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Best identity theft protection for 2020: secure and prevent ID theft

Best identity theft protection
(Image credit: Pixabay.com)

Today, we regularly share personal identifiable information (PII) and sensitive financial information online. Of course, we usually trust the websites and organizations that we share this information with, but that doesn’t mean they are impenetrable. To stay one step ahead, you need the best identity theft protection available. 

Cybercriminals are constantly on the hunt for ways to steal personal data. From wide-scale data breaches that flood illicit corners of the internet with stolen credentials to targeted attacks on your personal accounts—identity theft is a serious issue. 

In this article, we review the best identity theft protection services on the market, comparing features, prices, and reputation so you can make an educated decision on the right product for you.

Best identity theft protection

IdentityForce is an industry-leading identity protection product (Image credit: IdentityForce)

1. IdentityForce

Top-rated identity theft protection

Credit monitoring: Yes | Identity theft alerts: Yes | Stolen funds reimbursement: $1m as standard

Advanced features 
40+ years of industry experience
US-focussed service
Need to upgrade for credit monitoring 

IdentityForce is an award-winning identity theft protection service that is consistently rated as one of the best providers around. The company’s mission is to provide all-round support all the time and, as a result, IdentityForce guarantees 24/7 monitoring, support, and recovery.

IdentityForce uses advanced fraud monitoring to detect when any of your personal or financial information is being used illegally and alerts you so you can take action quickly. Some of the service’s other features include SSN tracking to check when your social security number is being used (US only) and in-built anti-phishing and anti-keylogging software. 

IdentityForce’s UltraSecure plan costs $8.99 a month per user, but if you want to include credit monitoring and tracking features, you’ll need to opt for the provider’s UltraSecure + credit plan at $19.99 per user per month.

Best identity theft protection

LifeLock is an all-round service from a trusted brand (Image credit: Norton)

2. Norton LifeLock

All-round protection for office and home

Credit monitoring: Yes | Identity theft alerts: Yes | Stolen funds reimbursement: $25,000 as standard

Multiple device cover
Norton software actively blocks threats
Only $25,000 standard reimbursement

Norton is a well-known name in the anti-malware space, and its identity theft protection service, Norton LifeLock, is as comprehensive as you’d expect. 

LifeLock monitors your devices for fraudulent activity and actively blocks threats using Norton antivirus software—multiple device protection isn’t available with the provider’s cheapest plan. You receive alerts when any unusual activity takes place, and in the event of a breach, LifeLock’s agents actively work to restore your accounts. 

LifeLock’s Standard plan includes credit monitoring and starts at $9.99 per month for year one, rising to $11.99 afterward. Its Advantage plan, which includes a $100,000 reimbursement allowance and a VPN, starts at $19.99 per month for year one and $24.99 following this. Meanwhile, the top-priced Ultimate Plus plan starts at $29.99 per month, rising to $34.99 after year one. 

The Ultimate Plus plan includes monthly credit reports, $1m in reimbursement, and more. 

Best identity theft protection

ID Shield is somewhat lacking in advanced security features (Image credit: IDShield)

3. IDShield

Reputation management and theft protection

Credit monitoring: Yes | Identity theft monitoring: Yes | Advanced ID restoration: Yes

Unlimited consultations 
Advanced fraud investigation
No fraud alerts

US-only provider IDShield focuses on maintaining your reputation as well as protecting your identity. This means that even if your privacy is compromised, the company will work to ensure this beach doesn’t reflect badly on your credit rating and reputation. 

With such a focus on restoration and reputation, some users might feel IDShield’s features are somewhat lacking. However, the provider does ensure you can easily manage your privacy settings on existing services and other apps you’re signed up for—a welcome extra. 

Prices start at $13.95 per month for a plan including credit monitoring from a single bureau—to upgrade to three bureaus will cost you $17.95 per month. Family plans start at $26.95 per month.

Best identity theft protection

ID Watchdog is packed with features (Image credit: ID Watchdog)

ID Watchdog is an Equifax company. That might seem a little odd to anyone who remembers the great Equifax data breach of 2017, but don’t let it put you off. The US-only service offers a comprehensive features list for a wide range of use cases, from tax-related ID theft to medical ID theft. 

ID Watchdog’s features include Dark Web monitoring, high-risk transactions monitoring, public records monitoring, subprime loan monitoring, USPS change of address monitoring, and of course, credit report monitoring. 

You are able to lock or unlock your Equifax credit report and confirm who is able to view it, while instant alerts enable you to act quickly in the event of an incident. This functionality even translates to ID Watchdog’s mobile app. 

The ID Watchdog Plus plan costs $14.95 per month, while the advanced Platinum plan, which includes access to multiple credit bureaus, costs $19.95 per month. 

Best identity theft protection

ADT Identity Protection is an affordable option (Image credit: ADT Identity Protection)

5. ADT Identity Protection

Affordable identity theft protection

Fraud monitoring: Yes | Identity theft alerts: Yes | Identity theft Insurance: Up to $1m as standard

Very well-priced service
Well-known brand
Features are a little basic

You’ll probably recognize the ADT brand from home security systems—you’re bound to have seen the famous blue alarm box outside of at least one home you’ve visited. However, the company’s commitment to personal protection extends to online threats too. 

Although relatively basic, the provider’s US-only identity theft protection service does cover all the necessary angles. You can expect 24/7 monitoring of the Dark Web and other known sources of illicit information, alerts, an annual credit report,  and fraud resolution experts to walk you through any incidents that might occur. 

