With the advent of AI, which can also be used for nefarious purposes, identity theft has become increasingly complex and difficult to guard against. With that, having the best identity theft protection services at your disposal can make a difference between you and your identity, staying safe online, and finding out that you have become a victim of identity theft.
The best identity theft protection services make it simple and easy for you to safeguard your personal details against hackers and scammers. Acquiring identity theft protection services can assist in identifying fraud early and even restoring your identity once it has been compromised. Still, diligence is required on your part to stay as safe as possible.
We’ve undertaken detailed research on the best identity theft protection services, scrutinizing aspects such as types of monitoring they offer, speed of activity, notification channels, pricing, and other features, to bring you the best of the best from this niche. You can also take a look at the best identity theft protection for families.
Since 1998, Hervé Lambert has been working at Panda Security, first in the Deployment area and as Product Manager, and currently as Global Consumer Operations Manager, a position in which he has always proven to be a great professional because of his in-depth knowledge of the products in the home security market.
Aura: Best Overall Identity Theft Protection
Techradar editors praise Aura's upfront pricing and simplicity. Aura also includes a password manager, VPN, and antivirus to make its security solution an even more compelling deal. Save up to 50% today.
The best identity theft protection of 2023 in full:
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Though we don't think it's the best budget option, Aura offers a sleek and easy-to-use interface that has an attractive dashboard without excessive details. Across all of the pricing plans the standard features include antivirus protection, a password manager, and a VPN, which we found is more than what some of its rivals offer.
However, keep in mind that an entry-level plan offers basic functionality, lacking some of the more important aspects, such as credit monitoring. Nevertheless, the company boasts “Identity Guard” which delivers tailored cybersecurity insights to Aura’s customers; it's the only feature of its kind in the market as far as we can tell.
Additionally, all plans come with $1 million Identity Theft Insurance and 24/7 US-Based fraud experts & support. Individual protection starts at $9 per month if you opt for annual billing or $12 if you opt for monthly billing.
For more pricing information, take a look at our table below. Note that the Family plan is the only one with child safety tools like parental control, safe gaming features, etc.
|Plan||Monthly billing||Annual billing|
Read our full Aura review.
- To speak to an expert about how identity theft protection software can keep you secure online, call IdentityForce directly on this toll-free number 888-266-3930.
Massachusetts-based IdentityForce markets its identity theft protection packages for many different use cases, including family plans with added child protection, as well as business and government-focused offerings. We found the web access great, and while there are iOS and Android apps, when we looked at their user ratings, they weren't high on either platform.
Social media monitoring comes with the basic plan, along with a handy junk mail opt-out feature that can help keep your inbox clean and functional. The top plan offers three-bureau credit monitoring, assistance if you need a credit freeze, alerts for the investment account, and numerous other features.
While we’re on the topic of credit scores, keep in mind that IdentityForce delivers the reports quarterly. We don't think this is a deal breaker, though, especially considering how powerful the bundle of credit services is.
Additionally, the smart SSN tracker that comes with the ChildWatch add-on looks great to us, offering comprehensive tools to protect your child’s identity online. To make things better, the plan offers an unlimited number of children, so if you have a big or growing family, we think this feature could be a boon for you.
When it comes to pricing, IdentityForce is not the cheapest solution we found, and offers basically two plans for individual users: the UltraSecure at $17.99 per month per member and the UltraSecure+Credit at $23.99 per month per member. If you want to dip your toes, there is also a 30-day free trial.
|Plan||Monthly billing||Annual billing|
Read our full IdentityForce review.
We think Norton LifeLock offers a great package, with a VPN service, password manager and its well-known 360 antivirus included in its bundles. When we compared it to the competition, the basic plan is not feature rich - however, you do have the option of $1 million identity theft coverage.
