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Your personal information is invaluable, and our directory of the best identity theft protection and surveillance services can help you proactively monitor suspicious activity and protect your identity, and help you recover if you are the victim of a data breach that leads to identity fraud And theft. Unfortunately, you may soon need one of these protection services. This is because identity theft is a big and growing problem, Massive data breach Hitting victims more and more frequently.

In 2016 alone, More than 15 million U.S. identity fraud casesVictims of identity theft have lost more than $ 16 billion, let alone huge losses to credit reports. of Equifax violations in 2017 Is a very bad cake with icing-one Worse In the next few months. Theft of the Starwood Marriott recently damaged the personal information of more than 380 million guests, including More than 5 million passport numbers.


If someone has your social security number and personal information, they can start applying for a loan and credit card on your behalf.

James Martin / CNET

In this directory, we will introduce some of the best identity theft protection services that can help you manage and protect your identity at various price points. However, before you start, we should tell you that you don't have to spend $ 10 to $ 30 a month to get the best protection from identity theft. Provided by the U.S. Government, A service that helps victims of identity theft report and recover from identity theft.

We will jump directly to the best options to provide the best identity theft protection services for ID monitoring, credit monitoring, etc., but please read carefully to learn about other important information and facts about identity theft.

read more: How to prevent identity theft | The best password managers of 2020 and how to use them

Special Offer: Registration Life lock Today, a 10% discount is available for the first year. Terms apply.

Life lock It has come a long way since it was repeatedly investigated by the Federal Trade Commission [Settled in 2015] And litigation by clients and credit reporting agencies. In 2017 Symantec subsidiaryTo buy for $ 2.3 billion.

You may remember those ads, which are statements from LifeLock founders posting their social security numbers anywhere to show his confidence in LifeLock's protection services. Although he did Experienced numerous instances of identity theft According to the posting of these social security numbers, LifeLock's services helped him recover.

The company offers a wide range of protection services, including LifeLock Junior [for monitoring your children] and LifeLock Senior [for monitoring parents 65 and older]. It's important that this service is unique to LifeLock.

When my parents in their eighties were seriously ill, I was suddenly responsible for all their financial affairs. This situation can be a mess. Because older people sometimes suffer from dementia, they are more vulnerable to financial scammers and identity theft. The ability to monitor and notify older parents of major changes in their financial situation may be that person retains or loses their life savings, and even the difference between home and medical care.

Life lock Protection services range in price from $ 9.99 to $ 29.99 per month, with compensation ranging from $ 25,000 to $ 1 million under a monitoring plan. Lower priced protection services only monitor credit from one office. The $ 29.99 monthly plan monitors all three major credit bureaus. You can withdraw your credit report once a year, but the service will provide you with a credit score every month based on Experian data.

SSN and credit alerts, dark web surveillance, alerts about suspicious activity [such as crimes and credit card activity committed in your name, and fraud alert service] are all signs of LifeLock, even though it has stumbled in the past.

Base price: $ 107.88 per year or $ 8.99 per month after 25% discount.

The basic UltraSecure program is used Authentication It's $ 149.90 per year. Its UltraSecure Plus credit plan gives you credit reports and scores for $ 199.50. We love that credit score monitoring not only monitors all three reporting agencies, but also provides a visual tracker that allows you to check your credit ratings over time.

Authentication In addition to credit information, many things are monitored. It checks public information record changes, address changes, court and arrest records, payday loan applications, and checks identity information on various illegal identity-sharing sites to act as police dogs for identity theft. The company also monitors the registry of sex offenders to see if your name is associated with such things. We also like that it tracks new uses of SSN or associations with new names.

Its mobile app has been updated and has a feature called Mobile Attack Control. This monitors the presence of spyware, insecure Wi-Fi locations, and "spoofing" networks in your smartphone [these networks seem to be legitimate connections, but they are not actually]. In addition, if there are security issues monitored by IdentityForce that need immediate attention, the phone application will display an alert.

