Best Identity Theft Protection Services of 2021
The internet is fertile ground for scammers, and one of their favorite activities is identity theft. Your personal data can be misused, sold on the black market, or even used as blackmailing material. The only way to stop this from happening is to find the best identity theft protection company that will ensure your accounts and your ID numbers stay safe.
There are dozens of options on the web, all claiming to be the most reliable and affordable choices. We’ve gone through all of them, compared their services, and handpicked the best ones. Take a look.
The 8 Best Identity Theft Protection Companies of 2021
IdentityForce.com is, according to various online consumer reports, the best identity theft protection available. There are at least a couple of reasons why this might be true. First of all, the company has recently joined forces with another high-profile security agency called EZShield. This partnership has resulted in exceptional service with a wide range of services and handy prevention tools. Both subscription plans include social media monitoring which is quite rare, while the slightly more expensive one will give you all the credit monitoring you might need. Read Review
- •Partnership with EZShield
- •Social media tracking
- •Credit score simulator
Intersections Inc, a company that created Identity Guard, appeared way back in 1996 and essentially established the entire ID theft protection industry. Identity Guard has evolved significantly over the years, especially thanks to the fruitful partnership with IBM’s powerful AI software Watson. However, one of the main reasons this might be the best family ID theft protection is the price. Starting at $7.50 a month, it is among the cheapest offers on the market. As numerous Identity Guard reviews on the web show, it’s definitely worth a try. Read Review
- •Watson AI system
- •Near real-time response
- •Dark web monitoring
The Norton LifeLock partnership is one of the best combinations you can find for extensive security of your personal details. If you choose to opt for the antivirus version, your best protection for identity theft will also come with a free VPN, which is often charged as a separate service. The higher up the subscription plans you go, the more monitoring options you unlock but be careful of the price. All of the subscriptions are presented with prices for the first year while the renewals cost more. Make sure you read the fine print before making your choice. Read Review
- •Norton 360 antivirus
- •Credit monitoring in all plans
- •VPN services
While you won’t find the best free identity theft protection on the market worth your while, IdentityIQ might be the next best thing. With its prices starting as low as $6.99 a month, this company is a great choice for users who want an inexpensive but reliable service. The excellent identity restoration team will guide you through the entire process if it comes to that while the insurance protects both you and your family. Read Review
- •Low prices
- •Dark web searches in 25 languages
- •Criminal activity alerts
Experian IdentityWorks is a full-fledged identity theft protection service that focuses on credit reports. The vendor keeps an eye on your credit score by monitoring all three major credit bureaus. Members can lock and unlock their credit reports with ease. Other features include dark web surveillance and alerts, making this a solid choice for users who are concerned about privacy. Read Review
- •Three-bureau credit monitoring
- •Credit file locking and unlocking
- •In-house resolution specialists
Although a 2017 security breach somewhat tarnished Equifax’s reputation, we still find it worthy of our best credit monitoring service list. In addition to the usual cocktail of monitoring capabilities, ID Watchdog protects you from tax and medical fraud while shielding your loved ones from cyberbullying. Read Review
- •Tax and medical ID theft protection
- •Powerful social media scanning capabilities
- •Operated by Equifax
ReliaShield is a well-established company that’s been in business since 1999. With a 100% success rate in retrieving stolen identities, the company offers a multi-tiered pricing structure that includes options for a variety of users. Add to that free coverage for children under 18, and it becomes clear how ReliaShield found its way to the top of our list. Read Review
- •100% success rate in recovering identities
- •Free coverage for children
Credit Sesame has been helping users monitor and improve their credit scores for years. The company is one of the very few that offers completely free identity theft protection services. While its free plan is generous, you should subscribe to one of the paid plans if you want the full protection suite. Read Review
- •Generous free plan
- •Credit experts available 24/7
- •Full monthly credit profiles
How We Evaluate The Best Identity Theft Protection Companies
There are dozens of companies on the internet claiming to offer the best protection against identity theft, but do they really live up to people’s expectations? To find out whether that’s true, we’ve put all of them through our filter and handpicked the top ones. Here are some of the main elements we looked at.
