Cyberspace is like the Wild West. Honest pioneers build upstanding communities, yet there’s lots of room for criminals to roam free! Identity thieves can connect on the dark web, a network of sites not found through Google or other search engines. There a person can sell stolen Netflix logins, for example, and be pretty confident that authorities won’t find their location.
Some common sorts of data to sell on the dark web are account logins, SSNs, driver’s license data, medical account numbers, bank account numbers, and credit card numbers.
The best identity theft protection plans include dark web monitoring and alerts about stolen records. With timely notification you can change your passwords, freeze your credit, and/or take other steps to avoid serious consequences of ID theft.
Best Dark Web Monitoring
- Identity Guard – Best Dark Web Monitoring Overall
- LifeLock – Best Dark Web Alerts
- IdentityForce – Most Comprehensive Dark Web Monitoring
- ID Watchdog – Best Value Dark Web Monitoring
- Experian – Best Dark Web Scan with FICO Scores
Each plan below combines dark web monitoring with a wealth of other features. Comparing ID protection plans, you’ll see that some include $1,000,000 in stolen funds insurance with no deductible. The best plans also guarantee expert US-based help 24/7 in case your identity is stolen.
Identity Guard – Best Dark Web Monitoring Overall
Identity Guard is a longstanding ID protection company based in Fairfax County, Virginia. Nearly 50 million individuals and families have chosen Identity Guard, and the company has an A+ rating with the BBB. It’s our winner for best dark web monitoring overall since they have IBM Watson on their team. For as low as $7.50/month you can get an ID protection suite that includes the benefit of IBM Watson’s dark web scans. Upgrading to an Identity Guard Premier plan, you’ll additionally get the benefit of real-time alerts from all three credit bureaus.
About IBM Watson
IBM Watson is a world-renowned brand of supercomputer with advanced artificial intelligence. Six Watson supercomputers are in use as of 2019. Working for the security industry, IBM Watson artificial intelligence constantly scans the dark web for data about identity fraud. Identity Guard subscribers can get virtually real-time personalized alerts with a mobile app.
For instance, IBM Watson might tip off Identity Guard that your password to a particular site is for sale online. In response you can change your password and take other steps that Identity Guard might recommend with its alert. Watson also checks for news about data breaches that may affect you, and it can warn you about new email phishing trends and other identity fraud scams to avoid.
Identity Guard Prices
Monthly plans with the benefit of IBM Watson start at just $7.50 for individuals or $12.50 for families with the Identity Guard Value Plan. A Value Plan can also:
- Alert you to suspicious activity noted by all three credit bureaus
- Provide up to $1M in lost funds compensation
- Pay for identity theft recovery
Upgrading to Identity Guard Premier, you’ll also get monthly TransUnion credit scores and will automatically receive three-bureau credit reports annually.
Premier service costs $20.83 for one adult, or $29.17/month for all family members at one address.
List of Identity Guard Features
The main categories of Identity Guard benefits are credit monitoring and reporting, dark web scanning, cybersecurity, identity theft insurance, and coverage for expert identity restoration. Features of Identity Guard Premier include:
- IBM Watson artificial intelligence
- Three-bureau credit change monitoring
- Monthly TransUnion credit score
- Annual three-bureau credit reports
- Bank account monitoring
- Mobile app
- Safe browsing and anti-phishing tools
- Social media risk report
- $1 million insurance (combined) for stolen funds and legal assistance
- $10,000 insurance for lost wages
- $2K family care expenses related to ID theft
- $1K travel expenses
- Dedicated case manager
To review, Identity Guard is a top recommendation for ID protection with the power of IBM Watson artificial intelligence for detecting dark web data caches. The Premier plan is most proactive with real-time alerts from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. It costs about $20/month for an individual and $30/month for a family.
LifeLock – Best Dark Web Alerts
LifeLock is an ID protection company owned by Symantec, the maker of Norton antivirus software. This relationship helps LifeLock offer excellent proactive identity protection, as every subscription includes Norton 360 to strengthen your online privacy and quickly alert you about data breaches found with dark web scanning.