The company did not disclose the frequency of service monitoring [beyond credit reporting agencies]. That said, we love how the company uses an interesting credit score simulator that helps you understand how different balances, payments, and balance transfers can affect your credit score. IdentityForce provides a 14-day free trial.

Base price: $ 149.90 per year or $ 14.99 per month.

Graphics via PNG / CNET illustration

Large spacing Identity guard It leverages IBM's Watson. Earlier versions of Watson have done everything from winning the Jeopardy to helping doctors diagnose cancer. As you would expect, the version of Watson that powers Identity Guard focuses on identity theft.

Identity guardThe use of Watson involves building a knowledge base and continuing to provide information from many different sources, including social networks. There is no doubt that services enabled by Watson can give you advice on identity management. Its services monitor customers' personal information, including their credit files, DOB and SSN.

Identity Guard provides a Clear summary Its insurance terms. The company offers a basic plan for $ 80 per year, but does not provide credit monitoring. If you want to update your credit report monthly, the annual cost will jump to $ 159.96, which includes credit monitoring and monthly credit scores from three credit bureaus. Its most comprehensive plan is the Identity Gaurd Premier plan, which costs $ 200.04 per year and includes an annual credit report.

Base price: $ 80 per year or $ 6.67 per month.

Full ID Is a service provided by Experian, one of the three major credit reporting agencies. The service has a special offer with Costco: Costco executive members pay $ 8.99 per month, plus an optional child protection fee of $ 2.99 per month. Venus Costco members pay $ 13.99 per month and have the option of paying $ 3.99 per month to protect children. Non-Costco members pay $ 19.99 per month.

Full ID Provide annual credit reports from three agencies. It also provides monthly credit scores and a beautiful chart over time so you can see how your score has improved.

The service provides surveillance for unauthorized use of your Social Security number, as well as other non-credit identity surveillance. An important feature of it is its neighborhood surveillance, which is updated monthly and provides detailed information about predators and crime in your area.

As with all the services we are focusing on, Full ID Provides $ 1 million limited identity theft insurance. Unlike some of the competitors listed here, it has a Clear Benefit Summary. Base price [non-Costco member]: $ 239.88 per year.

Base Price [costco member]: $ 107.88 per year.

Angela Lang / CNET

ID watchdog Describe its service as "Real Identity Protection." After you become a victim of identity theft, the company's biggest advantage is that it can help you recover. It provides a Guarantee The definition of "100% identity theft solution", but the fine text suggests some obvious limitations.

First, the company will only help you if the company detects a new fraud event when you are an active customer. It does not guarantee that you will lose any money, but you can use its "Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Expert [CITRMS]" team.

Like all other commercial identity monitoring services we have introduced in this directory, ID watchdog Provides $ 1 million in identity theft insurance. However, the exact terms, limitations and benefits of this policy will not be clarified until you complete the registration process.

The basic program does not provide credit report or credit score information, but you can get a copy of the credit report and credit score if you sign up for the $ 219 annual premium service. Catch? You receive this report once a year. You can already do it yourself for free:

Although the company has said it provides surveillance services, it does not specify anywhere in its terms and conditions how often inspections are performed for each monitored service.

Base price: $ 164 per year or $ 14.95 per month.

one Identity fraud The outstanding feature is the price. It is the second lowest entry-level price of all the services we explore. The company also offers a commercial cybercrime protection service called Business lock.

Identity Fraud costs $ 99.95 per year for personal services and $ 159.95 per year for credit reporting and monitoring. Like all our competitors, Identity fraud Provides $ 1 million in fraud insurance [except for insurance in New York State, which has a limit of $ 25,000] with a deductible of $ 0. We like identity fraud Clear and understandable insurance benefits.

The company does provide credit scores, but is limited to data from TransUnion, one of three credit reporting agencies. If you spend a quiet month in your identity, the company will send you monthly "No news is good news" emails. It also provides lost wallet services, as well as identity resolution and prevention assistance.