First off, we check to see the quality and the range of the promised monitoring services. Does the company keep track of all your financial accounts? Can it dive into the dangerous waters of the dark web to find stolen information? Will it keep an eye out on social media and photo leaks? Does it also offer the best credit card identity theft protection?
These are all important questions that give you a good idea about the quality and depth of the service. Some ID protection companies focus solely on credit monitoring service, while others only search the web for your personal details. We demand an all-inclusive package.
Restoring and Blocking
Logically, the service can’t just end with detection. What happens after your leaked data is discovered? We need to make sure that the company won’t leave you hanging. What kind of reactions and remedies can you expect? Does the company offer valuable advice or act upon it? We also understand the importance of prevention that is often at the very heart of the best identity theft protection service.
Because of that, we appreciate it when the provider takes some extra steps to prevent scammers from stealing your information in the future.
Since you’re not personally searching for your data online, you can only know as much as the software will tell you. This is precisely why the site’s interface plays such an important role. We take a look at the platform, its compatibility with devices you have, and ease of use. How efficient is the alert system and how much information does it provide?
You can tell a lot about the company simply by looking at its website design, especially in this niche. The best identity theft protection companies that make it onto our list really give you that professional vibe right away.
The thing with customer support is - you don’t care about it until you actually need it. So, it's good to know that the agents are just around the corner, waiting to respond to your emergency. We check to see how many methods you have at your disposal and assess the quality of the service.
Sometimes, the companies will include plenty of information on the website with a comprehensive help center, so you can find the answer yourself. A solid FAQ section can often answer the majority of basic questions.
The best identity theft protection plans usually aren’t too expensive, but since it’s a monthly subscription, it can add up. Our reviews will let you know if there are any hidden fees or additional costs covertly included in the deal. Most of the time, we include the prices at the very end because, at that point, you already know what you’re getting.
You’ll be able to determine by yourself if the promised services are worth the money.
Best Identity Theft Protection in 2021:
- IdentityForce - Award winning app with Mobile Attack Control
- Identity Guard - Dark web monitoring
- LifeLock - Credit monitoring in all plans
- IdentityIQ - Criminal activity alerts
- Experian IdentityWorks - ID theft insurance coverage
- ID Watchdog - For mobile users
- ReliaShield - Free minor coverage
- Credit Sesame - Free Plan Option
Although not under the same name, IdentityForce has been around for decades. Today, it is considered the best identity theft protection as consumer reports and numerous positive reviews on the web confirm. In 2019, the company joined forces with another high-profile developer called EZShield to create the ultimate security system.
It’s no wonder then that IdentityForce has so many features to offer both in its basic and advanced packages. Let’s dissect the offer, bit by bit.
It’s quite refreshing to see a company with pricing plans whose names are just self-explanatory. The main difference between the basic UltraSecure package and the advanced UltraSecure+Credit is, you’ve guessed it, its credit monitoring services.
Besides that, they’re identical. If you want the best identity theft protection for a family, you will need to contact the customer support and get a custom quote. In terms of transparency, it’s not ideal that you can’t get the IdentityForce family plan cost on the website, but at least the support team is helpful and quick to respond.
The UltraSecure plan includes various monitoring features like fraud, change of address, court records, medical misuse, criminal activities, and even social media coverage. In addition to that, the service also analyzes data from the dark web and protects you from mobile attacks.
Although most of these features are found elsewhere, IdentityForce has some special options like junk mail opt-out. This feature removes you from major emailing databases that scammers use for outreach.
Even though IdentityForce’s best ID theft protection for families doesn’t include an antivirus, it does give you a couple of useful PC security tools to help with the prevention.
The anti-phishing and anti-keylogging software stops you from visiting suspicious websites and blocks any script that tries to read sensitive information through your keyboard. This is generally how most scammers operate, so using this together with two-factor authentication will ensure safe browsing.
You receive all your alerts through text messages or emails, according to your preference. The dashboard looks modern and, more importantly, it’s extremely simple to navigate. If you want to check the status of your best ID theft protection on the go, you can use the well-built mobile app that offers a smooth experience on both Android and iOS devices.