A LifeLock subscription can protect five, 10, or unlimited desktop and mobile devices with a VPN (virtual private network) and other Norton 360 features such as:
- The industry’s best dark web alerts about identity breaches
- Anti-phishing technology for desktop and mobile devices
- Cloud storage to backup your files
Prices start at $9.99/month with LifeLock Select. This affordable plan covers up to five devices. Additionally it provides:
- Credit alerts based on Equifax data
- Lost wallet protection (Get help cancelling and replacing cards)
- $25K in stolen funds insurance
- $25K insurance for personal expenses compensation
- $1M policy for expert assistance with your identity restoration
Upgrading to LifeLock Ultimate Plus for $25.99/month is worth considering. It adds real-time credit monitoring and frequent reporting. Features are listed below.
List of LifeLock Ultimate Plus Features
The main types of services from LifeLock can be categorized as credit monitoring and reporting, dark web scanning, cybersecurity, ID theft insurance, and expert identity restoration. Furthermore LifeLock can check social media and crime databases for imposters.
Here are some main benefits with the Ultimate Plus deal:
- Norton 360 for dark web monitoring, anonymous browsing, anti-phishing, device backup and more
- Three-bureau credit monitoring
- Monthly one-bureau credit report
- Annual three-bureau credit scores and reports
- Banking and investment alerts
- Lost wallet protection
- Alerts about crimes tied to your name
- Alerts about convicted sex offenders near your home
- Social media monitoring for fake accounts
- Stolen funds reimbursement up to $1M
- Personal expense compensation up to $1M
- Payment for lawyers and other experts up to $1M
You can also sign up for a special LifeLock remediation service for expert assistance if you’ve been a victim of identity theft within the past 12 months. This involves giving LifeLock power of attorney to handle the mess. It can save you lots of time and stress.
To review, LifeLock is a top choice for ID protection with Norton 360 on all your desktop computers and mobile devices. Norton 360 for LifeLock scans the dark web, sends mobile and desktop alerts, gives you a VPN and more. The LifeLock Ultimate Plus deal adds three-bureau credit monitoring, social media monitoring and more, along with a generous compensation/assistance package in case of fraud.
IdentityForce – Most Comprehensive Dark Web Monitoring
IdentityForce is an antifraud company that serves individual, family, and corporate accounts. It’s our favorite option for comprehensive ID protection that includes dark web monitoring, online protection, on-demand credit scores, stolen funds insurance, and more.
One benefit to subscribers is IdentityForce’s scanning of indexed and unindexed or “dark” sites. For instance, a scan might find that your medical insurance ID number is for sale, and IdentityForce will inform you quickly by text alert. With their highly secure mobile app you can immediately get details and take recommended actions. This service is part of the IdentityForce UltraSecure Plan, which costs $14.99/monthly if you choose yearly service, or $17.99 month-to-month.
The best ID theft protection plan, UltraSecure + Credit, augments dark web searches with three-bureau credit alerts. Furthermore it lets you check your credit scores with all three bureaus anytime. Obviously this can help alert you to trouble, plus it lets you know when it’s best to apply for more credit. A credit improvement simulator included with this plan can also help raise your credit score. The rate is $19.99/month with a yearly deal, or $23.99 month-to-month.
Both IdentityForce plans include up to $1,000,000 in stolen funds insurance and fully-managed ID restoration.
Online Protection with IdentityForce
A subscription to IdentityForce can provide dark web monitoring, real-time credit scores, anti-phishing software, stolen funds insurance, cyberbully detection, and more. Here are the main features of the best plan, UltraSecure + Credit:
- Dark web scanning
- Social Security Number tracking
- Change of address alerts
- Anti-phishing and anti-keylogging software
- Three-bureau credit monitoring
- Banking and investment alerts
- Three-bureau credit reports anytime
- Credit simulator to guide financial choices
- Lost wallet assistance
- Medical ID fraud protection
- Alerts about registered sex offenders
- Social media fraud monitoring
- Cyberbully alerts and support
- $1M stolen funds insurance
- Fully managed identity restoration
To review, IdentityForce is a top value for comprehensive identity theft protection. It’s especially appealing if you like to check your credit scores often. A free 14-day trial lets you experience their service with credit monitoring, cyberbully alerts, dark web scans and more.
ID Watchdog – Best Value Dark Web Monitoring
With great service starting under $14 month-to-month, ID Watchdog is another best value in identity protection with dark web monitoring. This offshoot of Equifax can provide Equifax credit score tracking, three-bureau credit alerts, and annual three-bureau credit reports. You can get alerts by text, mobile push notification, email, and/or telephone. Assistance is available in about 100 languages, and ID Watchdog gets great ratings for customer service. Support is available at any hour, 365 days/year.
