Best Identity Theft Protection Services of 2021

Our experts tested out dozens of identity monitoring services, and these options performed the best.

Aliza Vigderman
Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Oct 15, 2021
By Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner on Oct 15, 2021

Identity theft can be expensive, stressful, and time-consuming for victims. Fight the fraudsters with pro help! Here’s a guide to the best identity theft protection companies in the USA. With monthly plans starting around $7, these top-notch organizations help prevent identity theft, track down criminals, and support the financial well-being of their subscribers.

Identity Theft Protection: Top Things We Look For

Credit monitoring Reports, scores
Identity monitoring Financial, criminal areas
Identity restoration service Dedicated case manager
Identity theft insurance $1 million reimbursement
Our Top Picks

Best Identity Theft Protection Overall


Editor's Rating
Editor's Rating
LifeLock helps to lock down your financials, like 401(k), investment, checking and savings accounts. Their insurance is a huge plus as well, offering up to $1 million in reimbursements if your identity is stolen.

Best Social Security Number Monitoring


Editor's Rating
Editor's Rating
Starting at only $6.99 a month, users can get notified if there were any data breaches with their credit account and information. With credit reports as often as once a month, and daily credit monitoring, IdentityIQ helps individuals stay on top of their financial health.

Out of dozens of options that we’ve tested, our favorite identity theft protection services are LifeLock and IdentityIQ. With comprehensive coverage and fair prices, we felt safe and secure with these subscriptions active. But, if you’re unsure, compare LifeLock to other identity monitoring services, like LifeLock vs. Discover, LifeLock vs. IdentityForce, or LifeLock vs. Zander Insurance.

Best ID Protection in 2021

Comparison of the Best Identity Theft Protection Services

Identity Guard®
ID Watchdog
Experian IdentityWorks
Credit Sesame
Zander Insurance
Ranking 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th
Ratings 9.3/10
Best Social Security Number Monitoring
Best Artificial Intelligence
Best Child Protection Options
Best ID Theft Resolution Service
Best Credit Monitoring
Best with Device Protection
Best Free Credit Reporting
Best Customer Service
Best Insurance Bundling
Best Family Plans
Best Value
Monthly Plan $6.99 and Up $6.67 and Up $11.99 and Up $12.50 and Up $9.99 and Up $10 and Up Free $9.99 and Up $6.75 and Up $14.95 and Up $9.99 and Up
Insurance Coverage Up to $1 Million Up to $1 Million Up to $1 Million Up to $1 Million Up to $1 Million Up to $1 Million Up to $1 Million Up to $1 Million Up to $1 Million Up to $1 Million Up to $1 Million
Credit Reporting Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Read Review IdentityIQ Review Identity Guard® Review IdentityForce Review ID Watchdog Review Experian IdentityWorks Review Aura Review Credit Sesame Review PrivacyGuard Review Zander Insurance Review IDShield Review IDnotify Review

A Detailed List of the Best Identity Theft Protection Services

  • 1. LifeLock – Best Identity Theft Protection Overall

    LifeLock customers enjoy ID theft monitoring and device protection with Norton 360 antivirus.

    Editor's Rating

    LifeLock was founded in 2005 in Arizona. Since 2017, the company has been owned by Norton. This helps make LifeLock a top ID theft protection company in terms of online protection, as each plan includes a subscription to Norton 360. The Norton 360 antivirus package helps prevent identity theft by protecting against phishing, spyware, malware, computer viruses, and more. The software updates automatically for easy identity protection.

    As the company name suggests, LifeLock is also popular for letting you easily lock your credit. All three plans help if you lose your wallet or detect identity fraud. If you have the Advantage or Ultimate Plus plans, you can freeze your accounts and lock inquiries instantly with all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).

    Main categories of LifeLock features are:

    • Theft prevention
    • Credit monitoring
    • Identity recovery assistance
    • Identity theft insurance up to $1 million****

    LifeLock serves more than five million customers. As of 2021, they have an A- minus rating with the Better Business Bureau.

    What We Like
    • ID theft protection and credit monitoring
    • Streamlined credit lock feature
    • $1 million identity theft coverage plan
    • Device protection with Norton 360 antivirus
    What We Don’t Like
    • Standard plan only offers limited coverage
    • Does not offer a full-service family plan
    • Past problems with controversial advertising
    • Premium plan is relatively pricey
    Lifelock Dashboard
    Lifelock Dashboard

    LifeLock for Children & Adults

    Lifelock has the right plan for whatever kind of family you might have. You can purchase all three of Lifelock’s packages in one of three different flavors, as individual plans, as two-adult family plans, or as two-adult five-children family plans. That’s a total of nine different plans. If you go with the larger family plan, your children are eligible for all the same protections you are, including Social Security number alerts and stolen funds reimbursements. In addition, Lifelock will let you know if anyone tries to open a credit file in your children’s names.

    The LifeLock plans for adults are:

    • LifeLock Standard, $9.99/month ($8.29/ month with an annual plan) – $25,000 insurance for stolen funds****
    • Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage, $19.99/month ($15.99/ month with an annual plan) – $100,000 insurance****
    • Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus, $29.99/ month ($24.99/ month with an annual plan) – $1,000,000 insurance****

    Benefits List

    Some LifeLock benefits for members of all ages are:

    • Constant scans of the dark web for personal data
    • Auto-detection of accounts opened in your name
    • Tracking the use of your Social Security number for signs of fraud
    • Real-time fraud alerts by text, phone and/or email
    • Lost wallet protection with assistance getting a new driver’s license, health insurance ID card and more
    • Stolen funds reimbursement up to $1 million****
    • Payment for lawyers, private investigators and other experts needed for ID theft resolution
    • Up to $1 million in restitution for identity fraud****

    Furthermore, for adults LifeLock can supply triple-bureau credit reports with Vantage 3.0 scores, send notifications of crimes committed in your name, and more!

    LifeLock plans differ in terms of credit reporting, how many devices can run Norton 360, and more. 

    *LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.
    **Terms apply to all LifeLock plans.
    ***The credit scores provided are VantageScore 3.0 credit scores based on data from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion respectively. Any one bureau VantageScore mentioned is based on Equifax data only. Third parties use many different types of credit scores and are likely to use a different type of credit score to assess your creditworthiness.
    ****Reimbursement and Expense Compensation, each with limits of up to $1 million for Ultimate Plus, up to $100,000 for Advantage and up to $25,000 for Select, when purchased in Norton 360 with LifeLock plans. And up to $1 million for coverage for lawyers and experts if needed, for all plans. Benefits under the Master Policy are issued and covered by United Specialty Insurance Company (State National Insurance Company, Inc. for NY State members). Policy terms, conditions, and exclusions at:

  • 2. IdentityIQ - Best Social Security Number Monitoring

    IdentityIQ customers enjoy identity theft protection both in credit and non-credit related areas such as data leaks in the dark web and arrest and conviction records.

    Editor's Rating

    IdentityIQ leads the way when it comes to detecting identity fraud through extensive and innovative credit and identity monitoring. Founded in 2009, this California-based company pinpointed the most common problem areas for identity theft and created a monitoring solution that goes beyond just keeping an eye on credit scores.

    IdentityIQ’s protection includes monthly three-bureau credit reports, dark web monitoring, change of address monitoring, SSN trace, and trade line monitoring, among other things. In particular, the SSN is one feature that won us over. Instead of alerting us only when our Social Security Number was used with a wrong address or name, which is what most ID theft protection services do, it alerted us everytime it was used. So even if a fraudster applies for a loan in our name with all the right details, we’d still know thanks to the SSN trace. That’s how comprehensive IdentityIQ’s identity monitoring is.