Everything we’ve mentioned so far belongs to the standard UltraSecure subscription plan at $17.95 a month. The company brags that it’s a discount from $17.99 but, honestly, that just sounds ridiculous.
The UltraSecure+Credit package will cost you $23.95 a month with just a few more features and credit monitoring services. Namely, you will be assigned a dedicated specialist to guide you through the process of freezing your account or reporting identity frauds. That way you ensure the best credit identity theft protection and recovery in case you need it.
This IdentityForce pricing plan keeps an eye out on your credit reports from all three bureaus but also adds one more interesting tool. With the credit score simulator, you can actually test various financial decisions and see how they affect the numbers.
Reasons to Buy:
- Partnership with EZShield
- Social media tracking
- Credit score simulator
- Mobile attacks protection
- Junk mail opt-out
- Anti-phishing PC software
- Android and iOS apps
- Dark web analysis
Identity Guard Review
The main driving force behind Identity Guard’s praised service is its artificial intelligence system Watson. It does an exceptional job of scanning the entirety of the web for your personal information, with some of the best response times in the industry. The subscription plans are quite affordable and offer good value even with the cheapest option.
You can utilize dark web monitoring, credit reporting, and even keep track of social media. All of these reports are delivered to your dedicated mobile app. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the provided service.
Like we’ve mentioned at the very start, the reason why Identity Guard is among the best-rated identity theft protection companies on the internet is the use of a powerful artificial intelligence system named Watson. It is a platform developed by IBM that allows for quick scanning of millions of files across the web in search of your details.
The system is so efficient that you get near real-time alerts about potential problems and suspicious activities. This exclusive partnership of Identity Guard with Watson is definitely the company’s main selling point.
All of the information you need is presented through a modern but simple dashboard. It shows you the number of alerts for each section along with the credit score and risk management report. Note that the best identity theft protection and credit monitoring are only unlocked with the second-tier subscription plan.
Seeing how you’re getting a monthly score based on TransUnion reports, it’s worth the few extra bucks. The platform is compatible with various devices and has a well-optimized mobile app. It’s the easiest way to use Identity Guard: sign in through your phone and keep track of your data on the go.
The cheapest Value subscription plan can provide you with three types of alerts - high-risk bank transactions, information leaks on the dark web, and personal threats found by Watson AI. With the second plan, you get alerts for bank account takeovers and credit score changes. The most expensive plan will throw in a special ingredient to the mix - a full credit report from all three consumer reporting agencies.
While the third plan might seem expensive in comparison, you do get the best credit monitoring and identity theft protection in one package, which is worth your money.
When you become a member of the Identity Guard community, you also get a fraud insurance policy with a maximum of $1 million. This means that the company will reimburse you up to a million dollars of the funds you lose while under its care.
Naturally, the Identity Guard will make sure you don’t lose a penny, but it’s still nice to have this form of guarantee. Speaking of prevention, every package also includes a safe-browsing extension and anti-phishing mobile app. The top-tier plan will give you a report about potential threats on social media.
The majority of the best ID theft protection companies on the market gladly offer a trial mode for new customers, but Identity Guard is not one of them. The cheapest you can go is with the Ultra plan that will cost you $7.50 a month if you pay annually. The family plan bumps the price to $12.50 but covers all of the adults and children in one household. If you have a big family, this is a bargain.
All of the prices are clearly presented on the site with no hidden setup fees or extra charges. What you see is what you get, and that’s commendable, to say the least.
Reasons to Buy:
- Watson AI system
- Near real-time response
- Dark web monitoring
- Optimized mobile app
- 3-bureau credit reports
- $1 million identity protection insurance
- Safe-browsing extension
- Anti-phishing mobile app
LifeLock was the best identity theft protection for families even before its partnership with sister company Norton. Now, even with the cheapest package you also get a reputable antivirus that has been providing solid protection for nearly three decades now. Besides this, users appreciate the fact that every plan includes the Equifax credit monitoring service. Naturally, the plans become progressively more complex the higher you go. The problem is that the prices significantly go up after the first year promotional offer. Here is our take on it.