Combined with ID Watchdog’s mobile app, their dark web monitoring and credit alerts can help you detect identity fraud… and if you do become a victim, ID Watchdog will see your case through resolution with a dedicated case manager. Each plan includes a $1 million insurance policy to cover stolen funds and out-of-pocket expenses related to restoring your identity and credit. Additionally the Platinum plan provides $500,000 insurance for your 401K and HSA.
Also impressive is ID Watchdog’s social media monitoring. It keeps an eye on social sites and alerts you if someone posts content that could hurt your reputation. Furthermore with family accounts, parents can get alerts and support if their children are involved in cyberbullying on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms.
As for credit monitoring, ID Watchdog Plus is limited to Equifax credit alerts. Upgrading to the Platinum plan adds triple-bureau alerts, triple-bureau annual reports, and live Equifax score tracking.
ID Watchdog Prices
The Plus plan for one adult costs $14.95 month-to-month or $13.66/month with a yearly deal. Family rates start around $25 monthly.
Premium for an individual costs $19.95 month-to-month or $18.25/month with a 12-month deal. Family rates start around $35 monthly.
A maximum of two adults and four children can share a plan.
List of ID Watchdog Platinum Features
The Platinum ID Watchdog plan combined with safe browsing can give you comprehensive identity protection. Benefits can mostly be classified as searching for stolen information, monitoring and reporting credit, reimbursing stolen funds/investments, and assisting with identity fraud resolution. ID Watchdog also sends alerts about registered sex offenders, guards mailboxes against junk mail, and more. Features include:
- Dark web monitoring
- Payday lender monitoring
- Public records and social media monitoring
- Three-bureau monitoring
- Daily Equifax credit score tracking based on Vantage data
- Annual three-bureau reports with VantageScore 3.0
- Mobile app available for alerts and responses
- Lost wallet assistance
- Credit freeze assistance
- Registered sex offender reporting
- Junk mail reduction
You can try ID Watchdog free for two weeks. You’ll get Equifax credit score tracking very quickly, and three-bureau monitoring can be active within a few days.
Experian – Best Dark Web Scan
The credit bureau Experian helps protect against fraud with Experian IdentityWorks. They offer the best ID protection with FICO reporting, as you can get daily Experian FICO scores and quarterly FICO credit scores from all three bureaus. Premium membership also makes it easy to lock/unlock your Experian report anytime. Combined with Experian’s dark web scans and other proactive services, an IdentityWorks subscription can help you prevent and minimize the mayhem wrought by identity theft.
Policies provide up to $1,000,000 in compensation for stolen funds. Additionally, IdentityWorks can reimburse you for child care and other expenses incurred as a result of spending time on identity restoration.
The cheapest option with dark web surveillance starts at just $9.99/month. Prices for Premium plans, which combine the best FICO reporting and dark web scans, are:
- $19.99 month to month for an adult
- $24.99 for one adult and up to 10 children
- $29.99 for two adults and up to 10 minors
Opting for a yearly deal will cut the rates by about 20%.
List of Experian IdentityWorks Premium Features
An Experian membership gives ID theft protection in the main categories of financial accounts monitoring and reporting, credit improvement, dark web scans and other cyber surveillance, and records checking. Their compensation package in case of ID theft is generous.
- Dark web surveillance
- P2P network checks
- Bank account and credit card alerts
- Lost wallet assistance
- Address change verification
- Payday lender monitoring
- Court records monitoring
- Social network monitoring
- Sex offender registry reports
- Daily Experian credit score
- Quarterly three-bureau reports
- $1M insurance limit
- $1,500 weekly lost wages replacement, up to five weeks
- $2,000 family care coverage
- Dedicated US-based case manager
The first 30 days of Experian IdentityWorks membership are free. Month-to-month and yearly plans are available.
Review of ID Theft Protection with Dark Web Monitoring
As explained above, dark web monitoring is included with ID protection plans priced under $10/month for an individual. These extra-affordable plans also include stolen funds insurance, expert case management and other benefits. The absolute best identity theft protection with dark web monitoring comes with slightly higher priced deals that include credit alerts and other additional features. Expect to spend about $20 month-to-month for individual coverage, or save per person with annual service and/or a family ID protection plan.