6 Best Identity Theft Protection Services of November 2021

·21 min read

Identity theft protection services can provide the help you need if your data has been compromised. These services monitor your personal information, credit files and the web, alerting you to any suspicious or fraudulent activity. They can also contact credit bureaus, banks and creditors on your behalf and assist you in restoring your identity if it becomes necessary.

Read on to learn more about the best identity theft protection services of November 2021.

Our Top Picks for the Best Identity Theft Protection

  • Identity Guard – Best for Fast Alerts

  • LifeLock – Best Features

  • ReliaShield – Best Family Plans

  • IdentityIQ – Best for Credit Monitoring Services

  • IdentityForce – Best for Comprehensive Protection

  • IDShield – Best for Restoration

Best Identity Theft Protection Reviews


Pros

  • Uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify identity threats

  • US-based case managers available to assist with ID recovery

  • Risk Management Score measures your identity fraud risk

  • Android and iOS mobile app

Cons

  • Credit reports only available with the most expensive plan

  • Prices not readily available on website

Why We Chose It: We chose Identity Guard as the best identity theft protection for fast alerts because of the promptness of its notifications and use of AI to detect threats.

Identity Guard uses artificial intelligence to identify possible fraud earlier and send notifications faster. Their scanning platform is powered by IBM Watson, a supercomputer that can analyze and learn fraud patterns to warn consumers if they are at high risk of identity theft.

Identity Guard’s most comprehensive plan costs $25 per month with an annual subscription. It includes dark web and social media scanning, credit reports and alerts from the three main credit bureaus and a monthly credit score report based on your TransUnion and Experian credit history. It also includes monitoring of your sex offender registries, home title and retirement and investment accounts — features most competitors offer only with higher priced plans.

Individual Plan

Family Plan

Value

$8.99 per month or $90 ($7.50/mo) with annual subscription

$14.99 per month or $179.88 ($12.50/mo) with annual subscription

Total

$19.99 per month or $200.04 ($16.67/mo) with annual subscription

$23.99 per month or $239.88 ($19.99/mo) with annual subscription

Ultra

$29.99 per month or $300 ($25/mo) with annual subscription

$31.99 per month or $320.04 ($26.67/mo) with annual subscription


Pros

  • 24/7 live customer service support

  • Stolen or lost wallet protection

  • Social Security Number alerts

  • All plans include coverage of up to $1 million for legal fees

  • 60-day money-back guarantee with annual membership

Cons

  • ID Theft Insurance coverage amount depends on the plan

Why We Chose It: We chose LifeLock as the best identity theft protection for features because of the additional cybersecurity tools included in its plans.

LifeLock offers three plans for individuals and families: Standard, Advantage and Ultimate Plus. All plans include Norton 360, a cybersecurity suite that is designed to provide multiple layers of protection against existing emerging cyber threats in a single software package. It includes antivirus and malware protection for five devices or more, parental controls, cloud backup for Windows computers, and a password manager, among other software products.

LifeLock plans also include Social Security number monitoring, credit alerts from at least one bureau, USPS address change verification, dark web monitoring and data breach notifications. The Ultimate Plus plan also features three-bureau credit monitoring and monitors investment account numbers for changes. LifeLock alerts you to any payday loan transactions that use your personal information

Paid Monthly

Paid Annually (save 15%)

Select

$9.99/mo 1st year (Renews at $14.99/mo)

$8.29/mo 1st year, (99.48 upfront, renews at $124.99/yr)

Advantage

$19.99/mo 1st year (Renews at $24.99/mo)

$15.99/mo 1st year, (191.88 upfront, renews at $249.99/yr)

Ultimate Plus

$29.99/mo 1st year (Renews at $34.99/mo)

$24.99/mo 1st year, ($299.88 upfront, renews at $349.99/yr)


Pros

  • Data breach alerts

  • Personal information and dark web monitoring

  • 24/7 customer service and recovery assistance

  • Family plans cover all children under 18

Cons

  • Essential Plan doesn't include credit monitoring

Why We Chose It: We chose ReliaShield as the best identity theft protection for family plans because of its comprehensive and highly affordable plans for families with several minors.