First of all, it’s commendable that LifeLock doesn’t actually push you into getting Norton 360 together with your package. If you’re only searching for the best protection from identity theft and nothing else, you’re free to choose the Standard package. It keeps track of your identity, SSN, privacy issues and takes note of any data breaches. LifeLock reviews the data on the dark web and monitors your credit, assuming you are verified with Equifax. Overall, it’s not a bad package for $8.33 a month. The annual plan renews at $124.99 a year, which comes to about $10.4 a month. It is a jump but still nothing too bad.
Now, if you want to get Norton 360 with LifeLock, you can opt for the seemingly same-priced Select package. In addition to the best identity theft protection service, you also get an award-winning antivirus together with a VPN for safe browsing. It’s a great bundle for $8.33 a month in that first year, but there’s also a “hidden” fee. Namely, since you’ll also be subscribing to the antivirus protection, your plan renews at $149.99 a year. That’s about $12.5 a month. Seeing how this buys you identity protection and security for up to five devices, it’s the best value for money.
There are two higher-tier LifeLock plans available offering additional monitoring options and covering more devices. With Advantage, at $15 a month, you get the best personal identity theft protection from previous plans along with alerts for financial changes and any crimes committed in your name. Advantage also secures up to 10 devices, which is enough for most households nowadays.
The most expensive package at $21.67 a month for the first year, called Ultimate Plus, protects an unlimited number of devices and includes annual credit reports from all three bureaus. This premium plan unlocks various other monitoring services, but be careful about the hidden LifeLock cost and read the fine print. The plan renews at around $29 a month after the first year, which might be a bit more than you bargained for.
Almost all of the best ID theft protection services on the market offer some form of insurance if your identity gets stolen on their watch. The standard $1 million insurance is only valid for the most expensive plan. Advantage has a limit of $100,000, while the two cheapest offer reimbursement up to $25,000. There is also the “virus protection promise” that will give you a refund if Norton can’t remove the virus from your device. You can contact the LifeLock customer service to get all the detailed information about any of the plans. They are always helpful and friendly.
Norton 360 antivirus
Credit monitoring services in all plans
Bank and credit card alerts
Criminal identity theft protection
Identity theft protection insurance
US-based identity restoration specialist
Excellent customer support
Compared to some other entries on the list, IdentityIQ is not that old. The company was founded in 2010, but thanks to its high-quality service, it quickly found its place among the veterans as the best-rated ID theft protection by impacted people. IdentityIQ.com has a total of four plans available with the cheapest one costing just $6.99 a month for the basic service.
With this basic plan, you can only get the essentials at a more affordable price.
That way you can only get the essentials at a more than affordable price or go a bit further with credit monitoring, score checker, or LPOA restoration. The choice is yours. Here is what it all looks like.
As you might expect from a premium platform like this, IdentityIQ offers a wide range of monitoring services. You get SSN alerts, file sharing network searches, credit changes, criminal activity, and dark web analyses. The only thing missing from this extensive list is social media tracking.
We have to mark it down as a flaw in our best identity theft protection review. This type of identity theft is quite common nowadays, so it’s important to keep it in check.
The basic subscription named Secure Plan will cost you $6.99, which is among the lowest figures on the market. It includes all of the basic monitoring features except for some advanced credit options. This plan is perfect for users who don’t want to damage their budget too much but still want a decent amount of protection.
On the other end of the line is the most expensive Secure Max plan that will cost you $29.99 a month. With this plan, you get the best ID theft protection plus monthly reports from all three bureaus, alerts on potential criminal activities, and the family protection insurance.
The latter covers all of your household family members and reimburses any theft damage up to $25,000. IdentityIQ saves you the trouble of getting a specific family plan for your loved ones.
So, what happens if your identity gets stolen? Every client is protected with IdentityIQ $1 million insurance to reimburse the damage caused by it, pay for lawyer fees, and any additional expenses that might come up. You are assigned with a dedicated US-based case manager to guide you through the recovery process.