    In case of identity theft, IdentityIQ also provides a top-notch identity restoration service. A dedicated case manager based in the U.S. will help you devise an action plan. On top of that, all IdentityIQ customers receive insurance coverage up to $1 million. This coverage provides for legal fees, miscellaneous expenses, out-of-pocket losses, and indirect losses that identity theft causes.

    What We Like
    • Customer support and identity restoration teams based in the U.S.
    • Comprehensive credit and identity monitoring
    • Up to $1,000,000 identity theft coverage for legal, out-of-pocket, and indirect expenses
    • Free coverage for children under 24 years old with the Secure Max plan
    What We Don’t Like
    • Its lack of mobile app makes it harder to access IdentityIQ on a smartphone
    • Does not monitor social networks for fake accounts
    • Shares customer data with third parties for advertising
    • Limited phone support availability
    IdentityIQ Main Dashboard on Chrome
    IdentityIQ Main Dashboard on Chrome

    IdentityIQ’s Pricing

    IdentityIQ’s pricing is on the lower end of the spectrum. At $6.99 per month, the Secure Plan is one of the lowest prices we’ve seen, and even the mid-level and high-level plans are also affordable. IdentityIQ offers four subscription plans, with the Secure Plan at the bottom and Secure Max for $25.49 monthly at the top. Here’s an overview of what’s included in each plan.

    Secure Plan Secure Plus Secure Pro Secure Max
    Price Per Month $6.99 $8.49 $16.99 $25.49
    Price Per Year $83.88 $101.90 $203.90 $305.90
    Credit Monitoring One bureau One bureau Three bureaus Three bureaus
    Identity Monitoring (Dark web, SSN, criminal records, etc.) Basic Mid-level Advanced Advanced
    Three-Bureau Credit Reports No Annual Bi-annual Monthly
    Identity Restoration Service Yes Yes Yes Yes with LPOA
    Insurance Up to $1 million Up to $1 million Up to $1 million Up to $1 million + $25,000 family coverage

    All of these plans include up to $1 million in identity theft insurance coverage, but the Secure Max plan stands higher than the others thanks to the free family coverage. The free family coverage provides insurance coverage up to $25,000 for all children under 24 years living in the same address as the account holder.

    Benefits List

    Here are some of the main benefits of having an IdentityIQ subscription.

    • Alerts to changes in credit score and personal information on credit accounts
    • Detection of new credit and trade lines opened in your name
    • Continuous dark web monitoring for data leaks
    • Alerts whenever your Social Security Number is used
    • Monthly, bi-annual, or annual credit reports from the three main credit bureaus
    • Checks for national and international arrest and conviction records under your name
    • National Change of Address registry alerts for change of address requests
    • Lost wallet assistance
    • Up to $1 million identity theft insurance coverage
    • U.S.-based identity restoration service

    In addition, if you opt for the highest plan, you’ll get additional benefits like free family coverage, identity restoration service with limited power of attorney, and a credit score simulator.

  • 3. Identity Guard – Best Artificial Intelligence

    Identity Guard leverages IBM artificial intelligence to deliver advanced identity theft protection and credit monitoring.

    Editor's Rating
    877-719-0299 View Packages

    This Virginia-based company emerged in the 1990s as the world wide web was becoming mainstream; its main mission is protecting identity in the digital age. An Identity Guard subscription covers all four features recommended above:

    • Theft prevention
    • Credit monitoring
    • Identity recovery assistance
    • Identity theft insurance up to $1 million

    Furthermore, the Identity Guard family plans can help kids stay safe online. If identity fraud happens to any family member, a dedicated case manager will help restore the victim’s name and cover up to $1 million in related expenses.

    As of 2021 Identity Guard has served nearly 50 million customers and boasts an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

    What We Like
    • Full-service identity theft protection plans
    • Services powered by IBM® artificial intelligence
    • Up to $1 million in identity theft coverage
    • Great customer service with A+ BBB rating
    What We Don’t Like
    • Pricey mid-tier and upper-tier plans
    • No ‘limited power of attorney’ for recovery services
    • Does not have fraud alerts with credit bureaus
    • Does not offer a money-back guarantee
    Identity Guard Risk Management
    Identity Guard Risk Management

    Watson™ at Your Service…

    Artificial intelligence helps Identity Guard prevent ID theft. The company partners with IBM® Watson™, AI that “thinks” wisely as it processes information. IBM® Watson™ skills include winning at Jeopardy, diagnosing medical problems, and protecting against identity theft.

    The supercomputer scours the web constantly, processing billions of data points per day. If data theft is detected, Identity Guard customers are alerted within three seconds. This gives you time to change passwords or take other steps to avoid damage. IBM® Watson™ reduces the risk of identity theft by about 16 percent according to the programmers.

    Benefits List

    Here’s a partial list of available Identity Guard benefits:

    • Identity theft prevention with IBM® Watson™ artificial intelligence
    • Monthly credit score based on TransUnion or Experian data, and an annual credit report with scores from all three bureaus
    • Bank account alerts (e.g., get an alert if someone changes your address or adds a new name to your checking or savings account)
    • Analysis of Facebook timeline and suggestions for improvement to help prevent cloning and other types of identity theft
    • Cyberbullying alerts and support for victims
    • Dedicated case manager in case of ID theft
    • Up to $1 million in stolen funds reimbursement

    The features above are included with Identity Guard Ultra plans. Lower-priced plans provide less credit reporting and omit the social media features (Facebook analysis and cyberbullying alerts/response).

    Identity Guard Pricing

    Monthly rates range from $7.20 to $31.99. Ultra plans give the most comprehensive protection. Value plans are the most affordable.

    • Ultra Family covers all adults and minors in one residence for $31.99/month total ($26.67/ month with an annual plan). This might save you money, as many other companies charge per person.
    • Individual Ultra covers one adult for $23.99/ month ($20.00/ month billed annually).
    • Value plans are the most affordable identity theft protection, priced at $7.20/month ($6.67/ month billed annually). Compared with the Ultra Family and Ultra Individual plans, these have fewer credit reporting features. Also, they skip the Facebook analysis and cyberbullying alerts.

    © Identity Guard All Rights Reserved. Identity Guard, Total Protection, Monitor, Protect and Recover and associated designs are trademarks or federally registered trademarks of Intersections Inc. Equifax is a registered trademark of Equifax Inc., and other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners.

    Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the companies referenced in this article. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the companies mentioned. We may be compensated through advertiser affiliate programs.

  • 4. IdentityForce – Best Child Protection Options

    Protect the whole family with IdentityForce family plans and get comprehensive credit monitoring.

    Editor's Rating
    844-810-5935 View Packages

    IdentityForce is a family-owned company with headquarters in Massachusetts. It formed in 2005 especially to fight identity theft, and today it boasts an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. IdentityForce stands out for the best child ID protection. Anti-phishing technology and a VPN via the mobile apps can help kids and adults stay safe online, plus IdentityForce will notify you if a registered sex offender moves into your neighborhood.

    If identity fraud occurs, IdentityForce will assign certified agents to help resolve your case. The team is available by phone 24/7 to answer questions, complete paperwork, and help members take advantage of identity theft insurance policies of up to $1 million.

