Our series on identity theft protection (opens in new tab) apps will evaluate the features, pricing options, competition, and also the overall value of using each app. However, these are not full hands-on reviews since evaluating identity theft protection apps is almost impossible. It would require several 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.
F-Secure (opens in new tab) is an international firm with a cybersecurity focus that has been doing this since 1998 and has been in the identity theft protection (opens in new tab) business since 2020. It currently has approximately thirty offices globally, is listed on the NASDAQ OMX, Helsinki and in excess of 1,700 employees. It has 12 internationally recognized accreditations, over 250 technical consultants, and from its world renowned F-Secure Labs it has about 300 publications annually.
Plans and pricing
F-Secure offers some options in the plans, but there is no complicated tier structure, nor ransoming of the best features to the top tier to encourage users to sign up for the most expensive plan offering.
Rather, we essentially have a single set of features for F-Secure ID Protection’s plan (opens in new tab), with the option to subscribe for either 5 devices, or for 10 devices. The other variable is to sign up monthly, or for an annually discounted rate. This works out for the 5 device plan to £5.49 monthly (discounted currently to £3.99/month), or annually at £49.99, currently discounted to £34.99 annually (working out to £2.92/month). The 10 device plan comes to £6.99/month, on a discount to £5.49/month, or annually at £69.99, which is currently discounted to £49.99/year. Note that the discounts only apply to the first 6 months on the monthly plan, and the first year if paid annually.
To make it easier to trial, there is both a 5-day, no credit card required trial period (a little too short for our taste), and also a 30 day money back guarantee.
F-secure ID Protection monitors multiple devices, and with the 5 device subscription, it actually defines a device as an email address to monitor for the data breach. The features include online identity monitoring which also covers the Dark Web, and breach alerts with notifications for the iOS and Android platforms. There is also support for a wide variety of platforms: Windows 7 (SP1), Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows 11, macOS 10.14 (Mojave) and later, Android OS 6 and later, iOS 13 and later.
There is also a password manager, that is auto-fill. It supports both the popular Chrome and Firefox browsers, although this leaves out Microsoft Edge, and Apple’s Safari.
A significant shortcoming is the F-Secure does not include any financial account protection. Specifically, there is no coverage for credit score changes, or annual credit score reports. Also, this service does not monitor for new mortgages or loans, so those looking for that type of protection should look elsewhere for more comprehensive protection.
Interface and in use
F-Secure is available for download on Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS, though there isn’t a client for Linux. It took us only a few minutes to install the application, activate a device, and get started with F-Secure ID Protection. You’ll also need to create a master password in order to secure your account.
Even though the Mac client is called ID Protection, it looks more like a password manager (opens in new tab) than an identity protection suite. You’ll receive a notification if your identity is compromised, but there isn’t much to do in terms of settings or features. The application itself feels a little dated compared to some competitors.
F-Secure has a well developed support strategy, with multiple options available to interface with them. This includes direct phone support, via a local phone available for dozens of countries. For the US, we easily located a toll free number, although the hours of operation are limited to the business hours of 9AM to 6 PM, and on Monday to Friday only. Still, we appreciate the option to connect directly as it is often the ideal method for communication with a more complicated issue. There is also a chat support option, which seems to have similar hours of operation, and some users prefer.
There is also plenty of self help content. This includes a user Help forum, a User Guide geared at novice users just getting started, and a series of articles that address a specific issue, for example “How can I change my F-Secure ID Protection Master Password?”
Also to note is that support is included on each plan without an additional cost.
F-Secure ID Protection offers identity protection that focuses on email addresses. Pluses include the affordable pricing, the multiple support options, the multiple supported platforms, and the included password monitor. Some minuses include the limited hours and days of support, the limited browser support for the password manager, the short free trial, and the limited period that the discounts apply to the pricing. Perhaps the biggest limitation is that this offering does not cover credit or financial data so users will need another plan for more comprehensive ID protection, but accepting that limitation, this is still a compelling offering.
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