The best ID theft protection reviews on the web show that these professionals do an amazing job and, thanks to the LPOA authorization, can do all the paperwork in your stead.
Another interesting feature worth mentioning concerns deep web searches. Namely, IdentityIQ performs these inquiries in more than 25 languages. This simply expands the area of search and gives you even better results. Unfortunately, there’s no way to try out the service before you buy it. There is no IdentityIQ free trial mode or any similar promotions. We recommend you try out the cheapest option and see if it works for you.
Reasons to Buy:
- Low prices
- Dark web searches in 25 languages
- Criminal activity alerts
- Credit changes monitoring
- Family members insurance
- US-based case managers
- LPOA restorations
Experian IdentityWorks Review
If the name Experian rings a bell, it’s because the company is one of the three US credit bureaus responsible for consumer reporting. (The other two are Equifax and TransUnion.) If you’re looking for the best credit monitoring service, a credit bureau should be at the top of your list.
In addition to credit check and credit monitoring services, Experian offers premier identity protection services. This includes dark web scans, monitoring of all three credit bureaus, scanning of court records, sex offender alerts, and loan fraud alerts.
One of the main advantages of signing up for Experian IdentityWorks is credit monitoring. Since this is a credit bureau, you can rest assured that you’re getting the best credit protection services. Depending on the plan you choose, Experian can keep an eye on its own database for credit changes or scan all three credit bureaus.
The credit monitoring service sends you alerts about any significant changes, including new credit inquiries, new accounts, significant account balance changes, credit utilization, positive activity, and dormant accounts. Any significant changes to your FICO score are immediately reported.
One of the perks of subscribing to Experian is that daily FICO reports are included. Without the company’s services, you’re limited to only one free report per year as required by the FCRA.
Another feature that makes IdentityWorks a top-rated identity theft protection service is dark net surveillance. Most leaked or stolen information ends up on the dark web, where it’s sold or distributed. The dark web is an unregulated part of the internet and the first place one should look when personal information is stolen. IdentityWorks does exactly that, notifying you if your details end up on the dark web.
Experian also notifies you if anyone tries to pick up a paycheck or get a loan in your name. You’ll be notified if someone tries to open a financial account using your details. The company even scans court records to determine whether any crimes have been reported in your name.
This identity theft protection service conducts regular checks to determine whether your Social Security number is paired with new addresses or aliases. It scans social media for leaks and notifies you if a registered sex offender moves into your neighborhood.
There are two pricing plans: IdentityWorks and IdentityWorks Premium. The main difference is that the regular plan includes only credit, SSN, and address change monitoring and it scans only Experian’s credit database.
For the best identity theft protection, you should go with the Premium plan, which gives you access to all the features, gets your FICO scores from all three bureaus, and increases the value of the identity theft insurance plan from $500,000 to $1 million.
Pricing scales up and down depending on the number of users:
- One adult: IdentityWorks ($9.99 per month), IdentityWorks Premium ($19.99 per month)
- One adult and up to 10 children: IdentityWorks ($14.99 per month), IdentityWorks Premium ($24.99 per month)
- Two adults and up to 10 children: IdentityWorks ($19.99 per month), IdentityWorks Premium ($29.99 per month)
There is a free 30-day trial period, but you have to provide a credit card to sign up.
Overall, Experian IdentityWorks is an extremely powerful service that deserves a spot on our best identity protection provider list. While it may lack some advanced features, it has everything you’ll need to protect your data.
Reasons to Buy:
- Free 30-day trial
- $1 million ID theft insurance
- Superb credit monitoring
- Paid plans cover up to 10 children
- Dark web scans
- Great mobile app
ID Watchdog Review
This identity theft insurance and protection service also acts as a US credit bureau. ID Watchdog started operating in 2005 before being acquired by Equifax in 2017. The acquisition improved ID Watchdog’s credit monitoring capabilities because it meant that an in-house credit bureau was now monitoring changes to your credit score.
In addition to credit monitoring, ID Watchdog’s identity theft protection encompasses a wide range of services like tax and medical ID theft protection, child ID theft prevention, and criminal and loan fraud. These are some of the features that secured ID Watchdog a spot on our list of the best identity theft monitoring services.
