As more and more transactions are handled online, identity theft is becoming a widespread issue. Identity theft happens when hackers or thieves acquire your personal information, such as your name, mailing address, email address, Social Security number, banking and credit card information and more. They can use this data to open credit cards or other accounts in your name, file fake tax returns to collect your refund and even rent or buy property.
While identity theft protection services cannot prevent your identity from being stolen in the first place, they can monitor your information and identify suspicious behavior, allowing you to quickly discover if your information has been compromised. Some services also provide financial compensation in the event of a security breach to help ease the monetary impact. If you’re concerned about the safety of your information, take a look at the best identity theft protection products of 2019.
Learn: How to Report Identity Theft
LifeLock includes Norton Security to help protect your identity on your computer, tablet and smartphone. You can protect up to five devices with a LifeLock subscription. Your devices will be scanned regularly, and any suspicious activity will be reported.
LifeLock also provides financial restitution if your identity is ever compromised. The company will compensate you for personal expenses, reimburse stolen funds and provide expert and legal counsel to help you get your identity back. The maximum amounts of coverage for personal expenses and stolen funds are each limited to $25,000 for Standard members, $100,000 for Advantage members and $1 million for Ultimate Plus members. All members get up to $1 million for lawyers and experts.
- LifeLock Standard with Norton Security: $9.99 per month for the first year, then $12.99 per month thereafter
- LifeLock Advantage with Norton Security: $19.99 per month for the first year, then $24.99 per month thereafter
- LifeLock Ultimate Plus with Norton Security: $29.99 per month for the first year, then $34.99 per month thereafter
Pros of LifeLock:
- LifeLock provides significant financial compensation if you lose money due to identity theft.
- This product comes with lost wallet protection, and the two premium levels include bank and credit card activity alerts.
Cons of LifeLock:
- This product is pricey, especially after the first year of coverage.
- It comes with Norton Security, so if you use a different virus protection product, you’ll have to uninstall it.
- LifeLock experienced its own security breach in 2018 when customer email addresses were at risk.
Best for: People who have a lot to lose — if you own significant assets, LifeLock is worth the investment thanks to the regular monitoring offered by Norton Security.
Find Out: How to Get a Free Credit Report
2. Identity Guard With Watson
Identity Guard uses IBM’s artificial intelligence Watson to identify breaches that could affect your sensitive information. This product issues alerts when your personal information is found on the dark web and provides a risk management score to give you a sense of how well-protected you are. Up to $1 million of insurance is provided, along with reimbursement for stolen funds.
- Individual Value: $8.99 per month
- Individual Total: $19.99 per month
- Individual Premier: $24.99 per month
- Family Value: $14.99 per month
- Family Total: $29.99 per month
- Family Premier: $34.99 per month
Note that family plans cover all adults and children in a single household.
Pros of Identity Guard With Watson:
- Family plans allow you to protect everyone in your household with one subscription.
- The Family Premier plan includes alerts about cyberbullying on social media, as well as guidance on next steps.
Cons of Identity Guard With Watson:
- The Value plans for individuals and families don’t include a monthly credit score or bank account monitoring.
Best for: Families, particularly those with children in college who may not be well-informed about identity theft.
3. Experian IdentityWorks
IdentityWorks is the identity theft protection product from Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus. This service monitors your Social Security number and address change requests, and alerts you in real time if there’s an inquiry on your credit report. The Premium package also watches for bank account and credit card takeovers, and even monitors court records, social media and the sex offender registry. You can lock and unlock your Experian credit file instantly.
- IdentityWorks Plus: $9.99 per month
- IdentityWorks Premium: $19.99 per month
Pros of IdentityWorks:
- It offers robust credit monitoring — particularly with Experian reports — including credit utilization and dormant accounts.
- At $19.99 a month for the highest Premium subscription, IdentityWorks is one of the lowest-priced identity protection services.
Cons of IdentityWorks:
- Experian is a credit rating agency, not a technology company.
- The heavy emphasis on credit protection may leave other areas vulnerable.
Best for: Budget-conscious consumers who want to keep an eagle eye on their credit score.
IdentityForce offers a comprehensive identity theft prevention product called UltraSecure+Credit. It monitors for advanced fraud, change of address, court records, dark web activity, payday loans and more. You also get medical ID fraud protection and lost wallet assistance, as well as bank and credit card activity alerts, identity threat alerts and junk mail opt-out. Up to $1 million of identity theft insurance is also included.
- UltraSecure+Credit: $23.95
Pros of IdentityForce:
- UltraSecure+Credit is a very economical choice.
- It has a robust suite of monitoring tools.
Cons of IdentityForce:
- Only one plan is available on the website, so product offerings are limited compared to other identity theft protection services on the market.
Best for: Individuals seeking the best bang for their buck.
Click through to discover ways you could accidentally trigger your fraud alert.
More on Credit Monitoring
- How Breaking a Lease Can Affect Your Credit
- 20 Mindless Ways You’re Putting Your Identity at Risk Every Day
- How to Report Credit Card Fraud
- Watch: How to Build Credit
- Security Service Federal Credit Union Review: Great Rates Plus ID Theft Protection
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