Credit locking is very easy across all plans, and the company offers help if you lose your wallet or if it detects identity fraud. Price wise, we found LifeLock can get a bit confusing, and the prices even rise after the first year. But essentially, there are three plans in total, with the basic one - LifeLock Standard - costing $7.50 per month for an individual. For more info on pricing take a look at the table below.
|Plan||Monthly billing||Annual billing|
|Standard||$9.90 for individual | $14.99 for family (2 adults) | $39.90 for family plan (2 adults + 5 kids)||$7.50 for individual | $12.49 for family (2 adults) | $18.49 for family plan (2 adults + 5 kids)|
|Advantage||$17.99 for individual | $28.99 for family (2 adults) | $35.99 for family plan (2 adults + 5 kids)||$14.99 for individual | $23.99 for family (2 adults) | $29.99 for family plan (2 adults + 5 kids)|
|Ultimate Plus||$23.99 for individual | $39.99 for family (2 adults) | $46.99 for family plan (2 adults + 5 kids)||$19.99 for individual | $32.99 for family (2 adults) | $38.99 for family plan (2 adults + 5 kids)|
Read our full Norton LifeLock review.
One of the biggest names in consumer credit reporting, Experian now maintains information on more than a billion businesses and individuals worldwide. We believe the company's IdentityWorks is a capable, if not standout, service, offering access to its renowned credit reporting and scoring service, raising alerts when there are any significant changes, and keeping a careful eye on the dark web for any signs of the user's personal data.
The credit score monitoring capabilities are great, as we would expect; it keeps an eye on your credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, on a daily basis. We think this is a great option that can tip you off to potential identity fraud.
We found the plans to be varied, but with the 30-day free trial option, you can test out the features and see if they’re worth your time. Keep in mind that higher-tier plans offer much more, so if you’re looking beyond the basics, be ready to pay more. Also, the Basic plan is completely free.
Read our full Experian IdentityWorks review.
While ADT’s identity theft service is on the affordable side, we think it lacks some of the advanced features offered by its rivals. Similarly, other providers seemingly cast a wider net when searching for fraud, whereas ADT sticks to a narrow playing field.
Nevertheless, in our opinion it's a great option for individuals as you get an annual credit report, bank account and credit card monitoring, criminal record monitoring, dark web monitoring, and much more.
If you’re looking for data breach updates, social media monitoring, and investment monitoring, you should look for another provider, as ADT does not offer these services at the moment. An additional advantage is that ADT is not looking to lock you into a long term contract, which means you are free to pay for the services month-to-month.
When it comes to pricing, there is only one option to choose, and that is the $9.99 per month plan. ADT kept it simple, which makes it a great start for identity protection services.
Read our full ADT Identity Protection review.
If you’re looking to keep tabs on your credit reports and scores with regular updates, then myFico’s got you covered. With the basic plan, you will have regular updates of your credit scores, but sadly we saw no identity theft protection. For that, you will have to subscribe to the more premium plans, such as Advanced and Premier. Keep in mind that there is no family plan, and no annual plan options, making myFICO one of the more expensive options on the list.
When it comes to credit monitoring services, myFICO offers the closest experience to actual creditworthiness scores offered by financial institutions. We found it provides an actual FICO score, giving you insights into what financial institutions pay attention to when determining your creditworthiness. Without opting for a full plan, we could buy a single report (1-bureau credit report) for $19.95.
Opting for higher priced plans you will get more features. With no cap on lost wages, these plans exceed the limitations of other ID protection services we assessed, which typically cap at around $7,500.
Not only that, but it goes the extra mile by also assisting with travel expenses and acquiring new documents, such as passports and driver's licenses. This exceptional service is also underwritten by the prestigious American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida.
Read our full myFico review.
Complete ID works with three main protection features: credit monitoring, identity protection, and identity restoration. When we looked into it, a range of monitoring services are offered to ensure your identity has not been compromised, such as thorough dark web surveillance and SSN monitoring, as well as standard criminal record and credit score monitoring.
We found there are some interesting perks on offer as well. For instance, if you’re a Costco member, the discounts you get make it an appealing option.
Through an automated process, Complete ID scours criminal databases, court records, change of address lists, and financial accounts to detect any suspicious activity linked to your name. The service even dives deep into the hidden crevices of the dark web to safeguard your personal details, including your coveted social security number. If any matches are discovered, you'll be promptly notified. The notifications, however, are not customizable to the extent we would like them to be.