    Main categories of IdentityForce features are:

    • Comprehensive 24/7 identity theft protection
    • Three-bureau credit monitoring, reporting, and reporting
    • Credit improvement simulator
    • Identity recovery assistance
    • Identity theft insurance up to $1 million

    IdentityForce offers its UltraSecure + Credit plans for individuals two adults and an unlimited number of children. With either plan IdentityForce monitors the dark web, court records, change of address requests, sex offenders lists, and other areas for potential fraud. In addition, the company monitors everyone’s credit scores from the three credit bureaus daily. In addition, it provides instant access to three-bureau credit reports, month-after-month credit score tracker, and a credit score simulator. The UltraSecure + Credit individual plan costs $15.99 per month, while the family plan costs $23.90 per month. In addition, you can get up to two months of identity theft protection for free if you pay yearly.

    Feature UltraSecure UltraSecure Family UltraSecure+Credit UltraSecure + Credit Family
    Monthly price $11.99 $14.90 $15.99 $23.90
    Yearly price 119 $149.00 $159 $239
    Savings with yearly plan $24.88 $29.80 2 free months ($31.98) 2 free months ($47.80)
    Number of adults covered 1 2 1 2
    Number of children covered 0 Unlimited 0 Unlimited
    Identity monitoring (dark web, court records, change of address, etc.) No No Yes Yes
    Three-bureau credit monitoring No No Yes Yes
    Three-bureau credit reports No No Yes Yes
    Three-bureau credit scores No No Yes Yes
    Credit score tracker No No Yes Yes
    Credit score simulator No No Yes Yes
    Insurance Up to $1 million Up to $1 million Up to $1 million Up to $1 million
    Identity recovery Yes Yes Yes Yes

    Aside from the family plans, you can choose a $17.99/month plan for one adult and add identity protection for kids at just $2.75 each, which is a low rate among the best ID theft protection companies.

    What We Like
    • Great family plans
    • All three-bureau quarterly credit reporting and scores
    • Impressive credit improvement simulator
    • Superb customer service with A+ BBB rating
    What We Don’t Like
    • Can’t contact customer support through iOS app
    • Based in U.S., Five Eyes member
    • Not the absolute lowest prices on the market
    • Poor iOS app
    IdentityForce Dashboard
    IdentityForce dashboard

    Benefits List

    Benefits specifically for those over age 18 include these and more:

    • Two-factor authentication at sign-in
    • Reports from all three credit-reporting bureaus
    • Real-time alerts of potential identity fraud
    • Bill payment history to help you stay organized and alert to fraud
    • Credit-improvement simulator
    • Financial advice (e.g., about applying for a mortgage or getting a car)
    • VPN via the IdentityForce mobile apps

    Whether you’re on your own or want to protect your whole family, IdentityForce offers identity protection, financial well-being, and safety online and in the neighborhood.

  • 5. ID Watchdog – Best ID Theft Resolution Service

    Enjoy full-service identity theft protection backed by credit-reporting agency Equifax.

    Editor's Rating

    ID Watchdog has a cute name and a serious bite! This Denver-based company is owned by the credit bureau Equifax and has been guarding against identity theft since 2005. A membership can deliver reports from all three major credit reporting agencies, plus ID Watchdog is top-notch in terms of ID theft resolution: If your identity is stolen, a certified ID theft risk management specialist will manage your case until your identity is fully restored. Some other top companies will tire after a few years, even if the consequences of identity theft drag on for years

    Advanced identity theft prevention is a benefit of membership too. For instance, ID Watchdog monitors dark web forums and other sources for early tips about identity theft. In case a breach is discovered, you’ll be alerted right away. In response, you might be advised to change your email password or take other steps to stay ahead of criminals.

    Main types of IDWatchdog benefits are:

    • ID theft prevention
    • Credit monitoring
    • Identity recovery assistance

    At last check, IDWatchdog does not share their policy about identity theft insurance. Their best-advertised distinguishing benefit is the tireless pursuit of criminals… but on whose dime?

    IDWatchdog is also rare for offering ID recovery assistance for non-subscribers.

    What We Like
    • Impressive identity theft restoration assistance
    • Highly secure two-factor authentication
    • Owned by the major credit-bureau Equifax
    • Excellent credit monitoring features
    What We Don’t Like
    • No companion app for mobile access
    • Does not offer social media monitoring
    • Does not offer reimbursement insurance
    • Lacks competitive family plans
    ID Watchdog Account Dashboard
    ID Watchdog Account Dashboard

    Pricing and Benefits

    Two ID Watchdog plans are available: Select and Premium.

    • ID Watchdog Select, $12.50/month with annual plan – Benefits include basic and advanced identity monitoring, dark web monitoring, fraud alerts, and professionally managed ID theft resolution. This plan does not supply credit reports.
    • ID Watchdog Premium, $18.33/month with annual plan – Benefits include all of the above plus monthly Vantage credit score that pulls from all three credit bureaus and a yearly report from all three bureaus.

    Help is available by phone 24/7 in 100 languages, and ID Watchdog has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

  • 6. Experian IdentityWorks – Best Credit Monitoring

    Comprehensive ID theft protection plus credit monitoring and credit improvement tools.

    Editor's Rating

    It’s no surprise that Experian IdentityWorks wins “best credit monitoring” among the top ID theft protection services. The firm is a branch of Experian, the Ireland-based multinational credit reporting bureau. IdentityWorks can monitor your credit reports from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – and they share your Experian score daily, not just monthly. Daily updates can serve as early tip-offs to identity fraud, plus they can help you use credit wisely. (Reflect on your behavior!) Some other preventive measures from IdentityWorks include:

    • Surveilling the dark web for signs of data breaches
    • Sending alerts from the sex offender registry if a criminal moves into your neighborhood
    • Monitoring social media for fraudulent accounts in your name
    • Checking payday lenders for applications in your name

    Despite the best prevention efforts, ID theft happens. If your identity is compromised, Experian IdentityWorks will help with fraud resolution and help secure reimbursement up to $1 million.

    In sum, with affordable plans from Experian IdentityWorks you can get:

    • ID theft prevention
    • Credit monitoring (daily)
    • Identity recovery assistance
    • Identity theft insurance up to up to $1 million
    What We Like
    • Three-bureau credit monitoring and reporting
    • Daily credit score tracking and updates
    • Budget-friendly standard protection plan
    • Social media fraud monitoring
    What We Don’t Like
    • App isn’t comprehensive
    • $500k insurance plan is not so competitive
    • Customer service could be more responsive
    • Upper-tier plans are relatively pricey
    • Confusing cancellation policy
    Experian Social Network Monitoring
    Experian Social Network Monitoring

    Experian IdentityWorks Prices

    Plans with $1 million insurance start at just $19.99 per month and top out at $29.99 for coverage up to ten minors and two adults.

  • 7. Aura - Best Identity Theft Protection with Device Protection

    Aura provides customers with solid identity theft protection, but it goes further, offering credit and fraud protection as well as complete device and network protection.

    Editor's Rating

    Founded in 2014, Aura is a relatively new player in the identity theft protection industry. However, it has already begun to establish a strong reputation for the broad range of services it offers. All of its plans, even the Basic Plan, feature ID and personal information monitoring, online account monitoring, and Social Security number alerts. Plus, if someone should happen to steal your identity, Aura provides up to $1 million worth of reimbursement.

    Aura WiFi Security
    Aura WiFi Security

    One of Aura’s real strengths is that it draws information from so many different sources in order to keep your identity safe. Aura is constantly checking dark web sites, data broker lists, public records, and new account records, looking for your name, Social Security number, address, and other identifying information. You can be certain that if someone has hijacked your identity, Aura will catch them.