ReliaShield offers plans in three tiers for individuals and families: Essential, Prime, and Elite. All plans feature competitive pricing and a comprehensive list of services that includes five types of monitoring, data breach updates, 24/7 customer and recovery services, wallet protection, and free credit report reminders. The Elite plan adds additional monitoring services, a monthly credit score tracker, and several notification services.

While pricing for family identity monitoring plans usually starts at $25, ReliaShield family plans start at $14.99 per month and cover two adults and up to 10 children under the age of 18.
Whichever plan you choose, both adults and children get the same benefits, including monitoring sensitive and financial information, social media accounts, court and public records, data breaches, and neighborhood predator alerts.

Individual Plan

Family Plan

Essential

$7.99 per month or $87.99 yearly

$14.99 per month or $164.99 yearly

Prime

$14.99 per month or $164.99 yearly

$24.99 per month or $274.89 yearly

Elite

$21.99 per month or $241.89 yearly

$34.99 per month or $384.89 yearly

Pros

  • Credit history monitoring and scores from the three bureaus

  • Monitors utilities, cell phones and credit applications

  • US-Based ID restoration service

  • Lost wallet assistance

Cons

  • Secure plan doesn't include credit score tracking

  • Family members only included in the Secure Max plan

Why We Chose It: We chose IdentityIQ as the best identity theft protection for credit monitoring because of its variety of credit-related services, including 3-bureau monitoring, credit tracking, and a credit score simulator.

All of IdentityIQ’s service plans — Secure, Secure Plus, Secure Pro, and Secure Max — include credit monitoring and tracking. Their plans also include dark web monitoring, Social Security number alerts, checking account reports, lost wallet assistance and up to $1 million to cover stolen funds, legal fees and lost wages.

Its most affordable option (the Secure Plan) costs less than $10 a month and offers daily credit monitoring and alerts from one credit agency. At the other end of the spectrum, there’s the Secure Max plan, which offers monthly credit reports and scores from all three bureaus, credit score alerts and a credit score simulator for around $30 per month.

Individual Plan

Secure

$8.99 per month ($107.88 paid annually)

Secure Plus

$11.99/month ($143.88 paid annually)

Secure Pro

$21.99 monthly ($263.88 paid annually)

Secure Max

$29.99 monthly ($395.88 paid annually)


Pros

Cons


  • Plans include anti-phishing and keylogging software

  • Payday loan applications alerts

  • Premium plan includes VPN and malware protection for mobile devices

  • Basic plan features junk mail opt-out and social media monitoring

  • Higher priced family plans than its competitors

  • Fewer plan options

Why We Chose It: We chose IdentityForce as the best identity theft protection for comprehensive protection because it offers reasonably-priced packages that include basic and advanced features.

Neither of IdentityForce’s two ID theft protection plans is particularly affordable, but they do include features that similarly priced services don’t. Its top plan, the UltraSecure+Credit at $23.95/month, includes credit scores and reports from all three credit bureaus and features a credit score simulator that you can use to evaluate how certain financial decisions might impact your score.

Most ID theft protection services feature a mobile app. However, the Identity Force app goes a few steps further, providing security features that protect your mobile devices from malicious apps, spyware and unsecured Wi-Fi connections. It also includes a VPN service and detects “spoof” networks, that is, false networks created by scammers to trick you into connecting and hacking your device.

Further, aside from helping with credit issues, IdentityForce also monitors court and public records, sex-offender registries, social media and the dark web.

Individual Plan

Family Plan

Ultra Secure

$9.99 per month or $99.90 yearly

$24.90 per month or $249.00 yearly

Ultra Secure + Credit

$19.99 per month or $199.90 yearly

$35.90 per month or $359.00 yearly

All annual subscriptions include two free months.

