This feature-stacked contender offers device protection with Norton 360 antivirus
At first glance, LifeLock has an incredibly robust service for protecting your identity. From monitoring your credit on all three credit bureaus, on some plans, to guarantee a maximum of $1 million if your identity is stolen, it’s hard not to be swayed by their plethora of options. But when I dug around a little more, I found some pretty interesting information that made me a bit wary of LifeLock as a company. So overall, would I recommend LifeLock to monitor your identity? You’ll have to read my LifeLock review to find out!
The features you get with LifeLock depends on what plan you sign up, which we’ll talk about more below, but I wanted to tell you about all the available features. Assuming you buy the highest subscription option, you’ll have your credit monitored through the three major credit-reporting agencies, namely Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. You’ll get your new report and score every one or three months, depending on your plan. Plus, LifeLock will also look out for anyone using your Social Security number no matter what plan you have. But only the Ultimate Plus plan will monitor your 401(k), investment account activity, and check and savings account applications.
As far as the dark web goes, LifeLock’s got that covered as well. They’ll also watch out for:
- USPS address changes
- Crimes committed in your name
- Fictitious identities
- Sex offender registries
- Home titles.
If they find any changes, you’ll be notified via a phone call, text, email, or push notification.
And most importantly, if your identity is stolen, you could be reimbursed for up to $1 million, standard across the identity monitoring industry.
This all sounds really good to me, and LifeLock definitely offers the whole enchilada when it comes to identity monitoring. However, when I did some additional research on third-party websites, I found information that gave me some serious pause.
But the main reason LifeLock had to pay such a hefty settlement was due to their false advertising. Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC, put it bluntly,
“While LifeLock promised consumers complete protection against all types of identity theft, in truth, the protection it actually provided left enough holes that you could drive a truck through it.”
While LifeLock guaranteed that it could protect its customers from identity theft, many types of identity theft are not protected, like misuse of existing accounts, the common type of identity theft. Medical or employment identity theft along with account fraud are also not protected. In fact, the type of identity theft for which LifeLock’s fraud alerts are the most effective only comprises 17% of identity theft incidents, according to a 2007 FTC survey.
The truth is that no identity monitoring service can guarantee that you won’t get your identity stolen; however, having a service in place is certainly better than having nothing at all. LifeLock’s issue sprouted not from their software, but from their hyperbolic advertising campaign which actually displayed their CEO’s Social Security number. While flashy and memorable, ultimately LifeLock’s exaggerations hurt customer trust, and rightfully so.
Here’s what data of yours LifeLock says they store:
- Member and subscription information like your name, email address, etc.
- Data from cookies, including administrative, provisioning, security, usage and preference data
- Third-party data, mainly for threat intelligence to get the email address of a sender of malware
- Diagnostic information about their website and app.
Believe it or not, this is actually one of the stricter logging policies I’ve seen from an identity monitoring service. That’s important because the company is based in the United States, a member of the international surveillance alliances Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes. What does this mean, exactly? Well, it means that the government could force LifeLock to hand over customer data, legally, so the fact that they don’t keep much is a good sign.
Plus, LifeLock offers two-factor and multi-factor authentication for its accounts, meaning you’ll either have to enter a passcode sent to your mobile device or enter your biometrics, fingerprint, or facial recognition, to sign in. So while the company ostensibly protects customer data and keeps a minimal amount, if you’re super concerned about privacy, LifeLock is not for you.
Is LifeLock Easy To Use?
To start setting up LifeLock, you create a password along with entering your name, address, email, phone number, birthday, and social security number, which felt a little scary considering their history. Then, I entered my billing information and paid for the entire year at once, as these contracts are annual. However, you do have a 60-day window in which you can cancel for a full refund, so that’s something to keep in mind.
I bought LifeLock Standard, which gives you the basic identity monitoring that I need. Once I made the purchase, I was brought to the LifeLock dashboard, which is your portal to LifeLock if you’re on a computer.
Once I was in the dashboard, I was prompted to add more personal information like my:
- Mother’s maiden name
- Insurance information
- Bank account numbers
- Driver’s license number
- Credit card numbers.
These are all optional, but the more information you give them, the more LifeLock can monitor.
Next, I clicked on Privacy Monitoring on the left-hand side. Basically, LifeLock scans certain websites for your personal information, mostly those shady ID websites that sometimes come up when you Google your name, like PrivateEye and Truthfinder.
With a click of a button, LifeLock showed me eight places where my personal, identifiable information is listed and gave me the chance to opt-out.
Once I clicked on the blue button, I was brought to that third party website’s opt-out page. So really, this is something I could’ve done for free, but it certainly made the process easier.
The dashboard is also where you can check out your most recent alerts and get customer support. All in all, I found LifeLock really easy to use on my computer, and I like that I didn’t have to download any hefty desktop apps to do it, either.
I must say that things got a little confusing when it comes to LifeLock’s apps. If you did LifeLock with Norton360, you’ll use the LifeLock for Norton360 app, but if you used LifeLock on its own, you’ll use an app called LifeLock ID Theft Protection. I actually wasn’t able to even log onto LifeLock with Norton360! But when I tried to log on to the LifeLock ID Theft Protection app, I was brutally rebuffed.