As a subsidiary of Experian, Complete ID goes the extra mile by offering comprehensive credit monitoring too. You can access detailed reports from the big three - Experian, Transunion, and Equifax - and receive alerts in real time if someone tries to open an account using your information. If identity theft does occur, you are covered up to $1 million in insurance.
The web interface isn't the best we've used, and if you want to use your smartphone to track your alerts and make some tweaks, then you will be in for a disappointment. The mobile app needs more work in our view, but for some basic functionality, it will suffice.
|Plan/Coverage||Costco members||Regular pricing|
|One Adult + Children (up to 5 children)||$11.98||$17.98|
|Two Adults1 + Children (up to 5 children)||$18.99||$29.99|
Read our full Complete ID review.
We think IDnotify has more than a passing resemblance to IdentityWorks, and that's no coincidence, as Experian is behind both products.
The monitoring features you get will depend on the plan you choose, but in general, it offers monitoring of credit scores and reports, as well as Vantage Scores with a unique simulator.
For families, there are child monitoring capabilities as well as social media monitoring. However, this feature feels lackluster compared to the higher-end competitors we looked at. Other than that, the rest of the services (too numerous to mention) are pretty much in line with the competition, as far as we could work out from our analysis.
Price wise, it is not the cheapest option on the market, if you take into account that the Essential plan doesn’t offer any credit reports (you have to pay extra for them on this plan).
|Plan||Monthly billing (no child monitoring)||Monthly billing (with child monitoring)||Monthly price for Family Plan|
Read our full IDnotify review.
Allstate Identity Protection, crafted by a reputable corporation, offers a plethora of avenues to keep a vigilant eye on various facets of your identity and sensitive information - encompassing your credit, fiscal stability, and virtual profiles. If you want to try it out for yourself, there is also a free trial available.
Unfortunately, it will only monitor TransUnion credit reports, unless you opt for the most expensive plan which will then also monitor Experian or Equifax.
With Allstate Identity Protection, it looks to us as if your family's financial safety is in good hands too. You can select from the Essentials, Premier, or Blue plans to receive alerts on changes to your credit report or any suspicious activity involving personal information and financial accounts.
The Blue plan goes above and beyond, offering extra protection against home title fraud and 401(k)/Health Savings Account (HSA) fraud. Plus, with family options available, you can safeguard up to 10 loved ones without breaking the bank.
The digital footprint tool is a great option if you’re worried about leaving crumbs behind online which malicious actors can pick up on and use to harm you or your loved ones, online. Similarly, the company offers solid social media monitoring tools.
|Plan||Monthly billing||Annual billing|
|Essentials individual/family||$9.99 / $18.99||$9.07 / $16.49|
|Premier individual/family||$17.99 / $34.99||$16.49 / $32.08|
|Blue individual/family||$19.00 / $36.00||$15.83 / $30.00|
Read our full Allstate review.
With a steadfast philosophy that identity theft is a lurking menace that strikes with stealth, it appears to us that Zander has shrewdly chosen to prioritize prevention over cure.
Rather than dwell on the aftermath, the company boldly take charge by equipping customers with top-notch identity protections, including vigilant financial account monitoring, real-time social security number alerts, and thorough dark web scanning, all at a fair price too.
On the premium plan you also get a VPN and an anti-virus features. And while we may differ on the value of credit monitoring, we can't help but applaud their innovative approach to safeguarding their clients.
Although credit monitoring may be absent, Zander's coverage is comprehensive. If your credentials are detected anywhere online, this vigilant guardian will sound the alarm through email and app notifications (though we found that the app is limited in its use).
Zander Insurance stands ready to take on identity theft with a mighty shield of up to $1 million in stolen funds and expenses, including legal fees and lost wages. And for those with family plans, we found this shield doubles to an impressive $2 million, providing a safe haven for every covered adult. Additionally, Zander Insurance offers professional identity recovery services with no limits on time or money, so we believe you can trust it to guide you through every twist and turn of the recovery process.
|Plan||Individual monthly/annual||Family monthly/annual|
|Essential||$6.75 / $75.00||$12.90 / $145.00|
|Elite Cyber Bundle||$9.99 / $110.00||$19.49 / $215.00|
Read our full Zander Identity Theft Protection review.