Base price: $ 99.95 per year or $ 9.95 per month.

Intelius Earn points because it allows members to withdraw a new credit report every 31 days. Most services provide credit reports only once a year. Although the monthly report represents only one of the three credit bureaus, reports from these three credit bureaus can be purchased.

The company also offers its own Intelius Identity Protection Scores, not FICO scores, but similar to FICO scores, can be used to evaluate the performance of your credit in loans, financial institutions and transactions. Like many of our other services, Intelius provides record monitoring services.

The company allows you to monitor two addresses, two phone numbers, three credit or debit cards, and two bank account numbers, which cover a wider range than its competitors. In addition, it provides clear details [PDF link] Legal services for its $ 1 million identity theft insurance.

We also like how companies provide a spam opt-out service called "Spam Reduction", which is designed to reduce the number of credit cards you get, and thus reduce the number of checks on your credit history.

Intelius Identity Protect provides a trial version.

Base price: $ 239.40 per year.

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Privacy guard A 14-day trial plan is provided, but instead of being free, there is a fee. So, although you can still see if you like the program, the company has lost all the friction-reducing benefits from trial to live conversion by requiring users to skip this puzzle early in the relationship. Go figure it out.

In addition to a slightly self-solving trial plan, PrivacyGuard offers many of the usual credit and identity protection services offered by competitors. It provides daily credit monitoring, the key value of protecting personal identities from identity thieves, and an extremely scarce level of frequency among many company competitors.

Privacy guardThe basic plan is $ 9.99 per month and it logs the scans. A credit scan of the program for $ 19.99 per month. A $ 24.99 monthly plan can satisfy both needs. Like most other suppliers, Privacy Guard offers a $ 1 million policy. Before signing, the company provides some information about the benefits and limitations of the policy, but it is not enough to make a purchasing decision.

PrivacyGuard updates credit scores monthly and monitors public records and social security numbers. It also provides an annual public records report that provides all the public record information found in a clear document.

PrivacyGuard offers a trial version.

Base price: $ 119.88 per year.

McAfee's Identity Theft Protection Service It's the cheapest we've seen in a year. Its first month does have a $ 0.99 trial period, but you can spend $ 69.99 for a full year, which is much cheaper than the other players we discuss here, even though it's more expensive than the company's last offer The price of 64.99 is $ 5 per year. year.

It provides an excellent "network monitoring" service that continually scans credit activity and alerts you when something unusual happens. The company does monitor your Experian credit files, but is not connected to TransUnion or Equifax.

Like most other vendors, it offers up to $ 1 million in status recovery compensation [unless you are in New York State] and will also return up to $ 10,000 in stolen funds. As an added bonus, if you lose your wallet, the company will do its best to reissue "everything from credentials, credit cards to concert tickets."

McAfee is probably the most well-known anti-virus company founded by it very much Weird founder John McAfee. In 2011, Intel acquired the company and renamed it Intel Security Group, but by 2017, McAfee [now McAfee, LLC] withdrew from itself and was divested by TPG Capital [though Intel still owns a minority stake] .

We tell you all about this because the company's DNA is clearly anti-virus. Asking the company's pre-sales phone about its identity theft program first caused people total confusion as to how much antivirus software we wanted to install, and then, once moved to the "identity theft department", eventually led our editors to try to explain to representatives. What credit reporting agencies do, and why care about them.

This does not mean that the product itself is bad. Fortunately, almost all of this service is automated, and there has never been any doubt about McAfee's software typography. If its automated system finds that one of your tracking accounts is behaving erratically, these alerts may be your best protection when you need to protect your credit.

The company actually provides three layers of identity protection services. Their STANDARD plan costs $ 69.99 for the first year.

If you're willing to pay $ 139.99 per year for the PLUS plan, you'll also get annual credit reports, single-office credit scores, court and criminal record monitoring, and non-credit loan monitoring. This doesn't look good because U.S. Federal Trade Commission provides free annual credit report Any US citizen.