Pros

  • Access to in-house licensed private investigators

  • Unlimited consulting and restoration services

  • Scan your social media for unwanted images and posts

  • 24/7 access to emergency customer support

  • Monthly credit score tracker

  • Support for credit report disputes

Cons

  • No detailed credit reports provided

Why We Chose It: We chose IDShield as the best identity theft protection for restoration because of its use of licensed private investigators and affordable three-bureau monitoring plans.

IDShield has two plans available for individuals and families, the One Bureau and Three Bureau. Both include a 30-day free trial and the services of private investigators that step in if you’re a victim of ID theft. If you subscribe to a family plan, a different investigator is assigned to each family member who may be a victim of fraud.

Plans include dark web surveillance, credit score tracking for one year, credit reporting disputes, along with monitoring of financial accounts, personal information and court records.
The company also monitors social media accounts, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and flags problematic posts or comments. However, do note that none of its plans provide detailed credit reports.

Individual Plan

Family Plan

1 Bureau

$14.95 monthly

$29.95 monthly

3 Bureau

$19.95 monthly

$34.95 monthly

Other Companies We Considered

PrivacyGuard Total Protection

Pros

  • Monthly credit reports and scores from all three bureaus

  • Credit monitoring

  • Public and dark web scanning

  • Up to $1 million in compensation if your identity is stolen

Cons

  • Doesn't offer family plans

  • No social media monitoring

ID Watchdog

Pros

  • Child Credit Lock to protect your minor against credit fraud

  • Social media monitoring included with all plans

  • Credit report monitoring

  • High-risk transactions and public records monitoring

Cons

  • No credit report or score with base plan

  • Family plan only allows up to four children

Experian Identityworks

Pros

  • 30-day free trial

  • Dark web monitoring

  • FICO score alerts and simulator

  • Three-bureau credit monitoring

Cons

  • Fraud insurance with basic plan only covers up to $500,000

Identity Theft Protection Guide

Identity theft protection services can help monitor your personal and financial information across the internet and notify you whenever it might’ve been used fraudulently by someone else. However, these services only detect suspicious activity. They can’t prevent your information from being stolen and misused in the first place.

To protect yourself from identity theft and really up your cybersecurity game, it’s important to know how to identify and avoid potential scams.

Types of identity theft scams

Identity theft comes in many forms, and not all of them consist of a malicious hacker on the other side of the screen waiting for you to write your password.

Phishing

Identity thieves can trick you into sharing private information by using emails or text messages that look like they’re from legitimate companies, such as banks, online stores, social media sites or streaming services. These so-called phishing messages usually urge you to click a link and take immediate action regarding a blocked account or outdated payment information, for example. They may also ask you to download attachments that infect your device.

Formjacking

With formjacking, hackers insert malicious code into legitimate website forms. The code is well hidden and can copy your billing information or login credentials without arousing suspicion.

Make sure the websites you visit are secure by checking that their address begins with “https” and features a small lock. Note that this isn’t fool-proof, as sophisticated hackers can include these safety measures in formjacked websites.

Physical document theft

Online identity theft has increased exponentially in the digital age, but physical document theft is still very common. Don’t carry your Social Security card, passport and other important documents in your wallet, purse or car unless necessary. Make sure to shred documents that contain personal information, such as bank statements and utility bills, before disposing of them.

Data breaches

A data breach is when someone gains access to your devices or a business’ database without authorization. This can let cyber criminals steal names, dates of birth, home and email addresses, passwords, credit card, driver’s license or even SSN.

Not all data breaches can be avoided, but there are some things you can do to reduce your data breach risk, namely using distinct passwords for different accounts and enabling two-step authentication when possible.

Other kinds of identity theft

Synthetic identity theft

Cybercriminals might create new identities by combining real personal information with fake data. For example, they may use a real Social Security number and a false name to apply for a loan.

Child identity theft

Scammers can steal a child’s personal information and use it to open bank accounts, credit cards, or apply for loans, for example. Most of the time, this goes unnoticed until years later when the affected individual tries to obtain a job, car insurance or a new credit card.

Medical identity theft

Your information could also be used to obtain health insurance or to submit false claims to Medicare and other insurers. This type of fraud may also involve a scammer using your health insurance to visit a doctor or get a prescription. There have even been cases where the scammer’s and the victim’s health records are mixed up, leading to misdiagnosis or inadequate treatment.