It turns out I had to click on “Norton Sign In” below where I would enter my username and password for LifeLock, as these are apparently different accounts. This was super confusing, but once I got into the app, it was really easy to navigate just like the dashboard.
LifeLock Subscription Options
LifeLock gives you a ton of options when it comes to their annual subscriptions. You can either buy LifeLock on its own for identity theft protection benefits, insurance, alerts and restoration support, or you can pair it with Norton 360, which mainly offers additional device security benefits like VPNs and secure cloud storage.
In terms of pricing, LifeLock offers a pretty big range. You’ll pay anywhere from $8.99 to $34.99 a month, which isn’t terrible, nor is it the cheapest I’ve seen. But unfortunately, all of the fees go up after the first year, so that’s something to keep into account. I’m also not thrilled that there’s no way to just sign up for a month. However, let’s talk more about what these subscriptions actually get you, especially the terms that aren’t so self-explanatory.
Reimbursement and Restoration Benefits
With any plan, you’ll get reimbursed if your identity is stolen for up to $1 million, which can include reimbursement for stolen funds, personal expenses, lawyers, and experts. You’ll also have access to restoration teams or specialists who will guide you through the process.
Identity Theft Protection Benefits
No matter which plan you choose, you’ll be alerted of any changes to your credit, whenever your credentials show up on the dark web, or if your data was involved in a breach. If you want the most protection, go with the Ultimate Plus plan.
While the identity theft protection benefits are pretty obvious and easy to understand, you may not know about LifeLock Privacy Monitor. Perhaps in reaction to their failure to protect customer data, LifeLock’s Privacy Monitor feature lets customers find, remove and suppress their identifiable and personal information from certain “people-search websites and Internet-based advertising companies”. Despite LifeLock’s troubled past when it comes to customer data, this feature is definitely a step in the right direction.
Device Security Benefits
If you choose to buy Norton360 along with LifeLock, you’ll get a variety of device security benefits and even secure cloud storage. Again, these benefits are all pretty self-explanatory except for PC SafeCam, which, in a nutshell, stops applications and malware from accessing the webcam on your computer unless you give permission. Truthfully, I recommend getting Norton360 along with LifeLock, because if someone has access to your devices or accounts, it makes it much easier to steal your identity.
If you want to try out LifeLock, you can sign up for a 30-day trial, as long as you’re on the Advantage or Ultimate Plus plan. With any membership, you’ll get a 60-day money-back guarantee, which is nice. All in all, I’m happy with LifeLock’s subscription options, which are really extensive in terms of both identity monitoring and device security.
LifeLock Customer Support
LifeLock is the only identity monitoring company I’ve seen to offer 24/7 support over phone and live chat in addition to their online help center.
The LifeLock App
Once I found my way to the correct LifeLock app, it was pretty easy to use. The app is where you’ll receive notifications, easily access your credit scores and reports when you’re on the go, track your financial activities, and more. Other LifeLock customers agreed with me, as the app has a 4.6 on the Apple store and a 4.7 on the Google Play store. Brenda Handley, an Android-user, wrote in a recent four-star review,
“They always alert me if there’s a problem. I have used them for the last couple of years. So I would refer them for your security needs. They’re not expensive either. That helps.”
Given LifeLock’s past issues with false advertising and not properly protecting customer data, it’s definitely not my first choice in an identity monitoring software. I felt pretty strange about giving my Social Security Number to a company that’s repeatedly violated FTC orders regarding customer data privacy, which is a shame because LifeLock has such a robust feature set. However, if you think LifeLock has changed since their last settlement with the FTC in 2015, it could be a good option for you.
I’d go with LifeLock if you’d like…
- Identity monitoring and device security: In terms of features, LifeLock offers more than any other similar service I’ve reviewed.
- Affordable first-year options: You can pay as little as $8.99 the first year, billed annually as $107.88.
- User-friendly dashboard: You shouldn’t have any issues navigating LifeLock’s online dashboard.
But avoid it for the following reasons…
- Past legal issues: From false advertising to insecure storage of sensitive customer data, LifeLock’s issues with the FTC are certainly troubling, to say the least.
- Confusing app: With two apps, it can be a bit confusing to know which one to use and how to sign in to your account on your mobile device.
- Price increase: After the first year, all of LifeLock’s plans increase in price anywhere from $3 to $9 a month. Plus, all subscriptions are annual, which may be a turn-off for some.
- How much does LifeLock cost a month?
Depending on your subscription, LifeLock can cost anywhere from $8.99 to $34.99 a month.
- What does LifeLock actually do?
LifeLock alerts you to any changes in your credit report and can notify you about other events that may mean your identity has been stolen. Aside from identity theft protection, LifeLock also offers it’s customers reimbursements and restoration help if their identities are stolen.
- How much is LifeLock for a couple?
LifeLock only offers individual plans, so a couple should expect to pay about $18 to $70 a month for coverage.