Best Identity Theft Protection Services of 2019

Best Antivirus Bundling

LifeLock customers enjoy identity theft protection with the most streamlined credit lock feature available. And LifeLock’s Norton 360 antivirus package will safeguard your devices from a whole host of viruses and cyber-attacks.
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  • Comprehensive identity theft protection
  • Built-in Norton 360 antivirus package
  • Fast and easy credit lock feature
  • Identity theft insurance up to $1 million
Learn More about LifeLock

Best Child Protection Options

IdentityForce offers the best child and family plans, hands down. Their award-winning services include identity theft protection and credit monitoring, with triple-bureau credit reporting and a credit improvement simulator for good measure.
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  • Best-in-class child and family plans
  • Three-bureau credit reporting and credit simulator
  • Award-winning service team with 24/7 support
  • Up to $1 million in identity theft insurance
Learn More about IdentityForce

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 $10, these top-notch organizations help prevent identity theft, track down criminals and support the financial well-being of their subscribers.

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. They can provide these services and more:

  • Send real-time alerts
  • Freeze credit cards
  • Pay for lawyers
  • Pay for private investigators
  • Cover wages lost due to ID theft

The best identity theft protection companies typically provide up to $1,000,000 reimbursement if your identity is stolen. One top company (IDShield) includes up to $5 million in ID theft insurance. Learn about plans to protect one person or a whole family. Our ten favorites:

  • Identity Guard
  • LifeLock
  • IdentityForce
  • ID Watchdog
  • Experian IdentityWorks
  • Credit Sesame
  • PrivacyGuard
  • Zander Insurance
  • IDShield
  • IDnotify

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 data breaches in real-time in multiple ways. For example, they can monitor payday loan applications, criminal court records and social media for your name.
  • Identity Theft Monitoring – The best identity theft protection companies generally monitor credit reports from all three major bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Scores could be provided from individual bureaus or as a Vantage 3.0 score reflecting all three. Some anti-theft services provide daily credit score updates, but monthly reports are most common.
  • 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 can 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. One company below has a $5 million maximum. 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.

Comparison of the Best Identity Theft Protection Services

System
Identity Guard
LifeLock
IdentityForce
ID Watchdog
Experian IdentityWorks
Credit Sesame
PrivacyGuard
Zander Insurance
IDShield
IDnotify
Ranking2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10th
Ratings 9.3/109.2/109.0/108.7/108.7/108.2/108.1/108.0/107.7/10
Read Review LifeLock ReviewIdentityForce ReviewID Watchdog ReviewExperian IdentityWorks ReviewCredit Sesame ReviewPrivacyGuard ReviewZander Insurance ReviewIDShield ReviewIDnotify Review

A Detailed List of the Best Identity Theft Protection Services

  • 1. Identity Guard – Best Identity Theft Protection Overall

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

    Editor's Rating
    9.5
    /10

    Identity Guard takes the honor for best ID theft protection overall. 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 plan 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 2019 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 Dont 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

    Watson at Your Service…

    Artificial intelligence helps Identity Guard prevent ID theft. The company partners with IBM Watson, a supercomputer that “thinks” wisely as it processes information. Some of IBM Watson’s 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 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

    Features above are included with Identity Guard Premier 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 $8.99 to $34.99. Premier plans give the most comprehensive protection. Individual Value plans are the most affordable.

    • Premier Family covers all adults and minors in one residence for $34.99/month total. This might save you money, as many other companies charge per person.
    • Individual Premier covers one adult for $24.99 per month.
    • Individual Value plans are the most affordable identity theft protection, priced at $8.99 and $19.99 monthly. Compared with the Premier Family and Premier Individual plans, these have fewer credit reporting features. Also, they skip the Facebook analysis and cyberbullying alerts.
    Learn more about Identity Guard
  • 2. LifeLock – Best Antivirus Bundling

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

    Editor's Rating
    9.3
    /10

    LifeLock was founded in 2005 in Arizona. Since 2017 the company has been owned by Symantec, the maker of Norton Security. 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. If you lose your wallet or detect identity fraud, you can instantly freeze your accounts and lock inquiries with the three leading credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). This feature is available with the LifeLock Ultimate Plus plan.

    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. In 2019 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 Dont 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 for Children & Adults

    Adults can choose from three LifeLock plans, then add LifeLock Junior for $5.99/month per minor. LifeLock Juniorincludes Norton 360 for online safety along with most features of standard accounts, such as dark web monitoring and lost wallet protection. Furthermore, a junior account monitors peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing sites that teens commonly use in case personal data has been exposed via downloads of music, videos and other files. P2P protection is also included in regular LifeLock accounts.

    A minor can receive up to $1 million in restitution for identity fraud, depending on which main LifeLock plan is tied to the account. (Top dollar comes with Ultimate Plus.) The LifeLock plans for adults are:

    • LifeLock Standard, $9.99/month – $25,000 insurance for stolen funds
    • LifeLock Advantage, $17.99/month – $100,000 insurance
    • LifeLock Ultimate Plus, $29.99/month – $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 $25,000
    • 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. 