Tax identity theft

A scammer that gets access to your Social Security number can use it to file a fraudulent tax return and collect the refund before you do. Most people become aware of this type of theft when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) flags their tax return as a duplicate.

Types of identity theft protection services

Identity theft protection companies help you monitor your private information across the internet and spot scams early on.

These are some of the most common features provided:

Credit report monitoring

ID theft protection services monitor your credit report from one or all three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — depending on the service plan you choose. They alert you to any changes in your personal and financial information such as a new home address or loan application, and so can help you detect fraud before it impacts your credit report.

(If you’ve already been the victim of identity theft, and there is inaccurate information in your credit history, make sure to check out our guide to the best credit repair companies).

Identity monitoring

ID theft protection services monitor websites, the dark web, databases and criminal or public records for signs that your personal information is being shared or used by fraudsters. They usually track your Social Security number, driver’s license, passport, home address, email, phone number and bank accounts.

For example, an ID theft protection company will notify you if your Social Security is used to file a suspicious tax refund or if your email address and password were exposed in a data breach and are now available on the dark web.

Identity recovery services

If your identity is compromised, good ID theft protection companies will provide professional assistance to help you recover your identity and secure your accounts. These restoration services include contacting government agencies, requesting a credit freeze, and helping you write letters to creditors and debt collectors.

You can also submit a credit report dispute yourself. However, hiring a company to do so can save you some time and effort.

Fraud insurance

Identity theft services in our list offer fraud insurance coverage ranging from $20,000 to $1 million. This compensation is meant to cover out-of-pocket expenses such as legal fees or lost wages related to recovering your identity. Bear in mind that identity theft insurance won’t reimburse you for any stolen money or financial loss.

Cybersecurity Software

Many ID theft protection services now include additional tools designed to protect your personal information online, such as VPNs, antivirus software and password managers. How useful these are will vary depending on your personal Internet use. For example, you need a VPN if you work in a sensitive field where your online actions must be kept private from internet providers.

If you want to know more about VPNs and antivirus software, or would like to pick one out yourself, take a look at our best VPN services and best antivirus software pages.

Is identity theft protection worth it?

Keeping track of your personal information is becoming increasingly difficult. In 2020 alone, the FTC received nearly 1.4 million reports of identity theft — twice as many as in 2019 — and identity fraud cost Americans $56 billion. As your number of online accounts grows, so too does the risk of identity theft.

You can protect yourself from ID theft by practicing basic security measures. But, if you have an overwhelming amount of online and financial accounts, an identity protection service can offer some peace of mind.

ID protection services do the heavy lifting for you by looking for possible exposure of your personal information and spotting instances when your data might have been used fraudulently. Some credit repair services will also assist you in the process of recovering your ID, and insure you against losses arising from ID theft and related fraud.

ID theft protection is especially worthwhile for individuals who don’t actively monitor their own credit and may not notice the impact of ID theft — over $1000 for the average victim, credit damage, emotional distress — until it’s too late. Seniors at risk of identity theft can also benefit greatly from these services. Many older Americans may believe that they are safe from ID theft because they don’t share personal information online, but as data breaches have proven countless times, that is not the case.

How to protect your identity

Here are some recommendations if you want to know how to protect your identity from theft and fraud:

1. Make good use of passwords

Create strong passwords by avoiding sequential letters and numbers like “1234” or “abcd.” Instead, use random sequences that include punctuation marks and letters in both lowercase and uppercase.

More importantly, don’t reuse passwords — if a reused password is exposed in a data breach, hackers would get access to all of the accounts with the same login credentials. Consider getting a password manager, which generates strong passwords for you and stores them in an encrypted format, if you’re having issues remembering your passwords.

2. Carefully manage your personal information

Don’t carry your Social Security card in your purse, wallet or car unless it’s absolutely necessary. Also, don’t share personal details like SSNs, bank account numbers, driver’s license, and birth dates through text messages, email or social media.