    Aura doesn’t just offer identity theft protection, though. All of its plans also come with device and network protection. Specifically, you get antivirus software to protect you from invasive malware and a VPN to keep you safe when you’re browsing online. In addition, Aura’s two highest-priced packages, the Total Plan and the Ultimate Plan, provide financial monitoring as well. If you’ve got these plans, Aura keeps track of all three of your credit reports and provides you with a composite credit score each month. You also receive alerts about name changes and any unusual spending associated with your accounts. And the Ultimate Plan gives you access to an annual credit report as well as alerts about any crimes committed in your name.

    What We Like
    • Affordable plans starting at $10 per month
    • Data encrypted using AES-256
    • Aura pulls monitoring information from several sources including public records, the dark web, new account records, and data broker lists
    • Uses all three credit bureaus for monthly monitoring
    What We Don’t Like
    • Part of Five Eyes
    • Key features, like antivirus and VPN, not available on Mac
    • No live online support
    • Android app is difficult to navigate
    Aura Experience
    Aura Dashboard

    Aura’s Pricing and Benefits

    Aura’s pricing is in the mid range of identity theft services, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, when you consider that all three of the company’s plans include antivirus software and a VPN, Aura’s prices start to look more and more affordable.

    Features Basic Plan Total Plan Ultimate Plan
    Base price per month $12 $26 $40
    Price per month with annual plan $10 $20 $30
    Personal information and ID monitoring Yes Yes Yes
    SSN alerts Yes Yes Yes
    Online account and password monitoring Yes Yes Yes
    $1 million insurance coverage Yes Yes Yes
    Home title and address monitoring No No Yes
    Alerts for crimes committed in your name No No Yes
    Credit monitoring using 3 bureaus No Yes Yes
    Monthly credit score No Yes Yes
    Annual credit report No No Yes
    Credit lock No Yes Yes
    Alerts for unusual spending No Yes Yes
    Alerts for name changes on bank accounts No Yes Yes
    Antivirus devices covered 1 device 5 devices 10 devices
    VPN devices covered 1 device 5 devices 10 devices
    24/7 phone and email support Yes Yes Yes
    One-on-one “white glove” fraud resolution No No Yes

    These days, it’s not enough just to have identity theft protection for yourself. Children, for instance, have become a prime target for identity thieves. That’s because usually kids have clean credit histories. Luckily, Aura has a family version of all three of its plans, providing security for up to ten different people in the same household.

  • 8. Credit Sesame – Best Free Credit Reporting

    Credit monitoring and reporting served up on both free and paid monthly plans.

    Editor's Rating

    Credit Sesame is a no-charge financial wellness company based in northern California. For free they let you see daily updates to your credit report, and the scores can alert you to identity theft. They also help people make wise credit/loan decisions based on personal credit scores. Even if you aren’t interested in loans, Credit Sesame could be worth joining simply for its $1 million in identity theft insurance. Again, it’s free!

    Essentially, with Credit Sesame, you can:

    • Monitor your credit score, updated daily, for signs of fraud
    • Understand what influences your credit score
    • Choose from the best credit and loan offers that fit your profile (such as auto loans, credit cards and mortgages)
    • Safeguard your credit with ID theft monitoring

    To help you monitor for signs of ID theft, Credit Sesame makes your daily TransUnion score available. This is called the VantageScore, and it pulls from all three credit bureaus. Since 2006 the VantageScore has been the main alternative to the FICO score.

    What We Like
    • Free (and paid) personal credit management service
    • Monitoring and reporting of all three credit bureaus
    • Great tips on how to improve credit score
    • Free plan offers $1 million in identity theft coverage
    What We Don’t Like
    • Does not offer full-service protection
    • No bank or credit account monitoring
    • Difficult to contact customer service team
    • Free service does not give credit reports
    Credit Sesame App Home Screen
    Credit Sesame App Home Screen

    Credit Sesame doesn’t offer identity recovery services… but again, this identity theft protection is free! Other companies take payments for monthly subscriptions, and Credit Sesame revenue comes from connecting people with loans and other paid financial services.

    Main categories of Credit Sesame benefits are:

    • Identity theft prevention
    • Credit monitoring (daily)
    • Appropriate credit & loan offers
    • Identity theft insurance up to $1 million

    Credit Sesame launched in 2010 with big support from the Silicon Valley startup community, and within a couple of years, it was managing a reported $35 billion for borrowers! The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Beware of imitators using Credit Sesame’s good name.

  • 9. PrivacyGuard – Best Customer Service

    PrivacyGuard combines basic-to-advanced ID theft protection with superb customer service.

    Editor's Rating

    PrivacyGuard is an ID theft protection company featuring low monthly rates, high coverage for fraud resolution, and an A+ rating with the BBB. Reviews suggest that they have the best customer service too. This Connecticut-based group serves all US states except Iowa, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

    What We Like
    • Excellent customer service with A+ BBB rating/li>
    • Basic budget-friendly identity theft protection plan
    • Premium plan offers credit monitoring and fraud restoration
    • Up to $1 million identity theft insurance plan
    What We Don’t Like
    • Does not offer family plans
    • No social media monitoring
    • No bank account monitoring
    • Premium plan is a bit pricey
    PrivacyGuard Identity Monitoring Station
    PrivacyGuard Identity Monitoring Station

    With PrivacyGuard the cheapest ID protection costs just $9.99/month, and it provides $1,000,000 for fraud resolution. Auto-renewal is required for the deal.

    Delivered with pleasant customer service, the main types of benefits with this company are:

    • ID theft prevention
    • Credit monitoring
    • Identity recovery assistance
    • Identity theft insurance up to $1,000,000

    PrivacyGuard Prices

    Each plan emphasizes identity protection, just credit protection, or both:

    • ID Protection, $9.99/month – This plan doesn’t include credit reports.

    The main preventive benefits are dark web surveillance, SSN tracking, and ID verification monitoring. Subscribers also get fraud resolution support and up to $1,000,000 in coverage for identity theft.

    • Credit Protection, $19.99/month – This plan skips the dark web surveillance and some other features of the ID Protection plan. However, it features daily monitoring of credit reports from all three bureaus. If ID theft occurs, PrivacyGuard provides fraud resolution support and helps secure up to $1,000,000 in theft/damages.
    • Total Protection, $24.99/month – A combination of the two plans above, Total Protection includes identity theft prevention, credit report monitoring, and fraud resolution. The insurance plan is for $1,000,000.

    We like PrivacyGuard’s approach to membership plans; it’s easy to choose between ID protection, credit monitoring, or both. Each plan includes generous insurance and top-notch customer support. You can also try a trial membership for just $1 for 14 days of service.

  • 10. Zander Insurance – Best Insurance Bundling

    Low-cost identity theft insurance plans backed by financial guru Dave Ramsey.

    Editor's Rating

    Zander Insurance Group is among the oldest companies in our guide. Founded in 1925, they’ve served generations of Americans with car insurance, home insurance, life insurance, and related products. In 2010 Zander expanded to provide identity theft protection with up to $1 million in restitution. In case identity fraud is detected, Zander agents will work for up to three years to restore your records.

    What We Like
    • Low-cost, basic identity theft protection services
    • Certified recovery specialists available 24/7
    • Up to $1 million in recovery compensation
    • Endorsed by personal finance guru Dave Ramsey
    What We Don’t Like
    • Does not offer credit monitoring
    • No mobile companion app
    • No social media monitoring
    • Website lacks detailed information
    Zander Insurance Personal Information Monitoring
    Zander Insurance Personal Information Monitoring

    One main advantage of choosing Zander for ID theft protection is saving with insurance bundling. They can also secure up to $7,500 per month for lost wages, which is above the industry norm of $5,000. Furthermore, identity theft protection from Zander Insurance Group comes with advanced detection services. Unlike many competitors, they monitor for these types of identity theft:

    • Medical records in your name
    • Employment fraud
    • Tax fraud
    • Title fraud

    Zander Benefits and Prices

    Main types of benefits with Zander identity protection are:

    • ID theft prevention
    • Identity recovery assistance
    • Identity theft insurance up to $1 million

    Zander recommends that subscribers receive free credit reports annually as provided by federal law.