Identity theft protection: Frequently Asked Questions
What is identity theft protection?
Picture your online banking account, and consider what personal information you may have stored online. Now think about your other bank account, and that credit card. Social media, gaming platforms, recruitment sites, the list goes on, and the chances are many of us will end up with hundreds of accounts all potentially exposing sensitive data.
ID theft protection aims to notify you of any concerning changes, like data breaches, so that you can act before it’s too late. Oftentimes, various databases will pull in things like bank card details, driving license numbers, health insurance information, and more.
The better identity theft protection plans also offer credit monitoring at one or more of the credit agencies. A change in the credit score can signal an identity theft as a loan can be taken out in someone’s name, the cash obtained, and then defaulted on before you even knew the loan was taken out.
By monitoring these activities, an identity theft protection user can be sent an alert if any event is detected. This then allows you to be proactive and shut the breach down before it turns into a considerably larger loss. For example, canceling a credit card that you did not take out before it racks up thousands of dollars in bills is the better outcome than having your own credit score affected. Sometimes, your chosen company will offer to do things for you, too, helping you to save time and hassle.
How to choose the best identity theft protection for you?
When choosing an identity theft protection service, start by considering the type of monitoring you require, like — credit reports, social media, criminal and court records, or bank account monitoring.
You'll then want to check their availability and quality of customer support, ease of use, and ease of setup. Make sure to assess the alerting system, the speed of alerts, and the channels through which you can receive notifications. It can sometimes be helpful to look at real customers’ reviews on forums if you’re unsure, however we take these into account too.
Lastly, look out for the compensation and insurance features that the company offers, and their pricing plans for individuals and families. Value for money is important, but don’t put cheapness ahead of protection.
Is identity theft protection worth it?
Just in 2021, over $5.9 billion were lost thanks to fraud, and the most common fraud was identity fraud, according to an FTC report. With that being said, it is important to keep in mind that identity theft in our online world can strike at any time, and whether you believe identity theft protection is worth it, will depend on your circumstances. If you perceive that the risk of identity theft is high, and you have the necessary budget to cover protection, then choosing a service is almost a no-brainer. It all comes down to the value you place on what the services provide for you, and whether you believe the risk of identity theft can actually cause you significant harm (which in almost all cases, it can).
Identity Theft Protection vs Monitoring Services: What's the difference?
The terms Identity Theft Protection and Credit Monitoring Service are often thought about and used interchangeably as both are designed to protect consumers from having issues with their credit score. However, they are not really the same.
A Credit Monitoring Service is designed to do just what the term implies: to keep a watch on a user’s credit. If and when a change occurs, typically a decline in the credit score, the user gets a notification of some sort, such as an email, that the credit score declined. However, it offers little else, or what prompted the change.
Identity Theft Protection is a stronger offering. This service will monitor multiple areas, which can include the credit score, though they will often combine the monitoring of the dark web, criminal databases, Social Security Number repositories, and other resources to assess for any threats to an individual’s identity being used for criminal purposes.
How identity theft happens?
Identity theft has become more commonplace thanks to advancements in technology and us doing more business online. To avoid being their next target, it's essential to stay vigilant and acquaint oneself with the telltale signs of identity theft. This cybercrime involves a thief gaining unauthorized access to your personal information and using it to impersonate you in fraudulent activities like securing loans, insurance, housing, or even a job.
If you notice strange bills or inexplicable charges on your credit card, unauthorized withdrawals from your bank account, or debt collectors hounding you for accounts you didn't open, then it's time to act fast. Don't just sit there wallowing in despair, take control of the situation by contacting the relevant authorities and institutions where the crime occurred. To nip identity theft in the bud, consider adopting proactive measures such as placing fraud alerts or locking your credit reports. Remember, prevention is better than cure, so keep an eye on your accounts and stay a step ahead of the fraudsters.
