At a Glance:
When looking for an identity theft protection service, there are many features to look for. Some of the top companies offer identity monitoring, control, and recovery services. This can help detect, prevent, and resolve identity theft and fraud.
Anyone can be the victim of identity theft, and despite growing public awareness about the problem, cases of identity theft continue to rise.
Last year, companies reported 1,579 data breaches, up nearly 45 percent from a year prior and exposing almost 179 million records, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s 2017 data breach report. Among the exposed data: 158 million Social Security numbers and 14.2 million credit card numbers.
Of course, with data breaches come identity theft, which comprised almost 14 percent of all consumer complaints to the Federal Trade Commission in 2017. Americans seem to be aware of the risks, with 73 percent saying they are very or somewhat concerned about their email, financial accounts, or social media being hacked.
Unfortunately, you cannot stop identity theft trends, but you can protect yourself, such as by using an identity theft protection service. Here, we review some of the best identity theft protection companies.
Best Identity Theft Protection Services
IdentityForce provides identity theft monitoring and protection. Founded in 2005, the company now boasts a 100 percent recovery success rate for events related to identity theft. IdentityForce offers around-the-clock customer service and has excellent member satisfaction ratings. IdentityForce services include comprehensive monitoring and alerts, control, and recovery services.
Among the features and benefits of IdentityForce:
- IdentityForce has an early alert system so that you receive fast notifications through email and by mobile text if there is suspicious activity.
- IdentityForce features in-depth recovery services. The company will make calls, do the paperwork, and handle what’s needed to restore your identity. IdentityForce also provides a $1 million identity theft insurance policy.
- Customers report that it’s easy to use the company’s online portal.
- The price of IdentityForce is relatively low. One of its most comprehensive packages is lower than its main competitors by several dollars a month.
Overall for the price and the services you get, IdentityForce is one of the best identity theft protection services available. Its products provide protection for the entire family. The downsides to IdentityForce are that the app’s capabilities aren’t great, and it does not cover pre-existing identity theft.
LifeLock is probably one of the most recognizable identity theft protection services. It offers a variety of monitoring and threat detection services including credit file activity, online loans, address changes, and online payday loans. LifeLock also monitors customers’ information on the dark web.
Features and benefits of LifeLock identity theft monitoring and protection include:
- LifeLock partnered with Norton Security to provide even more robust protection including against ransomware, viruses, phishing, spyware and online scams.
- LifeLock provides reimbursement of stolen funds up to the limit of whatever your plan is.
- The Million Dollar Protection Plan includes personal expense compensation, reimbursement of stolen funds, and coverage for lawyer and expert fees if they’re required.
- The LifeLock mobile app is an excellent tool. It offers quick alerts using the LifeLock Identity Alert System, and you can respond to alerts through a push notification.
ID Watchdog offers identity theft protection and resolution services as an employee benefit. The technology used by ID Watchdog searches billions of data points with the goal of providing customers with a convenient, efficient, and affordable way to protect their personal information.
ID Watchdog offers two plans: ID Watchdog Plus and ID Watchdog Platinum. Both have basic and advanced identity monitoring, email and SMS notifications, and full-service restoration if identity theft occurs. Benefits and features of ID Watchdog include:
- One of the only options for people dealing with pre-existing theft. This is more expensive, but it can be a big perk for customers with this issue.
- For the Plus and Platinum packages, the prices are relatively low. The monthly price for Plus is $14.95 a month, and for Platinum, it’s $19.95.
- Internet black-market monitoring and high-risk transaction monitoring are included.
- Optional reimbursement insurance for up to $1 million for expenses related to identity theft.
Identity Guard is a service provider that offers monitoring and protection for digital and financial identity elements. Identity Guard aims for simplicity. You can enroll in a few minutes and can choose among several options to protect yourself or your entire family.
Features and benefits of Identity Guard include:
- A low-priced plan of $8.99 a month that includes dark web monitoring, safe browser tools, a risk management report, and the anti-phishing mobile app.
- Several options in plans at varying price points, so it’s easy for customers to find a plan with the features they need and that is within their budget.
- Family plans are available to protect all adults and children in a household.
- Identity Guard offers full recovery, including a personal case manager and a $1 million insurance policy and stolen funds reimbursement.
Why is Identity Theft Protection Important?
Identity theft protection is important for multiple reasons. First, identity theft protection proactively lets you know if there are any threats to your identity, so you can remedy the problem before it escalates and save time and money. Most of these services also offer recovery help, so that you can restore your identity. If your identity was stolen and you weren’t alerted, it could become costly and damaging to your finances.
What Can I Do to Help Keep My Personal Information Safe?
While identity theft protection can be helpful, you can also take measures on your own to protect your personal information. The following are some recommendations:
- Use secure passwords, change them often, and don’t use the same password across multiple websites or services.
- Keep your Social Security number secure. Don’t give it out unless you absolutely have to, and don’t carry your social security card with you.
- If you’re going out of town, have the post office hold your mail so you don’t alert thieves with a full mailbox.
- When you’re using public WiFi networks, keep your firewall settings on.
- Learn about phishing emails and what to look for so you that you don’t inadvertently provide access to your accounts or information.
- Use all of the available security features on your mobile devices.
- Regularly review your credit report for any suspicious accounts.
Protecting your identity is becoming increasingly important as the number of data breaches and incidents of theft rise. Being proactive, keeping up with guidelines and recommendations, and using an identity theft protection service are all good ways to keep yourself safe in the face of escalating threats.