    The Zander ID theft individual plan costs just $6.75/month or $75 annually. Their affordable family plan costs just $12.90/month or $145 per year.

  • 11. IDShield – Best Family Plans

    IDShield offers best-in-class family plans with an impressive $2 million in ID theft coverage.

    Editor's Rating

    If your identity is stolen, the expense can be exorbitant! Therefore most ID theft protection companies offer up to $1 million in ID theft insurance. IDShield is unique for upping the limit to $2 million with affordable identity protection plans. They also employ a team of licensed private investigators to deal with identity fraud, and the investigators’ support is available 24/7.

    If your identity is compromised, IDShield pledges to keep working on your case until files are completely restored and financial damages are reversed.

    Main benefits of membership are:

    • ID theft prevention
    • Credit monitoring
    • Identity recovery assistance
    • Identity theft insurance up to $2,000,000

    IDShield is part of LegalShield, an Oklahoma-based law group. The service dates back to 2001 and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau for 2019.

    What We Like
    • Extensive ID theft protection educational resources
    • Quarterly credit reporting with all three bureaus
    • Impressive $2 million coverage plan
    What We Don’t Like
    • Some people find setup process confusing
    • No 401(k) or retirement account monitoring
    • Premium plan is a touch pricey
    • Limited plan levels and options
    IDShield Credit Check
    IDShield Credit Check

    IDShield Benefits & Prices

    Identity protection plans let you choose from no credit reports, one credit report, or reports from all three credit bureaus. Choices include:

    • IDShield Individual, $14.95/month & up – This comprehensive ID protection plan monitors social media, payday lending services, and other platforms to detect fraudulent activity. If your identity is compromised, you’ll get dedicated support and can call private investigators for advice anytime. Choose credit report monitoring from one bureau ($14.95 per month plan) or all three ($19.95 per month plan). Plans include $1 million in insurance policies.
    • IDShield Family, $29.95/month – The IDShield Family Plan includes all the protections of IDShield Individual, extended to a spouse/domestic partner, and up to eight children. Plans include $2 million ID theft insurance policies.

    In sum, IDShield is unique for its $2,000,000 family ID protection insurance plans. They’re also unique for their 24/7 hotline to private investigators.

  • 12. IDnotify – Best Value Identity Theft Protection

    This Experian-owned ID theft protection service offers basic but affordable plans.

    Editor's Rating

    IDnotify is part of the credit reporting bureau Experian. So too is IdentityWorks (above). The main difference between Experian’s two ID theft services is insurance coverage. While IdentityWorks has a cap of $500K, IDnotify provides identity theft insurance of $1 million with plans starting at $17.99/month. Cheaper plans cost just $9.99/month.

    Main types of benefits with IDnotify are:

    • ID theft prevention
    • Credit monitoring
    • Identity recovery assistance
    • Identity theft insurance up to $1,000,000

    However, perks vary significantly plan-to-plan.

    What We Like
    • Owned by major credit bureau Experian
    • Three-bureau credit monitoring and reporting
    • Basic but straightforward fraud protection
    • Up to $1 million in identity theft insurance
    What Don’t Like
    • Does not have mobile app
    • Lacks advanced features
    • Inconsistent / inaccurate alerts
    • Premium plan is expensive
    IDNotify Home Screen
    IDNotify Home Screen

    Plans & Benefits

    • Essential Plan, $9.99/month – This low-priced plan doesn’t include identity theft insurance or credit reports. The main benefits are dark web surveillance, social media monitoring, lost wallet protection, and 24/7 identity restoration assistance.
    • Select Plan, $17.99/month – Benefits include those of the Essential Plan plus up to $1 million in fraud restitution, change-of-address monitoring, annual single-bureau credit reports, and more.
    • Premier Plan, $25.99/month – Premier service from IDnotify builds upon the Essential Plan with reports from three credit bureaus. You’ll also get alerts about sex offenders in your area, applications in your name with payday lenders, and other safety benefits.

    While the $9.99 Essential Plan is the best value in identity theft protection, the $17.99 deal can pay off significantly if your name is compromised!

Identity Theft Video

If your identity is stolen, the best ID theft protection companies can literally save you a million dollars in expenses…plus they’ll make identity restoration as hassle-free as possible, providing services like:

  • Send real-time alerts.
  • Freezing credit cards.
  • Paying for lawyers and private investigators.
  • Covering wages lost due to ID theft.

What Is Identity Theft? Everything You Need To Know

Identity theft is a crime where someone uses the personal information of another person to make purchases, open accounts, get loans, and other activities.1 When someone steals your identity, you might lose money or even get in trouble with law enforcement, if they used your name in an arrest. It’s important to resolve identity theft as soon as possible, but a better option is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Identity Theft Statistics

Just how common is identity theft? Well, in 2020, the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network saw 3.2 million reports, 30 percent of which regarded identity theft.2 The most common type of identity theft? Government benefits fraud, unfortunately, with nearly 400,000 reports. In fact, credit card fraud reports increased by 2,920 percent from the previous year, a truly scary number. And out of everyone who experienced an imposter scan, 14 percent lost money with a median loss of $1,200.

Why is identity theft on the rise? Well, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center,3 2020 saw a 19 percent rise in the numbers of breaches reported compared to 2019. That meant that the records of 27 million people were exposed, which could include their usernames and passwords. Unfortunately, security breaches aren’t going away anytime soon, nor are phishing scams or even lost wallets, all ways that criminals can find your information. That’s why it’s important to acquire some identity theft protection, which brings us to our next point…

What Is Identity Theft Protection?

Identity theft protection is any service that monitors people’s personally identifiable information online, in credit applications, criminal records, and other places on the Internet and beyond. It often includes identity theft insurance, which covers damages, as well as credit monitoring.

  • Credit Monitoring: Credit scores and reports are great indicators of identity theft, especially if you see actions that you don’t recall. For the most protection, some services include credit scores and reports from all three major credit bureaus in the U.S, namely Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.
PrivacyGuard Credit Monitoring
PrivacyGuard Credit Monitoring
  • Identity Monitoring: Identity monitoring takes place in a number of areas, scanning them for your credentials. From financial areas like your bank account to criminal areas like court records, most identity theft protection services use artificial intelligence to scan for your information.

How Does Identity Theft Protection Work?

Identity theft protection works in a very straightforward way. After we signed up and paid for a service, we were asked to verify our identity with a few simple multiple-choice questions. Next, we entered all of our personal information in; the more information we gave them, the more the service could monitor for us. After we filled out everything from our name, email, home address, phone number, Social Security number, driver’s license number, bank account information, and the like, we set up notifications so that we got alerted whenever the service detected our info where it shouldn’t be. They do this through artificial intelligence software, which scans areas both on and offline for our information.

If we got notified, we could check and see what exactly happened in the app, speaking to an identity restoration specialist if we needed to. If our identities were stolen while we still paid for a subscription, we could’ve gotten reimbursed for our damages for up to $1 million with most services. And that’s a general overview of how identity theft protection works!