    Learn more about LifeLock
  • 3. IdentityForce – Best Child Protection Options

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

    Editor's Rating
    9.2
    /10

    IdentityForce is a family-owned company with headquarters in Massachusetts. They formed in 2005 especially to fight identity theft, and today they boast an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. IdentityForce stands out for the best child ID protection. Anti-phishing technology and other features 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 up to $1 million.

    Main categories of IdentityForce features are:

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

    The IdentityForce Family ID Protection plan supports an unlimited number of children for about $25/month. You can also choose a $17.95/month plan 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 and children plans
    • All 3-bureau quarterly credit reporting and scores
    • Impressive credit improvement simulator
    • Superb customer service with A+ BBB rating
    What We Dont Like
    • Cannot freeze or lock credit in dashboard
    • Does not offer low-cost budget plan
    • No 401(k) or retirement account monitoring
    • Website could be improved for user experience

    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)

    In sum, IdentityForce is focused on families’ identity protection, financial well-being, and safety online and in the neighborhood.

    Plans starting at $17.99/month can be ordered online. However, the family specials (about $25 to $35 per month) require a call to IdentityForce. You can also try IdentityForce free for two weeks.

    Learn more about IdentityForce
  • 4. ID Watchdog – Best ID Theft Resolution Service

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

    Editor's Rating
    9.0
    /10

    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 Dont Like
    • No companion app for mobile access
    • Does not offer social media monitoring
    • Does not offer reimbursement insurance
    • Lacks competitive family plans

    Pricing and Benefits

    Two ID Watchdog plans are available: Plus and Premium.

    • ID Watchdog Plus, $14.95/month – Benefits include basic and advanced identity monitoring, dark web monitoring, fraud alerts and professional managed ID theft resolution. This plan does not supply credit reports.
    • ID Watchdog Premium, $19.95/month – Benefits include all of the above plus monthly Vantage credit reports that pull from all three credit bureaus.

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

    Learn more about ID Watchdog
  • 5. Experian IdentityWorks – Best Credit Monitoring

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

    Editor's Rating
    8.7
    /10

    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 $500,000.

    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 $500K
    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 Dont Like
    • $500k insurance plan is not so competitive 
    • Customer service could be more responsive
    • Upper-tier plans are relatively pricey
    • Confusing cancellation policy 

    Experian IdentityWorks Prices

    Plans with $500K insurance start at just $9.99 per month and top out at $29.99. Up to ten minors and two adults can share plans for $14.99/month and up.

    Learn more about Experian IdentityWorks
  • 6. Credit Sesame – Best Free Credit Reporting

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

    Editor's Rating
    8.7
    /10

    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 $50K 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 $50k in identity theft coverage
    What We Dont 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 has a relatively low insurance benefit: $50,000 maximum. Also, they don’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 $50,000

    Credit Sesame launched in 2010 with big support from the Silicon Valley startup community, and within a couple years it was managing a reported $35 billion for borrowers! In 2019 the company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Beware of imitators using Credit Sesame’s good name.

    Learn more about Credit Sesame
  • 7. PrivacyGuard – Best Customer Service

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

    Editor's Rating
    8.2
    /10

    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
    • 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 Dont Like
    • Does not offer family plans
    • No social media monitoring
    • No bank account monitoring
    • Premium plan is a bit pricey

    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.

    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.

    Learn more about PrivacyGuard
  • 8. Zander Insurance – Best Insurance Bundling

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

    Editor's Rating
    8.1
    /10

    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 Dont Like
    • Does not offer credit monitoring
    • No mobile companion app
    • No social media monitoring
    • Website lacks detailed information

    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.

    Learn more about Zander Insurance
  • 9. IDShield – Best Family Plans with High Coverage

    IDShield offers best-in-class family plans with an impressive $5 million in ID theft coverage.

    Editor's Rating
    8.0
    /10

    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 $5 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 $5,000,000

    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 $5 million coverage plan 
    • A+ BBB rating with 24/7 customer support
    What We Dont 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 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, $12.95/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 ($12.95/month plan) or all three ($17.95/month plan). Plans include $1 million insurance policies.
    • IDShield Family, $19.95/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 $5 million ID theft insurance policies.

    In sum, IDShield is unique for its $5,000,000 family ID protection insurance plans. They’re also unique for their 24/7 hotline to private investigators.

    Learn more about IDShield
  • 10. IDnotify – Best Value Identity Theft Protection

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

    Editor's Rating
    7.7
    /10

    IDnotify is part of the credit reporting bureau Experian. So too is IdentityWorks (above). A main difference between Experian’s two ID theft services is the 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 We Dont Like
    • Does not have mobile app
    • Lacks advanced features
    • Inconsistent / inaccurate alerts 
    • Premium plan is expensive

    Plans & Benefits

    • Essential Plan, $9.99/month – This low-priced plan doesn’t include identity theft insurance or credit reports. 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 a best value in identity theft protection, the $17.99 deal can pay off significantly if your name is compromised!