If you’re on the hunt for identity theft protection, it’s only natural to assume that you’re concerned about your privacy and the safety of your data. The fact that Equifax experienced a massive data breach in 2017 when 145.5 million customer records were compromised, doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. This is the last thing you want to see at a company that you’ve entrusted with safeguarding your sensitive data
The fact is, breaches can occur even at companies that have the strongest security measures in place. Our identity protection review finds that ID Watchdog has managed to recover from the breach with a renewed dedication to security and full-fledged identity theft protection for its users.
Like Experian, Equifax keeps a watchful eye on your credit score and warns you if any suspicious changes occur. ID Watchdog can monitor all three credit bureaus, depending on the pricing plan. In addition, the service covers financial account monitoring, so you can set up custom alerts of dubious transactions or account openings.
Like any candidate for best identity protection service, ID Watchdog blocks all unsecured subprime loans, allows you to lock credit reports to prevent fraud, and notifies you if a registered sex offender moves into your neighborhood.
ID Watchdog includes several other very useful tools. For example, the company sends alerts to physicians if any changes associated with their NPI number occur. Additionally, ID Watchdog scans social media for any cyberbullying directed at you and your loved ones, and it monitors the dark web for your personal details.
Like other providers on our list, ID Watchdog has multiple pricing plans that are divided into two categories, with varying monthly fees depending on the number of users. The two plans are ID Watchdog Plus and Premium.
To get the best identity theft monitoring, you should subscribe to Premium, which gives you access to all monitoring tools, enables three-bureau credit check scans, and offers up to $500,000 in 401k/Health Savings Account stolen funds reimbursement. Identity theft insurance goes up to $1 million with both plans, and you’ll have the support of identity theft resolution specialists no matter which plan you choose.
Notable disadvantages of the Plus plan include the absence of subprime loan fraud protection, the lack of financial account monitoring, and reduced access to credit reports.
The prices work like this:
- ID Watchdog Plus: $14.95 per month for individuals, $25.95 per month for families
- ID Watchdog Premium: $19.95 per month for individuals, $34.95 per month for families
If you decide to prepay for a year’s service, you’ll save $30 to $40, depending on the plan.
ID Watchdog is a solid choice when it comes to identity theft protection. While it lacks unique features that would separate it from the competition, it is a good, reliable alternative to pricier plans.
Reasons to Buy:
- Child ID protection
- Tax and medical theft alerts
- $500,00 in 401k/HSA stolen funds reimbursement
- Unsecured subprime loan prevention
- Sex offender alerts
This company boasts that it has a 100% success rate in recovering stolen identities. ReliaShield is a veteran of the identity theft protection industry. It started operating in 1999 and has earned the trust of more than a million users.
While it’s difficult for a vendor to stand out from the competition in a crowded market, our identity protection reviews show that ReliaShield’s affordable pricing, comprehensive protection, and free coverage for children make it a great choice.
Like many fraud protection services, ReliaShield points out disturbing identity theft statistics to potential customers. When you’re looking at the raw numbers, the idea of purchasing identity theft protection services becomes more urgent.
ReliaShield operates by continually scanning the internet and various databases for suspicious or fraudulent activity related to you. The first layer of protection involves scanning the internet and the dark web for traces of your sensitive data. Nowadays, stolen personal information is widely sold or disseminated by hackers.
Like most of the best online identity theft protection companies, ReliaShield can’t prevent identity theft, but it can notify you as soon as it occurs, giving you time to minimize the damage. In the case of ID theft, ReliaShield will help you recover or change any stolen data.
In addition to personal info leaks, ReliaShield scans for new activity related to your Social Security number, including new aliases and addresses. The company will notify you if any of your mail has been redirected through the US Postal Service and it keeps an eye on court records in case a criminal act is committed in your name. Credit monitoring is included in ReliaShield’s pricier plans.
What makes ReliaShield the best-rated family identity theft protection plan is the free coverage for minors.
