card and number for insurance fraud. With healthcare fraud becoming increasingly common, this feature is sure to prove particularly useful for some users. Despite the indubitable rise in this type of identity fraud, not many other agencies offer to monitor medical data.
While Intelius offers many advantages, there’s one major downside; this company can’t freeze your credit in case of identity fraud. Instead, the company notifies you immediately and lets you choose whether you want to freeze it yourself.
Coming from one of the most powerful computer security software companies in the world, McAfee’s identity theft protection solution does not disappoint. The thorough, up-to-date cyber monitoring service scans for fraudulent activity on the internet and the dark web 24/7. One of the best ID theft protection options out there, McAfee Identity Theft Protection looks into more than 600,000 online black markets. If your data is somehow compromised, copied, or sold, McAfee will notify you via email.
Depending on your budget and the volume of security you need, you can choose from three main protection programs: Standard, Plus, and Premium. All three plans include the basic services: credit and Social Security number monitoring, 24/7 agent support, cyber monitoring, missing wallet support, and a safety net. In case your data does get stolen or compromised, McAfee offers up to $1 million in fraud reimbursements and up to $10K in stolen fund coverage.
As you’d expect from one of the best ID theft protection providers out there, McAfee Identity Theft Protection Plus and Premium offer some additional features. The Plus-level protection includes one-bureau credit monitoring and IF protection tools, which prevent criminals from accessing your identity and financial data. McAfee Identity Theft Protection Premium, on the other hand, includes three-bureau credit and sex offender monitoring. The latter feature sends you a notification whenever a sex offender is about to move into your neighborhood. The premium plan also lets you monitor court records and non-credit loans.
One of the best identity theft protection options, McAfee Identity Theft Protection will monitor your personal and financial data 24/7. The moment everything goes wrong, you’ll receive a notification, increasing your chances of addressing the issue in due time. McAfee’s identity protection includes a mobile app that works with both Google Android and Apple iOS. The ID protection supports all major laptop and desktop brands (including macOS), and all major smartphone and tablet brands.
Identity Force has been keeping people’s data safe for over 40 years with its wide range of monitoring and alert services. Since it was recently acquired by EZShield, another identity theft protection service, IdentityForce has truly become one of the best identity theft protection providers out there.
IdentityForce has two identity theft protection plans: the cheaper option goes for $17.99 per month or $179.99 per year, while the pricier plan costs you $23.99 on a monthly basis or $239.90 per year. For people who only want IdentityForce to monitor their financial accounts, public records, and digital black markets, the cheaper option is preferable. This plan also protects Windows laptops and desktops from phishing and the types of malware that are out to steal your data.
IdentityForce’s top rated identity theft protection among users – the UltraSecure+Credit plan – offers additional features, such as three-bureau credit monitoring, credit reports updated quarterly, and a credit score drawn from each report. The pricier option also features a credit simulator. It calculates and shows you an approximate credit score that might be useful for taking out loans and planning your finances.
Both plans include the standard identity theft insurance package of up to $1 million. The package includes managed identity restoration services and replaces your stolen funds quickly and efficiently. IdentityForce will go into meticulous detail to keep you safe, monitoring your address changes, court records, the dark web, nearby sex offenders, and even your social media profiles.
The IdentityForce identity theft protection family plan simply lets you add coverage for your children. Their own identity theft protection will keep them safe from online bullying and dangerous criminals who might be lurking in the area.
IdentityForce sends bank and credit card activity alerts within seconds of actual activity. It also tracks your Social Security number and helps you manage your finances with payday loan alerts.
IdentityForce can be a bit pricey for some users, but it offers a wide variety of useful features and a well-designed interface. If your personal information has been leaked in a data breach or you’ve been an identity theft victim, ID theft protection can shield you from the negative consequences.
The most affordable option on our list, Zander Insurance has been in business for 91 years and has a remarkable 96% customer satisfaction rating. The tremendous success of the Zander Insurance ID theft prevention has earned it a recommendation from Forbes and endorsements by Rachel Cruze and Dave Ramsey.
Zander is ideal for families, as coverage for your children in the family plan comes completely free of charge, which is rare in this industry. The company’s two ID theft protection plans range from $6.75 per month ($75 per year) to $12.90 per month ($145 per year). Again, if your kids are under 18 years old, you can protect their data and online presence for free. Zander ID theft service is also famous in the industry for its 100% recovery success rate.
Zander identity theft protection will keep an eye out for a variety of financial and personal data theft. Some examples include criminal ID theft, tax fraud, financial fraud, Social Security fraud, benefits and employment fraud, and title fraud. You and your children will also be protected against the ever-more-common medical ID theft and any unauthorized criminal copying or trading of your personal information.
The only downside to this service is the lack of credit monitoring. Still, bear in mind that you can get a free yearly credit report via the Federal Trade Commission. If credit tracking is not your priority, Zander Insurance could still be the best ID theft protection for you.