Signs of ID theft: what should I look out for to see if my identity was stolen?
When someone’s identity is stolen, for the first few days, there may be no signs of anything amiss. From there, it may be as subtle as not receiving an expected bill, such as a credit card statement or bank statement as the thief may have falsely changed the address to delay the criminal act being uncovered.
Red alerts that your identity has been taken include receiving credit card charges that you did not make, or even a new credit card in your name that you did not apply for. Keep in mind that thieves often start with a small purchase to verify that the card works, so pay attention to even small purchases. Any of the above should prompt you to immediately contact the provider of the credit card so the charges can be protested, or the new card can be closed immediately before the charges accumulate.
Other things to be wary of include calls from collectors requesting money on a loan you did not take out. Finally, a significant drop in credit without an obvious issue, or a denial of a loan or credit card with a previously high credit should also sound the alarm.
What are the steps to take to prevent my identity from being stolen?
Naturally, efforts should be taken to prevent ID theft. However, if it does happen, there are important steps to get things right again.
It starts with contacting local law enforcement to file an identity theft report. Contact your financial institutions, such as your bank or credit card provider. Go through credit card charges, and dispute any that you did not make to limit the liability. Also, alert them of potential additional fraud, and have them put a fraud alert on the account. Most credit card providers can send out an email or text when they are used, indicating the amount of the charge, and where the card to use to alert you in real-time if unauthorized charges are being applied to the card.
Furthermore, check with the credit bureaus, and ask to place a credit freeze. This then limits the ability to open new credit accounts as additional protections are in place for anyone to access your credit information. Requesting to place the freeze at any of the three major credit unions (Transunion, Experian, and Equifax) alerts the other two to freeze it as well, because they share certain information like this.
Should I get identity theft protection?
From tiny tots to wise seniors, identity theft is an equal opportunity offender that shows no signs of slowing down. Protect yourself and your loved ones by considering these seven groups that could benefit from identity theft protection:
1. Digital Doers - Anyone who spends a significant amount of time online or has numerous financial accounts is at higher risk for identity theft. Every account is a potential point of attack, so be wary of suspicious activity or messages.
2. Senior Savers - Older Americans may have more money saved, but they're also less tech-savvy, making them prime targets for identity thieves.
3. Family Firsts - Children and teens with clean credit histories can be attractive targets for fraudsters. Keep them safe by signing up for a family identity theft protection plan.
4. Repeat Victims - If you've been hit by identity theft once, you're more likely to be targeted again. Stay ahead of the curve with reliable protection.
5. Busy Bees - If you don't have the time to monitor your accounts constantly, identity theft protection services can help.
6. Insurance Insureds - Don't risk losing everything. Protect your home, savings, and credit score with an identity theft insurance policy.
7. Dark Web Dwellers - After a data breach, your account credentials could be floating around on hacker forums. Use Identity Guard's Dark Web scanner to keep an eye on any potential leaks.
Remember, the more accounts you have, the more important it is to keep your identity safe.
The best identity theft protection: How we test
Our tests of the best identity theft protection apps will evaluate the features, pricing options, competition, and also the overall value of using each app.
These are not full hands-on reviews, since evaluating identity theft protection apps is almost impossible, requiring months of testing, purposefully hacking accounts to see if the protection app works, handing over personally identifiable information, performing multiple credit checks, and risking exposure of the reviewer’s personally identifiable information.
We’ve deliberately chosen programs from big hitters in the security world as well as lesser-known gems that are worth your while. We’ve also aimed to cover a range of budgets, features, and use cases. The ten identity theft protection services we’ve highlighted in this buying guide cover a broad spectrum of use cases, including credit monitoring and scouring the dark web, and they’re all highly rated in our individual reviews.
If you were in any doubt, we can easily say that identity theft protection is definitely worth it. Digital ID protection is a huge online problem, and the huge shift to home and hybrid working models has meant that more of us have become more attractive targets to malicious actors.
Whether it’s by using phishing emails or social engineering tricks, fraudsters are constantly looking for ways to steal identities for their own monetary gain. Fortunately, the best identity theft protection services can help prevent this.