Best Identity Theft Protection Reviews
Identity theft affects millions every year and comes in many different forms. Fraudsters are out to take your money, your credit, your medical benefits, and even commit crimes in your name. It’s not just individuals who are in danger: whole families and businesses are under threat as well, which is why having identity theft protection is so important. It monitors your credit scores and financial activity for irregularities and alerts you immediately. Identity theft protection companies also provide expert assistance to help recover your accounts and get you back on your feet.
Our expert reviews will guide you through the best identity theft protection services available, compare them to help you decide which is best for your needs, and give you access to coupons and free trials.
Best Identity Theft Protection of 2021
California’s IdentityIQ has been forging a reputation for itself since 2010, featuring a variety of different monitoring options to cover just about every base possible. On top of monitoring the three credit bureaus and providing monthly credit reports, you’ll also be notified in case someone is trying to change your address, alter public records, or take out a loan in your name. IdentityIQ also monitors the dark web for your personal information in the event it has been exposed by a data breach.
Identity theft can impact entire families, which is why IdentityIQ offers family protection. If anything happens, IdentityIQ offers up to $1 million in insurance to cover any lost wages, pay for legal experts, and recoup any stolen funds. All of this is underwritten by insurance giants AIG.
For security reasons, it’s only possible to contact IdentityIQ’s specialists over the phone, and they’re available from Monday through Sunday. There’s no free trial provided but IdentityIQ does allow you to cancel your subscription at any time if you’re not satisfied with it.
2. Identity Guard
One of the most popular identity theft protectors is Identity Guard, which utilizes the power of IBM Watson’s artificial intelligence to increase its monitoring power. Identity Guard provides you with monthly credit scores from all three credit bureaus, and constantly monitors these for any significant score changes. You’ll also get risk management and social insight reports to show you how easy it could be for fraudsters to find your public details and steal your identity. In case something does happen, you’ll get up to $1 million in reimbursement to cover things like legal fees and lost wages. All of this can be managed with the slick Identity Guard mobile app, available for Android and iOS users.
With an expert ready to take your call 24/7, you can get the recovery process started immediately if anything happens. Of course, for something this important you’ll want to test it out first. Get in touch with Identity Guard directly and they’ll be able to arrange a free 30-day trial for you personally, since it’s not publicly advertised.
Owned by cyber security giants Symantec, LifeLock was initially made infamous by the former LifeLock CEO publicly displaying his own social security number to show just how confident he was in his product. Admittedly LifeLock wasn’t always successful, but it has only improved over time.
You’ll get all the vital identity theft protection you need, with credit monitoring of all three bureaus as well as a monthly report. LifeLock checks whether any new bank accounts have been opened in your name, or if there are any irregularities in your investments or 401(k). One unique service LifeLock provides is that it checks to see if your name appears on any sex offender registries. Due to LifeLock being a part of Symantec, customers can get the protection as part of the Norton 360 package and add a whole host of extra services that will boost every aspect of their online security.
Should anything happen despite so much protection, LifeLock’s U.S.-based restoration team is available to help you 24/7 in case of emergency. You’ll also get the standard $1 million reimbursement limit for stolen funds, personal expenses, and legal help. Unfortunately, there’s no free trial to test out LifeLock first, but you can take advantage of its generous 60-day money-back guarantee.
How to Choose an Identity Theft Protection Service
It’s not easy to decide between all the options on the market, but it’s vital you pick the identity theft protection that’s right for your needs. Here are some of the key aspects you need to consider before making your decision.
What the Risks Are
First, you need to determine what risks you’re exposed to, and this can vary greatly. The risks depend mainly on your financial circumstances, but there are other aspects to consider. For example, some solutions will provide monitoring for retirement funds but if you don’t have to worry about that yet, then there’s no need to seek out identity theft software with this service included. Indeed, your net worth is a crucial determiner of what solution suits you best. Most identity theft protection services offer up to $1 million in compensation, but if this is just a figure you dream about, then you can remove this from your list of necessities.
For All the Family
It would be very strange to receive a pre-approved credit card offer for a toddler but it’s something many families have experienced. If this happens to you, chances are your child has had their identity stolen. This can happen more easily than you’d think. All that identity thieves need is a Social Security number, and they’ll be doing all sorts of damage in your child’s name. Many identity theft solutions have had to make sure they’re able to provide protection for entire families with extra insurance funds available just for them.
What Needs Protecting
You certainly have a lot to consider, as identity thieves thrive on any kind of personal information they can get their hands on. It’s therefore important to prioritize what you need to protect. Naturally you’ll want to protect your financial information above all else, and other solutions – like those offered by banks – will focus more on that than others.
However, if your finances are more modest, there are other things you might worry about. What you need to protect more than anything is your social security number in order to prevent anyone from using your details to rack up debt or commit crimes in your name. Then there’s the kind of identity theft that feeds off of your medical benefits or any other kind of insurance you may have. Regardless of your needs, there will be dedicated identity theft protection that will be perfect for you.
Now that you know exactly what you need, it’s time to start looking at options. The best way to do that is by first reading expert reviews, exactly like the ones you’ll find here. We also have comparisons between different identity theft products to see how they do in a one-on-one contest. We weigh the pros and cons looking at the features of each product and which has the best price.