The Cost of Identity Theft Protection

Identity theft protection varies from a few dollars a month to over $30 a month, or $75 to $400 a year, depending on the service. However, many companies offer trial periods, so make sure to take advantage when they’re available.

Price Comparison

While some identity theft protection services offer free subscriptions, they usually aren’t comprehensive enough to really protect your identity. In general, plans of the services we’ve tested specifically start at around $9.99 a month going all the way up to about $33 a month for the best coverage. Yearly plans range from around $75 to nearly $400, so clearly, there’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to pricing.

Company Monthly Price/ Range Yearly Price/ Range
Credit Karma $0.00 $0.00
Credit Sesame $0.00- $19.95 $0.00- $239.40
Discover $15 $180
Experian IdentityWorks $9.99- $29.99 $99.99- $299.99
ID Watchdog $14.95- $34.95 $150- $350
Identity Guard $7.20- $31.99 $107- $320
IdentityForce $11.99 – $23.90 $119.90 – $239
IdentityIQ $9.99- $29.99 $101.89- $305.89
IDNotify $9.99- $35.99 $119.88- $383.76
IDShield $14.95- $34.95 $179.40- $419.40
LifeLock $9.99- $29.99 for first year, $14.99- $34.99 after first year $99.48-$299.88 for first year, $149.99- $349.99 after first year
PrivacyGuard $9.99- $24.99 $119.88- $299.88
Zander Insurance $6.75- 19.49 $75- $215

Is Identity Theft Protection Worth the Money?

In our opinion, identity theft protection is worth the money in general. However, some services are better than others. Before signing up for anything, we recommend reading our individual identity theft protection reviews. We’ve tried and tested each service so you don’t have to waste your time and money.

About the Best ID Theft Protection Companies

Every shopper has different priorities, but in general, the best ID theft protection has four main types of benefits:
Identity theft prevention: Stay a step ahead of fraudsters! The best identity theft prevention companies detect real-time data breaches in multiple ways. For example, they can monitor payday loan applications, criminal court records, and social media for your name and other personal identifying information (PII).

  • Identity theft monitoring: The best identity theft protection companies generally monitor credit reports from all three major bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Scores may come from each individual bureau or as a Vantage 3.0 score reflecting all three bureaus. But while some anti-theft services provide daily credit-score updates, monthly reports are more common.
Credit Sesame Identity Protection Alerts
Credit Sesame Identity Protection Alerts
  • Identity recovery: If your identity is stolen, the best anti-theft companies will assign an expert case manager to help restore your name. A case manager can arrange for lawyers to contact credit reporting agencies, for example, and help get documents notarized.
  • Identity theft insurance: The best identity theft protection plans include lots of insurance with no deductible. Typically you can recover up to $1 million in theft-related expenses. Lawyers’ fees can add up, after all, and what if someone buys a home or airplane in your name?

Some companies below are devoted entirely to identity theft protection. Others are divisions of groups in related industries such as credit reporting, insurance, and law.

Types of Identity Theft

Why do people steal identities? Easy money is one big motivator. But criminals could use your name, financial account information, and Social Security Number for many reasons besides trips to the mall or car dealership…and it doesn’t matter if you have poor credit or no credit. Even a baby can have their identity stolen! Here are ten types of identity theft to beware of.

Zander Identity Theft Protection App
Zander Identity Theft Protection App

Financial Identity Theft

With financial identity theft, someone takes your name to get goods and services. Maybe they only gas up their Honda, but maybe they use your credit and debit accounts to live the high life. Thieves steal identities to pay for cars, homes, military-grade weapons, and even espionage. This helps explain why the leading ID theft protection companies have such high insurance payouts. Typical insurance covers up to $1 million in expenses.

How do criminals get account numbers and bank cards? The most obvious opportunity is when somebody steals your wallet. A more advanced technique is accessing your mailbox or recycling or trash to obtain a new card or an “additional user” card. Criminals also might trick you into sharing info online through phishing emails, over the phone or in person, or they might find your info on the dark web.

A person set on financial identity theft might own a bank card maker or have a shady friend at a legitimate bank card company. However, sometimes a physical copy of your credit/debit card isn’t needed to spend your money. For instance, someone could shop online with your account numbers only, considered “card-not-present fraud.”

Identity theft prevention services can help by sending real-time alerts if your accounts are altered. Services like LifeLock let you instantly freeze your accounts, for example. The best identity theft protection companies can recover related expenses as well.

Medical Identity Theft

With medical ID theft, somebody uses your personal data to get healthcare services or medication. An example: one of these experts was billed for another person’s knee surgery, but unwarranted medical bills are one just related problem for victims. More trouble comes if a criminal’s medical history becomes combined with your records. This could raise your health insurance rates or might even trigger errors in your personal medical treatment. To stay alert to medical identity theft, read your healthcare statements carefully!

Senior Identity Theft

Compared with middle-aged adults, seniors are more vulnerable to financial identity theft and medical ID theft.4 Criminals specifically target older Americans, knowing that they’re statistically less likely to monitor accounts for identity fraud. Also, seniors tend to be more vulnerable to phishing, as they’re more likely tricked by fraudulent emails and websites. Learn more about the best identity theft protection for seniors.

Criminal Identity Theft

With criminal ID theft, a person uses another person’s credentials when arrested for a crime. If you have a clean record, then using your identity could help them avoid an immediate penalty such as arrest during a traffic stop. Instead of spending the night (or longer) in jail, they’ll simply take a ticket.

Of course, the criminal won’t actually pay the ticket or appear in court if required. This makes you look like a criminal in police databases. Thus, a simple police pullover for a traffic violation could lead to your incarceration. Criminal ID theft can interfere with multiple areas of your life beyond false imprisonment. After all, people pay for background checks when considering people as renters, employees, investors, and romantic partners.

Identity Cloning

Identity cloning means that someone lives their daily life as another person. It’s a type of immigration fraud, as it lets undocumented people get housing and employment, but generally, identity cloning takes other forms. For example, U.S citizens who have poor credit, criminal records, and eviction records are more likely to masquerade as other people.
Identity cloning sometimes involves social media accounts. On Facebook, for example, criminals can rather easily duplicate genuine accounts by using publicly available images, then tricking contacts into sending money for romantic escapades or made-up emergencies.

Child Identity Theft

According to a study done in 2018, more than one million children were victims of identity theft.5 Generally, this involves someone using a child’s Social Security Number to commit fraud. Regardless of the child’s age, a criminal can stack payday loans and make a quick getaway, get a driver’s license, or abuse credit under a child’s name.

Obviously, you may have a problem if your toddler receives notices of pre-approved credit status, but this sort of identity theft could go undetected for years. A child might only become aware of the problem when they first interview for a job, get pulled over for speeding, or apply for a credit card. The best identity theft protection plans for kids will send early alerts about signs of fraud.

Tax Identity Theft

Tax identity theft can occur when criminals obtain your name and Social Security Number. Their goal is to get your tax refund. You could become a victim of tax identity theft even if you’re unemployed, low-income, or actually owe the government a tax payment. Tax fraudsters can easily submit a phony income in your name, then change your listed address to receive a refund check. The federal government recommends that you request an IRS tax PIN to help safeguard your account against this kind of ID theft, but it’s also helpful to get an identity monitoring service that checks for U.S.P.S address change requests and tax returns filed in your name.

Employment Identity Theft

A person who isn’t legally eligible for employment might use a false name and Social Security Number to get a job in the United States. A sneaky employer also might trick people into signing falsified documents, especially if the employee doesn’t speak English fluently. With employment ID theft, the actual worker gets the benefit of paychecks in exchange for labor. However, at tax time, someone else is stuck with any related payments to the federal, state or local government.