If any kind of data theft occurs, Zander insurance will immediately email you. This rapid notification lets you address the issue soon after it takes place. Zander Insurance offers nearly all the same features as the other identity theft protection companies, with the exception of credit monitoring. As is standard in the industry, the company monitors changes of address and court records – as well as providing regular data breach updates and lost wallet recovery – as part of the deal.
Additionally, a Zander ID theft login also buys you unlimited recovery options and a $1 million in funds stolen from your bank account, and reimbursement.
IDShield delivers some of the best identity protection for families. The company monitors and protects every detail of your online persona, offering a range of tools that can do wonders in preventing criminal behavior. What makes IDShield an ideal solution for families, however, are the plans that cover you, your spouse, and up to 10 children. The two plans IDShield offers range from $12.95 for individuals to $27.95 per month for families. With over a million customers to date, IDShield offers its services in all 50 US states and Canada.
To help you stay one step ahead of the criminals who want to steal your personal data and hard-earned money, ID Shield keeps a close eye on your court records, potential address changes, and even payday loan payments, to help you keep up with your financial obligations. To discover identity theft protection liabilities in your online data, ID Shield scans the internet, the dark web, and your online data 24/7.
There are also three additional features that are invaluable for most users: hard credit inquiry alerts, high-risk application and transaction monitoring, and telecom monitoring. The credit inquiries ensure you get an instant, real-time notification in case anyone tries to open an account in your name. With this kind of evidence, it’s easier to review the alert with the authorities and take action if need be. The transaction monitoring feature sends you notifications if an unauthorized individual applies for a fraudulent new account in your name. This feature has tons of positive identity theft protection reviews, as it enables fraud detection up to 90 days sooner than traditional protection measures individuals might implement by themselves.
Telecom monitoring is a feature that monitors databases for phone records to ensure your phone is not being redirected, and possibly used for criminal activity. The records of new landlines, as well as wireless and VOIP telecom accounts, offer additional assistance in keeping your identity and integrity safe.
If anything goes wrong and you need any kind of ID protection-related advice, the 24/7 emergency ID theft support team has you covered.
More than a billion businesses and individuals around the globe trust Experian IdentityWorks with their personal and financial data. IdentityWorks’ policy relies on reliability, timeliness, and transparency. While most other companies only let you in on your credit reports once you pay for their services, this Experian identity theft protection program offers a free sample report. This way, you’ll know exactly what you’re signing up for.
Experian IdentityWorks provides two plans: Experian IdentityWorks Premium ($19.99/month) and Experian IdentityWorks Plus ($9.99/ month). Experian IdentityWorks Plus does not provide three-bureau credit reports. It’s also somewhat lacking when it comes to the plethora of identity monitoring alerts that Premium provides. Then again, you might not need those features; it’s up to you to figure out the best ID theft protection and decide what you truly need.
IdentityWorks lets Americans access their credit reports and credit score, and it immediately notifies them in case of any significant changes. The company also scans over half a million sites on the internet and the dark web 24/7, looking for any sign of your personal data. IdentityWorks monitors the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian – to keep tabs on your credit history. In case of any irregularities or significant changes, IdentityWorks will send you a notification within seconds.
Experian IdentityWorks even offers free identity theft protection during its 30-day free trial. The user-friendly design and interface let you check your credit and the state of your financial data at any point during the day. IdentityWorks monitors and helps you keep track of your credit report. If you prefer, you can also track your credit via regular updates of your FICO score, which is compiled by the Fair Isaac Corporation. This service monitors all activity associated with your name, address, and Social Security number.
Along with fraud you might experience as an adult, there are various types of identity theft targeting children and young adults. To address this issue, IdentityWorks has built one of the best family identity theft protection programs on the market. Child data endangerment cost $2.6 billion in 2017, and the threat is growing by the year. One Experian IdentityWorks family membership includes monitoring the online data of up to 10 of your children and two adults. The company also offers family protection by sending you push notifications when sex offenders or potentially dangerous people move into your neighborhood. Experion also keeps track of court records, in case any crimes have been wrongfully reported in your name.
If your personal data does get compromised in spite of these safety measures, IdentityWorks sticks by you. To help you recover, reestablish your identity, and move on with your life, IdentityWorks provides up to $1 million in theft insurance coverage.
Identity fraud is a growing concern, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. If you’re (quite rightly) concerned about falling for one of the many scams that have been doing the rounds on the internet, then our guide to the best identity theft protection tools will help put your mind at ease.
Every year, millions of people are affected by ID theft. In 2017 alone, the number of victims in the US was estimated at more than 16 million people. These scams vary in their methods, but pretty much every one depends on a criminal assuming the stolen identity of someone else in order to withdraw money, take out loans, or make payments.
Malware is also often used by cybercriminals to hack into your financial and social media accounts, so installing the best antivirus software is also a good step towards protecting your identity.
However, there are ways to help protect yourself and spot potential scams before they do any damage. The best identity theft protection services we list here all offer access to credit reports that can help you easily keep track of your financial accounts.