ReliaShield also offers lost wallet protection. If your wallet is stolen or lost, ReliaShield’s team will work quickly to terminate bank cards and other sensitive documents that were lost, automatically ordering you new ones.
If stolen data leads to you losing money from your accounts, which ReliaShield watches closely, the company offers up to $1 million in reimbursements.
There are three pricing plans to choose from: Essential, Prime, and Elite. If you’re looking for the best family plan for identity theft protection and credit monitoring isn’t a big concern for you, the cheapest plan is more than adequate.
- The Essential plan ($7.99 per month) includes all the features discussed here except for credit monitoring.
- The Prime plan ($14.99 per month) adds single-bureau credit monitoring, social media monitoring, and neighborhood predator monitoring.
- The Elite package ($21.99 per month) adds three-bureau credit monitoring, a monthly credit score tracker, bank account takeover notifications, and credit card application warnings.
All in all, ReliaShield has proven itself effective in identity theft protection, offering much more with its affordable plans than its pricier competitors.
Reasons to Buy:
- Reputable and trusted company
- Free coverage for minors
- Great resolution experts
- Very affordable
- 24/7 customer service
- Lost Wallet protection
Credit Sesame Review
One of America’s few free credit monitoring services, Credit Sesame isn’t a run-of-the-mill identity theft protection company. While its central focus is identity fraud protection, Credit Sesame is devoted to monitoring and improving your credit score.
Compared to other ID theft and credit protection services, Credit Sesame doesn’t fall short except for financial account monitoring, where it lacks important features such as alerts for new account openings or significant changes in account balances.
One of Credit Sesame’s main advantages is that it offers identity theft protection free of charge. While the free plan isn’t quite on par with the best paid identity theft protection plans, it delivers a basic degree of protection. There are no hidden fees or restrictions. Just register on the Credit Sesame site and you can start using the service immediately. You don’t even have to provide a credit card account number.
What’s included in a free ID theft protection package? First of all, you’ll be receiving monthly credit score updates. Since credit scores are such an important metric for all aspects of your financial life, staying on top of any changes - especially negative ones - is paramount. The free plan offers reports from a single bureau - TransUnion.
Like the other best ID theft protection companies, Credit Sesame includes fraud insurance. It’s capped at $50,000 - less than what we usually find at these types of companies, but considering that it comes for free, it’s a solid asset.
The more robust identity theft protection features are reserved for Credit Sesame’s paid plans, which offer downloadable monthly three-bureau credit reports. You also get unlimited credit alerts, with Credit Sesame scanning all three major credit bureaus for changes. This is something we expect from the best identity theft protection solutions.
The paid plans also put Credit Sesame’s credit experts at your disposal 24/7. This is an invaluable asset, as you can contact the team to iron out credit reporting inaccuracies. You’ll also get lost wallet protection as well as Social Security number, public records, and dark web monitoring.
There are three paid plans to choose from:
- Advanced Credit ($9.95 per month): Three credit bureaus monitored, full credit report, and everything in the free plan
- Pro Credit ($15.95 per month): Everything in the Advanced plan plus 24/7 live expert support advanced credit monitoring features
- Platinum Protection ($19.95 per month): Everything in the Pro plan plus black market monitoring, Social Security number and public records monitoring, lost wallet protection, and Plus Pro Credit monitoring
Credit Sesame has just about everything you need from the best ID theft protection services. While it lacks financial account monitoring, the generous free plan offers more than enough features for many users.
Reasons to Buy:
- Free plan
- Multi-tiered pricing
- Monthly credit reports
- Visually appealing interface
- Solid mobile app
Fortunly’s Guide to Identity Theft
Before you can choose the best identity theft protection services, you need to get acquainted with the concept itself. As the saying goes - know your enemy. We live in a world where you just can’t afford to be in the dark when it comes to online protection.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft is broadly defined as the deliberate use of someone else’s identity usually for financial purposes. While this type of crime is older than the internet, it really took off in the online era. Nowadays, we all share way too much personal information with the world, which makes us compelling, easy targets for scammers and criminals. It makes sense then that, according to experts in identity theft, the best protection starts with ourselves. Once you’re aware of the problem, you’re already on the road to solve it.