If there’s one service you find tempting, it’s always best to try it out first to make sure it’s the right one for you. Luckily, most identity theft solutions offer free trials for you to enjoy. In case there’s no free trial available, it’s worth checking to see if a money-back guarantee is provided so you can try the service risk-free and get your money back if you’re not completely satisfied.
When you’ve finally chosen the identity theft protection that’s perfect for you, it’s worth checking to see if you can save a little money at the same time. Searching around for coupons is a good way to make sure you get the best deal possible.
Family Identity Theft Protection
As we’ve mentioned, not even children are safe from identity theft. Any Social Security number is enough for fraudsters to do a great deal of damage, and you’d be surprised at how much fraud can be committed using a child’s details. It’s also worth taking care of elderly relatives who may not be tech savvy, as they can be more susceptible to phishing attacks and may be less careful about who they give certain important details to online.
When it comes to your children, services with family plans will monitor their Social Security numbers just like they would for any individual, but the best options go much further. Many offer special features that you often find only in parental control software, like monitoring social networks for instances of cyber bullying. You can also expect extra insurance funds to cover any recovery that would have to be done for your family members’ identities.
Preventing Identity Theft
Even the greatest identity theft protection can’t give you a 100% guarantee that you’ll be free from having your identity stolen. Criminals could already have your details even before you register. It’s therefore important to consider taking some practical steps yourself to reduce the risk of identity theft.
The first thing you’ll want to do is freeze your own credit which will stop anyone from borrowing in your name. This involves going directly to the three credit bureaus asking them to put a stop on your account. Alternatively, you can use a free service like Credit Karma to do this for you.
Another crucial step is to be incredibly careful how you share your data online. It’s vital that you don’t share your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary. There are very few reasons why anyone would need your Social Security number, so you should always be very skeptical if someone asks for it. SSN requests are just one of the phishing techniques used by cyber criminals, but fortunately there are tips to avoid it.
Identity thieves often rely on data breaches, and most breaches are caused by weak passwords. Password managers are an ideal solution that will store complex passwords for you in an encrypted vault, greatly improving your online security. Likewise, VPNs will help keep your internet connection secure and give you anonymity online. This is especially important if you’re using a shared connection or public Wi-Fi.
Identity Theft Protection 101
Identity Theft Protection vs Credit Monitoring
You may hear people say that identity theft protection isn’t necessary if you simply use a credit monitoring service. While credit monitoring is certainly an important part of checking for identity theft, it doesn’t give you the overall picture. Some people even do credit monitoring themselves without relying on a dedicated service. This is admirable, but it’s also a time-consuming endeavor.
Credit monitoring is a base on which many other features of identity theft protection are built. This is exactly why identity theft protection is so popular – you get the essentials and much more. Doing it yourself, you won’t get monitoring for other signs of identity theft like changes of address, arrest records, or dark web monitoring.
Since neither identity theft protection nor credit monitoring services will ever guarantee total protection, what they can do if something does happen it becomes more important. Unlike credit monitoring, identity theft protection was created with this in mind and often makes generous insurance offers. Providers also have experts on hand who are ready to guide you through the complicated and lengthy recovery process.
Types of Identity Theft and Fraud
Identity theft covers a large number of crimes that all involve using your identity against you. Some are more common than others, but it depends on which of your personal details have been stolen.
The most common type of identity theft concerns your online accounts. These can include your online bank accounts, shopping accounts, or any other accounts that might be storing your important details. A huge amount of financial damage could be caused if a criminal managed to seize control of them.
If identity thieves have enough of your details, they can use them to create new accounts in your name. It’s difficult to tell when this happens, as thieves are unlikely to let you know what they’re doing. This is why credit monitoring is so important – it’s virtually the only way you’ll be able to find out if someone has applied for a credit card in your name – and then enjoyed a shopping spree while you pick up the tab.
On top of that, someone else can use your identity to take advantage of your medical benefits and you may end up being stuck with unexpected medical bills to pay. This has the added hazard of altering your medical records negatively, which could have an impact on your future health if your doctor doesn’t notice the irregularities.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of what identity thieves can do with your or your family’s personal data. There are more threats developing all the time, which is why identity theft protection is so important.
Recovering From Identity Theft
Even the best protection in the world might not be enough to prevent identity theft, although obviously it would greatly reduce the risk. If theft does occur, what’s next? Identity theft solutions offer specialist recovery, so you’ll be back up again quickly.
Doing the recovery yourself is a long and laborious process that involves contacting local police, each credit bureau, your banks, and much more. You can expect to make a lot more phone calls and undertake tedious paperwork before you’re finished. Indeed, if you’ve been a victim of medical identity theft, you’ll also want to request a copy of your medical records to check whether there have been any alterations.
Identity theft solutions are able to guide you through the whole process and will ordinarily give you a dedicated case manager who will be your point of contact. Your case manager will be able to make phone calls and fill out as much of the paperwork as possible on your behalf, saving you potentially hundreds of hours of work.
After this is all sorted out, there will still be further precautions to take. Make sure all your accounts have been given new passwords – ideally using a password manager – and invest in further security software to help prevent identity theft from happening again.