Finally, McAfee offers a PREMIUM plan that offers everything from the STANDARD and PLUS plans, as well as bank account takeover monitoring, credit card application monitoring, and sex offender monitoring [reminds when new offenders register in your area you].

Base Price: $ 69.99.

What about Equifax and TrustedID?


what, Equifax. If you already have an ID monitoring service, it is most likely due to this company, which is the source of the low security. As one of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax has no less than Five majors Data breach In 2017, it affected almost all Americans with a credit history. In the following months, we learned Could be even worse More than originally known.

What's more, the company's hasty response to each data breach has made things worse: one thing, the company Directing users to a fake help site. Sites originally set up to provide free credit account monitoring after a data breach Also vulnerable to hackers.

Roll your head Executive leavewith The company's reputation is dilapidated. However, it is unclear whether there has really been any change due to the federal government's cold response. Equifax is still one of at least three companies-Experian and TransUnion are two other large companies-passed a judgement as to whether we are both in good standing.

For better or worse, many people have taken advantage of TrustedID, a commercial identity theft service provided by Equifax, to offer a one-year membership for free. However, the original offer to anyone with a Social Security number has ended. [This requires you to register before January 31, 2018.]

The service provides your copy Equifax Credit reports, third-party locks on Equifax data [with some exceptions], credit monitoring from all three credit bureaus, monitoring your SSN on what Equifax calls "suspect" websites, and very limited $ 1 million identity theft Policy.

We know if you take advantage of offers when it's free. That said, we just don't recommend doing business with companies that show such contempt for security protocols-let alone customers. Any of the alternative protection services listed above is a better choice.

Pricing comparison

The basic prices for each service are as follows [from lowest to highest]. Please note that more expensive services almost always provide additional privileges, such as more frequent credit reports from credit bureaus.

ID monitoring annual pricing


Base year price

Offer a free trial?

Identity guard

$ 80.00


Identity fraud

$ 99.95


Full ID [Costco member]

$ 107.88


Life lock

$ 107.88


Privacy guard

$ 119.88

$ 1 for 14 days

ID watchdog

$ 164.00



$ 149.90


Intelius Identity Protection

$ 239.40


Full ID [non-Costco member]

$ 239.88


* Provides a 60-day money back guarantee

Identity theft: what you need to know

These are some of the key things to keep in mind for the best identity theft protection and ID monitoring services.

Early detection is key. If you're signing up for one of these protection services, it's more unfortunate than preventing the initial breach and protecting you from being a victim of identity theft. Instead, beware of suspicious activity as soon as possible in case you need to freeze your credit or more. Whether you have an uncharged charge on your credit card, or you suddenly discover that a borrower is charging an un borrowed amount, it's because thieves across the country or thieves around the world have opened credit cards or applied for loans in your name, And see early on that suspicious activity is the name of the game. The scary fact is that these violations can cost you a lot of money.

Knowing how to use your personal information is an important step to keeping yourself safe. An identity theft protection company can help you monitor your personal information and get notified if a thief misuses your account and personal information, and if you deserve a credit freeze, or even get reimbursed after the fact.

None of these protection services monitor your actual banking activities. I have got Has long suggested a way to protect yourself from most bank fraud, Which checks all your accounts once a week. A bit painful, but over the years, in my family, we have found many fraudulent activities and allegations. By doing this exercise regularly, we have saved thousands of dollars. Consumer Report recommend You can also monitor it yourself.

That said, if you're not the kind of person who is willing or able to take the time to do the ongoing due diligence necessary to protect your identity, some of these protection services can help.

Read the rules. Finally, as each protection service offers distinct terms and conditions, we provide an easy link to the terms of service for each company. Before you sign up for another monthly or annual fee, be sure to take the time to read all of their fine print.

Originally released in 2018 and updated frequently.

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