There are plenty of reasons why scammers might want to steal your identity. First off, it gives them direct access to your bank account and your funds. Secondly, it gives them the means to apply for a loan or receive various other benefits in your name. Worst-case scenario, they can sell your personal information on the dark web to various criminals who might blackmail you or commit serious crimes using your credentials. Unfortunately, the possibilities are endless.
Types of identity theft
There are dozens of different identity theft types, both online and offline. We’ll give you a short breakdown of the most important ones so you can decide what is the best identity theft protection accordingly.
Financial Identity Theft - This is the most common occurrence that happens when the scammer uses your identity to access your existing funds or to create a new bank account. Besides stealing your hard-earned cash, they can also apply for loans and leave you in serious debt if you don’t spot it right away.
Criminal Identity Theft - If they get hold of your personal ID, criminals can use it as a cover for numerous illegal activities both online and in real life. They could leave you with a permanent criminal record without you even realizing it. Imagine your next job application being rejected because of the criminal background you never knew you had.
Employment and Tax Identity Theft - When it comes to employment identity theft protection, the best course of action is to monitor tax records in your name. Someone might use your identity to apply for a job, leaving you to pay taxes. Similarly, the scammer can also collect your tax refunds at any point.
Child Identity Theft - Online fraudsters don’t go by any moral code, which is why you might also face the problem of child identity theft. Because children are even more careless with their personal information, their details can be easily abused. For this reason, it is always a good idea to search for the best family identity theft protection to look after the entire household.
Medical Identity Theft - At first glance, someone using your identity to get medical care doesn’t sound too bad, but it’s actually a pretty big deal. You might be held responsible for the misuse of the system, or you could be treated with someone else’s medical history. This is a potentially life-threatening problem that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Identity Guard is often named the best value identity theft protection for a number of reasons. Even the cheapest subscription plan relies on IBM’s AI technology called Watson that can go through heaps of online data and successfully locate potential threats. You get real-time alerts through a well-optimized app and a dedicated case manager.
If you compare Identity Guard vs LifeLock you might also opt for the latter simply because it includes credit monitoring from one bureau with its cheapest plan. At slightly higher prices, LifeLock also offers VPN services and secures your devices from future threats.
Identity theft can be a serious problem that affects your life in a number of ways. Investing a small portion of your monthly budget in the best ID theft protection service might save you heaps of money in the long run. The thing is, this type of threat will only get more complex and sophisticated as time goes by.
Scammers keep finding new ways to abuse your personal information, so you need a reliable partner to keep an eye out at all times. Some services will only help you find the leaked info, others will help you patch the holes, while the best ones usually offer the full package.
According to financial expert Dave Ramsey, the best identity theft protection on the market is offered by Zander Insurance Group. The company has fairly affordable subscription plans with free service for children included in the family package. It covers all types of identity theft and does the recovery work for you.
However, despite its claimed proactive approach, Zander doesn’t provide any security tools within the package. In addition to that, you don’t get automatic credit monitoring, you have to check it yourself. Zander is a good low-end choice but falls short of being the best ID theft protection out there.
If you make a LifeLock versus Identity Guard comparison, you will see that both services have their advantages and flaws. We lean towards Identity Guard simply because it uses IBM’s Watson system to search for your personal information, and it’s available even with the cheapest subscription plan.
LifeLock, on the other hand, includes credit monitoring from one bureau within its cheapest package, which might make it worth your while. When it comes to prevention, Identity Guard gives you a safe browser extension and an anti-phishing mobile app. LifeLock, on the other hand, includes a VPN as part of its costlier best identity theft protection family plan subscriptions.
Make sure you password-protect all your applications, especially financial ones. If possible use different passwords for all of them to minimize the damage if someone manages to come in. A password manager might help you out with this task. Don’t visit suspicious websites or click on phishing links. In most cases, your antivirus or even your browser will let you know when something is unsafe.
Don’t give out your personal information to people or companies you don’t know. Besides all these steps, you will also need the services of the best identity theft protection company the internet has to offer. Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable options on the web that will provide you with all the security you might need.