ADT Identity Protection is incredibly well-priced at just $9.99 per month. However, if you want to access credit score tracking and non-credit monitoring you’ll need to complete a further ‘enrolment’ process with the credit agencies themselves.

Best identity theft protection

PrivacyGuard has an award winning customer support team (Image credit: PrivacyGuide)

6. PrivacyGuard

Monthly triple-bureau credit reports

Fraud monitoring: Yes | Identity theft alerts:: No | Identity theft Insurance: Up to $1m as standard

Three-credit agency reports as standard
Award-winning resolution team
Credit focused

PrivacyGuard is a provider of two halves. On the one hand, its identity theft features are as you’d expect with text and email alerts and 24/7 monitoring as standard. On the other hand, PriavcyGuard is very much focused on credit protection.

A great deal of online identity fraud does involve financial crimes, but not all. PrivacyGuard does offer some protection against other threats, like social security fraud, but the focus is on financial products—its primary fraud detection method is to monitor the credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

That said, PrivacyGuard has an award-winning contact resolution team and if your primary aim is to protect your financial interests this provider is one of the best. 

Plans are separated by function. You can opt for the very well-priced Identity Protection plan for just $9.99 per month, the Credit Protection plan for $19.99, or a combination of the two for $24.99 per month. All credit protection plans include monthly reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Best identity theft protection

Identity Guard offers an incredible array of features at a very low price (Image credit: PrivacyGuard)

7. Identity Guard

AI-powered fraud monitoring

Fraud monitoring: Yes | Identity theft alerts: Yes | Identity theft Insurance: Up to $1m as standard

Advanced monitoring capabilities
Trusted brand
Value plan incredibly well-priced

Identity Guard is a straightforward identity theft protection provider with some serious muscle under the hood. The technology utilizes IBM Watson to monitor billions of pieces of information using AI. This enables the Identity Guard team to alert users immediately regarding threats from countless sources. 

Watson is also used to analyse your social presence online, picking holes in your online identity and making suggestions before a hacker has a chance to infiltrate your accounts. Considering the quality of the product, the price plans are very reasonable indeed. 

The Value plan costs just $6.67 per month and includes all the basic functions you need, while the Total plan, at $13.33 per month, also adds tax refund alerts and a monthly credit score to the list.

The top-price Premier plan is also very generous. For just $16.67 per month, it includes credit reports and three-bureau credit monitoring, a premium service you’d usually pay a lot more for.

Best identity theft protection

IdentityWorks is a family-focussed product (Image credit: Experian)

8.Experian IdentityWorks

Quality service from a leading credit monitoring agency

Fraud monitoring: Yes | Identity theft alerts: Yes | Identity theft Insurance: Up to $1m as standard

Three-bureau credit monitoring
Comprehensive features list
Not suitable for business users 

Experian is one of the best-known and respected credit monitoring agencies and, as you might expect, its identity theft protection product is very impressive. You might expect Experian, as a credit reporting agency, to have a credit focused product. However, IdentityWorks is far more comprehensive.

Of course, credit and financial protection feature heavily—it’s possible to lock and unlock your Experian credit file and access your credit score from three different bureaus—but the features don’t end there.

With IdentityWorks, you can check court records, receive sex offender and change of address alerts, monitor your social security number, and more. That said, the product is probably better for families than business users, and this is reflected in the price plans.

Prices start at $9.99 for one adult, moving up to $14.99 for one adult and up to 10 children, and finally $19.99 for two adults and up to 10 children.

Best identity theft protection

Costco members receive discount identity protection with Complete ID. (Image credit: CompleteID)

9. Complete ID

Discounted protection for Costco members

Fraud monitoring: Yes | Identity theft alerts: Yes | Identity theft Insurance: Up to $1m as standard

Similar to IdentityWorks
Very well-priced
You need to be a Costco member

An identity theft protection product from a wholesale grocery store might seem a little odd, but ignore your preconceptions. Complete ID might be a product created for Costco members, but internally it's an Experian platform.

Complete ID provides everything you’d expect from a major identity protection service: Dark Web surveillance, SSN monitoring, alerts, identity restoration services, and more, but at a knock-down price.

Plans start at just $8.99 per person per month for executive members and $13.99 per person per month for Business and Gold Star members. 

On top of its more standard features, the provider includes some interesting extras. These include payday loan monitoring, criminal record monitoring, neighborhood watch monitoring, and lost wallet replacement.

Best identity theft protection

myFICO is a good service for users concerned about credit fraud (Image credit: myFICO)

10. MyFICO

Straightforward credit monitoring

Fraud monitoring: Yes | Identity theft alerts: Yes | Identity theft Insurance: Up to $1m as standard

Multi-use product
Clear and easy to use
Entirely credit-focussed
Expensive for what is available 

myFICO is a two-in-one product. As well as monitoring and alerting you to identity fraud threats, the service also enables you to keep tabs on your credit position and set financial goals. 

Some users who require more all-round protection might find the service lacking, but if your goal is to monitor and manage your credit, this service is ideal.

Everything is presented in an easy to navigate dashboard, and the two functions—credit management and identity theft protection—work seamlessly together. 

The one drawback is the price. The Basic plan costs $19.95 per user per month and doesn’t even include identity monitoring. You’ll need to pay $29.95 per month for the Advanced plan or $39.95 for the Premier plan to get this functionality. 

The Advanced plan also gives you access to three-credit bureaus reports, while the premier plan includes three credit updates per month.