Remember that government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the Social Security Agency (SSA), will never call, text or email requesting personal information or threatening legal action against you.

3. Keep tabs on your credit and bills

Request copies of your credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com and keep an eye out for new accounts or loan applications you don’t recognize. Make sure to check your monthly credit card bills and bank statements for unauthorized charges as well.

You can also request fraud alerts from your credit bureaus, so that banks and other financial institutions contact you and verify your information before approving new accounts. You can even ask the bureaus to issue a credit freeze, which prevents new accounts from being opened in your name until you lift the freeze.

4. Safeguard your information and devices

Protect your Internet-connected devices by installing antivirus software and enabling two-step factor authentication when available, which gives your accounts an extra layer of protection.

Additionally, protect yourself from phishing attempts — when you receive an email asking for personal information or requesting you click on a link, check for spelling and grammatical errors, and hover over the sender’s name to reveal the full email address.

As for protecting your physical information, shred receipts, account statements, expired credit and debit cards before disposing of them. Don’t forget to collect your mail every day: If you’re going on vacation, make sure to place a hold on your mail (you can do this online at USPS.com), or have somebody pick it up on a regular basis.

Reporting Identity Theft

If you’ve been the victim of an identity theft attempt, make sure to file a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at IdentityTheft.gov or call 1-877-438-4338.

Once you fill out the FTC report, you may also file a police report, especially if you have an idea of who may be behind the crime. To prevent damage to your credit, contact your bank, credit card issuer and the credit bureaus to notify them of the situation.

When it comes to phishing emails, you can forward them to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@apwg.org. Text messages can be forwarded to SPAM (7726).

Remember to report the phishing attack to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

ID Theft Protection FAQ

How to report identity theft

To report identity theft or an identity theft attempt, you must file a report with the FTC. This can be done through the IdentityTheft.gov website or by calling 1-877-438-4338. For more information, take a look at our section on reporting identity theft in this article.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is when somebody steals your personal information and uses it to commit fraud -- whether by opening accounts in your name, applying for credit, filing taxes, or getting medical services, to name just a few.

How to prevent identity theft

There is no fail-safe way to prevent identity theft. However, there are things you can do to make it harder for thieves to steal your identity. For example, you can request a credit fraud alert, safeguard your Social Security number, use strong passwords, and check your credit report regularly. An identity theft protection service can also safeguard you from unauthorized access and use of your personal information. These services monitor credit applications, public records, websites, and databases for signs of your personal information and alert you when they identify a threat. They may also reimburse you for any losses caused due to the result of ID theft or fraud.

What is the best identity theft protection?

The best identity theft protection companies offer a wide variety of monitoring services, customer service and recovery assistance around the clock, and a high insurance coverage ceiling. Based on our research, we concluded that Identity Force offers the best comprehensive ID theft protection. Its plans can be somewhat expensive, though, so take a look at our list of best identity theft protection services to find the best one for you.

How We Chose the Best Identity Theft Protection

We evaluated each provider’s monitoring services, additional tools and features, reimbursement policies, and customer service in order to establish which companies offered the best identity theft protection services. We determined that, in order for a company to be considered the best, they needed to offer the following services:

  • Comprehensive identity theft monitoring: We preferred services that offer daily credit checks, dark web surveillance, and bank and credit account monitoring.

  • Alerts: The best identity theft protection services are those that send you real-time alerts via email and SMS text messaging when breaches are detected. All the companies we chose have iOS and Android mobile apps to make communication easier.

  • Identity Restoration: The best identity theft protection services have experts who guide you through the identity restoration process, contact financial institutions and government agencies on your behalf and include fraud insurance, which can reimburse you for legal fees.

Summary of Money’s 6 Best Identity Theft Protection of November 2021

  • Identity Guard – Best for Fast Alerts

  • LifeLock – Best Features

  • ReliaShield – Best Family Plans

  • IdentityIQ – Best for Credit Monitoring Services

  • IdentityForce – Best for Comprehensive Protection

  • IDShield – Best for Restoration

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