Automobile Lending Fraud

A criminal who wants a car or truck might use a false identity when applying for credit. Auto lending ID fraud is somewhat common because some eager auto dealers are more concerned with making sales than with cross-checking applicants’ names, Social Security Numbers, and photo IDs. In addition, fraudsters can falsify employment verification and otherwise defeat auto loan safeguards.

Synthetic Identity Theft

Synthetic identity theft involves a mix of real and fraudulent data. Generally, it combines real Social Security Numbers with made-up names and birthdays. This sort of ID theft may remain hidden for a while, as it won’t show in a typical credit report search for the real SSN owner’s name. However, unlike the other types of identity theft on this list, synthetic identity theft mainly harms the creditors. That being said, records for synthetic identities could eventually be merged with the victim’s real records, which could harm their credit rating, lead to false imprisonment or create other complications.

Examples of Identity Theft

There are a number of famous examples of identity theft, both recently and in the past. The largest identity theft case in the U.S involved 30,000 American and Canadian victims. An employee at a financial software company named Philip Cummings accessed his clients’ credentials, including their credit reports, and sold them illegally for years, looting thousands of savings accounts and running up credit cards. In total, Cummings caused his victims millions in losses.6

More recently, a couple from Miami targeted seniors to get their credit card and financial account credentials, which they used to spend $2 million on designer clothes and high-end vacations. After stealing from over 40 people in the U.S, the thieves Patricia Perez-Gonzalez and Alberto Companioni were finally discovered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and charged with grand larceny and identity theft.7

The Technology Behind Identity Monitoring

Let’s get technical. The main features that power most identity monitoring services are encryption and artificial intelligence. Since we give identity monitoring services so much personal information about us, from our Social Security numbers to our home addresses, it’s extremely important that they’re storing our information safely, which requires encryption. Basically, encryption transforms our data into indecipherable text, only accessible through our account. This ensures that our identity theft protection service isn’t increasing our risk of identity theft, defeating the purpose of the service in the first place.

Companies like Identity Guard use artificial intelligence to monitor the web and world for our credentials. With Identity Guard specifically, they use IBM Watson® Artificial Intelligence, which scans these criminal and financial areas 24/7 for the user’s PII. Since being on the lookout 24/7 would be expensive and exhausting for companies, using AI-powered robots is a more efficient way to monitor identities. Compare the identity monitoring service Identity Guard to other companies in our comparisons, which include Identity Guard vs. Complete ID, Identity Guard vs. IdentityForce, and IdentityGuard vs. Infoarmor. Or, read more about the Identity Guard app, Identity Guard credit monitoring, the Identity Guard free trial, or Identity Guard for spouses.

Do I Need Identity Theft Protection? How It Helps You

You need identity theft protection to catch identity theft as soon as it happens, mitigating your damages. You also need it for identity theft insurance and restoration, with reimbursements of up to $1 million and 24/7 support if your identity is stolen. Based on the fact that there were over 1.4 million reports of identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission in 2020, this isn’t an uncommon problem, so it’s much better to be safe than sorry.

Who Needs Identity Theft Protection?

It’s rare that we say this, but literally everyone needs identity theft protection. Let’s face it: we all have personally-identifying information.

Can I Monitor My Own Identity? Identity Theft Protection Alternatives

Of course, identity theft protection services aren’t the only ways to prevent identity theft. Here are some alternatives straight from the Federal Trade Commission:8

  • Keep all your important documents, like credit cards, Social Security certificates, birth certificates, passports, and Medicare cards in a safe place, using one of the better home security systems to protect them if necessary.
  • Get your mail out of your mailbox as soon as possible so no one can steal it and glean your credentials.
  • Shred any papers that have your personal information on them immediately after you’re done using them.
  • Use a long, complicated and unique password for each of your accounts.
  • Use anti-phishing software to avoid hackers gaining access to your accounts.
Identity Guard Anti Phishing App Setup
Identity Guard Anti Phishing App Setup
  • Use a VPN while on public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Only give your Social Security Number to businesses when it’s completely necessary; you may have to figure this out on a case-by-case basis.
  • Manually check your credit scores and reports from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, as well as your bank accounts and any other financial or medical accounts you may have.

While nothing can guarantee that your identity won’t be stolen, these simple steps will make it less likely.

Our Methodology: How We Picked the Best Identity Theft Protection of 2021

When we test out and research different types of identity theft protection services, we look for a few key factors. Note that for every identity theft service we review, we actually choose a subscription, download the app and fill out our information, using the service for about six months to determine if it’s worth the price. While we’re trying it out, here’s what we look for:

  • Credit agencies monitored: We want credit monitoring from all three Bureaus, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, plus frequent updates of both credit scores and reports.
  • Financial areas monitored: From credit card, investment and bank accounts to payday loans, we want subscriptions to keep track of our finances, making sure no one has accessed our payment information.
  • Criminal areas monitored: Whether it’s court records, our local sex offender registry, the dark web or any other area we generally want to avoid in life, we look for services with comprehensive coverage for criminal areas.
  • Identity theft insurance: Services should also include identity theft insurance with a reimbursement maximum of $1 million, which we see most commonly from policies.
  • Privacy jurisdiction: We don’t put too much weight on this, as every service we’ve reviewed is based in the U.S, a Five Eyes member. However, we do check out the company’s privacy jurisdiction for those super concerned about privacy.
  • Privacy policy: We’re nothing if not thorough, which is why we read each company’s privacy policy to see which of our information they keep. Given how much of our personally identifiable information we give them, we want to make sure that they’re not selling it to marketers to make our ads even more personalized, if that’s even possible at this point.
  • Encryption method: Of course, we want our PII to be encrypted using the highest standards like AES-256.
  • App: Trying it out on both iOS and Android devices, we like apps that are intuitive to use and free of annoying bugs.
  • Pricing: We don’t want to spend more than $30 a month for our service, and we also appreciate companies that give discounts if you sign up for a year.
  • Customer support: Finally, we want to ensure that if we have any technical issues, help is right around the corner via live chat, phone, or email (preferably all three).

Identity Theft Protection by Group

Identity theft protection can look different for different groups of people, so we’ve dived deep into services that’ll fit your needs, whatever group you fall into.

  • U.S Military: Some companies offer special promotions that give service members discounts on their services. Be sure to check for a discount code before you put down your credit card information!
  • Deceased People: Believe it or not, it’s important to monitor the identities of the deceased as well as the alive. Why? Because thieves steal the identities of almost 2.5 million Americans every year.9 Although the deceased’s surviving relatives won’t be responsible for the charges, there’s no reason to give a criminal free money by leaving your passed family members’ credentials right in the open.
  • Families: Many identity theft protection services have subscriptions designed specifically for families, which usually amounts for up to two adults and ten children. Check out our list of the best identity monitoring services for families.
  • Seniors: Seniors, in particular, are more vulnerable to certain types of identity theft like medical, estate, tax fraud, military, wire transfer, and familiar fraud. Even if the older person in your life isn’t terribly tech-savvy, it’s easy to set up and monitor subscriptions for them with identity monitoring software.
  • Children: Children can fall privy to identity theft just as easily as adults. Again, the one million children in 2017 that had their identities stolen lost a total of $2.6 billion, $540 million of which was out-of-pocket, so we recommend getting an account for the whole family.
  • Couples: Don’t leave out your spouse! While it may not make sense to get an entire family subscription for two people, getting two individual subscriptions could be highly beneficial to protect your identities.
  • Businesses: When we think of identity theft, we typically think of people, not businesses. However, business identity theft is possible when a thief uses a business’ identifying information to get tax benefits.10 While it’s not too common, some companies like Experian have plans that protect businesses instead of people, a service called Business Credit Advantage, to be specific.