    Learn more about IDnotify

Best ID Theft Protection Review

Which companies provide the best identity theft protection? Here’s a review of the guide above.

  • Identity Guard – Best ID Theft Protection Overall
  • LifeLock – Best Antivirus Bundling for ID Theft Prevention
  • IdentityForce – Best Child ID Protection
  • ID Watchdog – Best Identity Theft Resolution Service (No Subscription Required)
  • Experian IdentityWorks – Best Credit Monitoring (Daily Credit Reports)
  • Credit Sesame – Best Free Credit Reporting with Extras
  • PrivacyGuard – Best Customer Service
  • Zander Insurance – Best Insurance Bundling with ID Protection
  • IDShield – Best Family ID Protection with High Coverage
  • IDnotify – Best Value Identity Theft Protection

Types of Identity Theft

Why do people steal identities? Easy money is one big motivator: As you probably assume, shopping sprees happen! But criminals could use your name, financial accounts, 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.

Financial Identity Theft

With financial identity theft, someone takes your name to get goods and services. Maybe they only gas up their Honda. Maybe they use your credit and debit accounts to live the high life!

A classic example is in the Friends episode “The One With the Fake Monica.” When Monica reviews her credit card statement, she sees that her imposter is living her dream life: “She buys tickets for plays that I wanna see. She buys clothes from stores that I’m intimidated by the sales people.”

The fake Monica spent $300 on art supplies. In more dramatic real-life examples, thieves steal identities to pay for cars, homes, military-grade weapons and 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, and IDshield has a $5 million policy.

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/trash to obtain a new card or “additional user” card.
  • Criminals might trick you into sharing info online 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! For instance, someone could shop online with your account numbers. This is a type of “card-not-present fraud.”

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 also recover related expenses.

Medical Identity Theft

With medical ID theft, somebody uses your personal data to get healthcare services or medication. An example: This Security.org writer was billed for another person’s knee surgery.

America’s opiate addiction crisis is contributing to medical identity theft; desperate people are getting pills through ID fraud.

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 rate or might even trigger errors in your personal medical treatment.

To stay alert to medical identity theft, read your healthcare statements carefully! Also consider an identity theft protection service like Zander that helps detect fraudulent medical charges.

Senior Identity Theft

Compared with middle-aged adults, seniors are more likely to be victims of financial identity theft and medical ID theft. 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; they’re more likely tricked by fraudulent emails and websites.

Antivirus programs like Norton 360, which is included with LifeLock identity protection, help prevent people from getting duped online.

Criminal Identity Theft

With criminal ID theft, a person uses your identity 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 on the lam 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 Guard and LifeLock are some of the best anti-theft companies that search for arrest records with your name.

Identity Cloning

Identity cloning lets someone live daily life as another person. It’s one type of immigration fraud, as it lets people get housing and employment, but generally identity cloning takes other forms. US citizens who have poor credit, criminal records and eviction records are especially likely to masquerade as other people.

One example from a Security.org reader is a prospective apartment renter. Finding a rental is tough since she’s unemployed and has a record for vandalizing properties! With identity cloning she applied for a home rental using the LinkedIn profile of an employed woman with the same name.

Identity cloning sometimes involves social media accounts. On Facebook, for example, criminals can rather easily duplicate genuine accounts by using publicly available images, then tricked contacts into sending money for romantic escapades or made-up emergencies. Identity Guard is one of the best identity theft protection services with a Facebook profile analysis.

Child Identity Theft

More than a million children are victims of identity theft in a given year. Generally this involves someone using a child’s Social Security Number to commit fraud. Regardless of the child’s age, a criminal could stack payday loans and make a quick getaway; get a driver’s license; or generally abuse credit in the 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 apply for a job, are pulled over for speeding, or try to get a credit card as an adult.

The best identity theft protection plans for kids will send early alerts about signs of fraud. Anti-theft services such as IdentityForce and LifeLock are especially proactive about keeping minors’ data secure.

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. After all, criminals aren’t concerned with facts when they file paperwork.

Tax fraudsters can easily submit 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.

Employment Identity Theft

What is employment identity theft? A person who isn’t legally eligible for employment might use a false name and SSN to get a US job. They might also be tricked into signing falsified documents by a sneaky employer, especially if they don’t speak English.

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 government.

Zander Insurance Group is among the best identity theft protection companies that look for employment in your name.

Automobile Lending Fraud

A criminal who wants a car or truck might use a false identity when applying for credit. Typically they never intend to pay, and they’d love to qualify for a vehicle that’s only available with your better credit!

Auto lending ID fraud is somewhat common because eager auto dealers are more concerned with making sales than with cross-checking applicants’ names, Social Security Numbers and photo IDs. Also, fraudsters can falsify their/your 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 awhile, as it won’t show in a typical credit report search for the real SSN owner’s name.

This type of identity theft mainly harms the creditors. However, records for synthetic identities could eventually be merged with those for real identities. This could harm your credit rating, lead to false imprisonment or create other complications. LifeLock is one of the best identity theft protection companies that can track your Social Security Number and send real-time alerts in case of suspected identity fraud.