No matter which category you fall into, identity theft protection will give you the peace of mind that you’ll know as soon as your credentials are used. Now it’s just time to decide which service is right for you.

Identity Theft Protection Buying Guide

Google “identity theft protection” and you’ll get over 145 million results; gee, that’s not overwhelming at all. To make things easier, we put together a guide to get the best identity theft protection service for your needs.

  • Credit scores and reports: Most identity theft protection services only offer credit monitoring for all three bureaus with their top-tier plans. You can decide if one bureau is enough for you, or if you want a complete picture.
  • Identity monitoring: Identity monitoring can be really expansive or relatively narrow depending on the service. At a minimum, make sure the service has monitoring for the dark web, your bank, credit card and investment accounts, as well as court records. More comprehensive services include monitoring for U.S.P.S address change requests, sex offender registries, home titles, and more. We recommend making a list of the services you want before comparing plans!
  • Identity theft insurance: Most identity theft protection services offer identity theft insurance, which can typically give users up to $1 million in reimbursements if their identities are stolen. This is the standard of 99% of identity theft protection companies, so don’t settle for anything less.
  • Identity theft restoration: If your identity is stolen, make sure your service has the support built in to help you restore it. Some companies even offer restoration support 24/7!
  • Security: If you want the most protection, look for a company that offers an app with two or multi-factor authentication. These days, it’s pretty easy to steal other people’s usernames and passwords, be it through phishing or stolen devices. But with two or multi-factor authentication, the hacker wouldn’t be able to log in, even with the correct username and password. Rather, two-factor authentication will require a passcode sent to the user’s device, while multi-factor authentication requires fingerprint or face ID, preventing unauthorized access.
  • Privacy: Depending on how much you care about your privacy, you might want to look for a company that’s based in a non-member country to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes. For example, the majority of the identity theft protection services that we’ve reviewed are based in the U.S, a Five Eyes member. That means that the company could be forced to hand over our data to the government, which wouldn’t be possible in a non-member country. We also recommend you read the company’s privacy policy to see which data they collect and share with third parties, along with their encryption methods. Look for companies that store customer data with AES 256-bit encryption, the current industry standard.
  • Pricing: It’s always better to go into any shopping situation with a budget in mind. On average, expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $30 monthly for your identity theft protection service. Many companies also offer yearly plans, which may or may not be discounted.
  • App: Finally, if you want to check your identity and credit monitoring on the go, check out the company’s app’s ratings on the Apple or Google Play store, depending on the make of your mobile device. We recommend going with an app that’s rated three stars or above to avoid bugs.
Identity Guard Classic App
Identity Guard Classic App

Identity Theft Insurance

Like we said before, most identity theft protection companies offer identity theft insurance with their subscriptions. Typically, this gives users up to $1 million in reimbursement if they are victims of identity theft. The thing is that no one and nothing can completely prevent identity theft. Even the staunchest of digital security experts like us could have our credentials compromised and our identities stolen, which is why identity theft insurance exists in the first place. We love that it’s built into most identity theft protection plans!

Identity Restoration and Recovery

Clearly, getting your identity stolen is a headache, with both financial and emotional losses. Fortunately, most companies offer identity restoration support in addition to insurance. While we didn’t have our identities stolen during testing, thankfully, it was nice to know that if we did, we’d have 24/7 support, in some cases. These experts would guide us through the entire process of freezing our credit, alerting the proper authorities and filing insurance claims, helping us every step of the way.

More Digital Security Guides

Identity theft isn’t the only thing to worry about when it comes to your digital identity. We’ve put together a few guides that should help you stay secure online.


  • What is the best identity theft protection?

    The best identity theft protection services are Identity Guard, LifeLock, IdentityIQ, IdentityForce, ID Watchdog, Experian IdentityWorks, Aura, Credit Sesame, PrivacyGuard, Zander Insurance, IDShield and IDNotify.

  • Should you get identity theft protection?

    We think that everyone should get identity theft protection, regardless of your age, how much money you have, your credit history, or any other factors. We also have personally identifiable information that people can steal pretty easily, be it through a lost wallet or a phishing scam. While identity theft protection can’t completely prevent identity theft from happening, it can let you know as soon as it detects something fishy, in addition to providing insurance in case your identity is stolen.

  • What does identity theft protection do?

    Identity theft protection monitors areas for the user’s credentials to ensure that they aren’t found where they shouldn’t be. These areas could include credit scores and reports, court records, U.S.P.S address changes, financial account takeovers, and other criminal areas.

  • Who does Dave Ramsey recommend for identity theft protection?

    Financial expert and radio personality Dave Ramsey recommends identity theft protection from Zander Insurance. Zander Insurance monitors the dark web and other criminal areas for possible financial, medical, tax, criminal, Social Security, benefits or employment fraud for both children and adults. It also includes identity theft insurance with a maximum reimbursement of $1 million. Currently, a monthly plan from Zander costs $6.75, which is well below the market share for identity monitoring services. However, Zander lacks credit monitoring, which is a definite drawback as most ID theft companies include it in their service.

  • Is LifeLock really worth it?

    Whether LifeLock is worth it or not depends what the user is looking for. While we appreciated their affordable first-year subscription prices and their comprehensive scope of identity monitoring services, the company has had major issues with false advertising and data breaches in the past, so it’s not worth it for someone super concerned about privacy.

  • How do you check to see if someone stole your identity?

    According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are a few signs that your identity has been stolen, such as:

    • Withdraws from your bank account that can’t be explained
    • Calls about unfamiliar debts or bills
    • Missing mail mail
    • False information on your medical records
    • The IRS tells you that a tax return has already been filed in your name
    • Unfamiliar changes on your credit score or report.
  • Is identity theft monitoring worth it?

    Identity theft monitoring is certainly worth the price, which starts on average at $10 a month. Given that the average loss from identity theft was $1,343 in 2017, according to the Department of Justice, spending around $120 a year for identity theft protection is certainly worth it. Plus, many services come with insurance for identity theft, which can award the user up to $1 million.

  • How can I monitor my credit for identity theft?

    There are a couple of ways to monitor your credit for identity theft. The first is to sign up for a credit/ identity monitoring service like Experian or LifeLock, but you can also get your credit reports for free at Be sure to read over your credit reports from all three major credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, and see if there’s any unfamiliar accounts, bankruptcies, judgments, etc.

  1. Federal Trade Commission. (2020). Identity Theft.

  2. Federal Trade Commission. (2021). Consumer Sentinel Network.

  3. ID Theft Resource Center. (2021). Identity Theft Resource Center®’s 2020 Annual Data Breach Report Reveals 19 Percent Decrease In Breaches.

  4. Federal Trade Commission. (2020). Senior Identity Theft.

  5. Javelin Strategy. (2018). 2018 Child Identity Fraud Study.

  6. FBI. (2004). No Ordinary Case of Identity Theft.

  7. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (2016). ICE HSI investigation leads to indictment of a couple for credit card fraud and identity theft.

  8. Federal Trade Commission. (2020). Avoiding Identity Theft.!what-to-do

  9. ID Analytics. (2012). Identities of Nearly 2.5 Million Deceased Americans Misused Each Year.

  10. IRS. (2020). Tax Practitioner Guide to Business Identity Theft.