The 6 Best Identity Theft Protection Services of 2020

Safeguard your identity from cybercriminals

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These days, protecting your identity can feel like an uphill battle. There were 14.4 million victims of identity fraud in 2018, according to a 2019 report from Javelin Strategy & Research. New account fraud, which includes mortgages, student loans, car loans, credit cards, and more, cost victims $3.4 billion in 2018, according to Javelin.

There are two types of identity theft protection services—prevention and recovery—which aim to combat fraudulent activity. Beyond these categories exist many other features and options to consider when deciding how best to protect your personal and financial information.

To help narrow down the choices, we looked at a dozen companies to see which ones fared best. Our roundup considers reputation, features, pricing, and more. These are the best identity theft protection services on the market.

The 6 Best Identity Theft Protection Services of 2020

Best Overall: Identity Guard

Identity Guard earned our best overall spot because of the company’s reputation and unique IBM Watson partnership. The company uses artificial intelligence technology for monitoring services. This allows for faster fraud alerts, which may allow you to minimize identity theft damage. 

Pros
  • Fast fraud alerts

  • IBM Watson artificial intelligence

  • Two plans offer monitoring for all three credit bureaus

Cons
  • More costly than competitors

  • Doesn’t offer 24/7 customer service

Identity Guard, owned by Aura, is an industry pioneer with over 47 million customers. The Burlington, Massachusetts-based company has been in business since 2005 and uses state-of-the-art technology to protect customers. Identity Guard is a Better Business Bureau-accredited company with an A+ rating.

Identity Guard offers three plans with pricing for individuals or families:

  • Value: Basic identity protection, $7.50 per person or $12.50 per family per month
  • Total: Standard identity and credit protection, $16.67 per person or $25.00 per family per month
  • Ultra: Premium identity and credit protection, $25.00 per person or $33.33 per family per month

Identity Guard protection includes a range of services, such as:

  • $1 million identity theft insurance
  • Monitoring for all three credit bureaus 
  • Annual credit reports from all three bureaus and monthly TransUnion credit score
  • Risk management and social media reporting
  • Notifications for data breaches
  • Dark web monitoring
  • Safe browsing tool
  • Bank, credit card, and high-risk transaction monitoring
  • 401(k) and investment account monitoring
  • Criminal and sex offender monitoring
  • USPS address change and home title monitoring

The Ultra plan provides extra value with premium credit protection. This includes a monthly TransUnion credit score and monitoring of all three credit bureaus.   

Identity Guard protects customers by combining traditional scanning with IBM Watson artificial intelligence. The company sends alerts via mobile app or email within three seconds of fraudulent activity, and Identity Guard’s U.S.-based support team is available by phone six days a week.

Best Guarantee: LifeLock

LifeLock’s 60-day guarantee stands out as the best among other identity theft protection services we reviewed. The company is more expensive than competitors, but the guarantee may offer a sense of trust to discerning customers. 

Pros
  • 24/7 customer service

  • Multiple plan options

  • 60-day money-back guarantee for annual plans

Cons
  • More costly than competitors

  • Price increase after the first year

  • Only one plan offers monitoring for all three credit bureaus

LifeLock is an industry leader with nearly 50 million customers, according to the company's website. Founded in 2005, the Tempe, Arizona-based company offers a full suite of identity theft services. 

LifeLock's reputation is far from perfect, though. The company isn’t Better Business Bureau accredited and currently has an F rating. In 2015, the company had to pay the Federal Trade Commission $100 million for failing to follow a 2010 court order. LifeLock violated the order to stop deceptive advertising and secure consumers' personal information but has since adjusted its practices to comply.

LifeLock offers four plans with a range of identity theft protection features:

  • LifeLock Standard: $9.99 per month ($11.99 after first year) 
  • Norton 360 with LifeLock: $9.99 per month ($14.99 after first year) 
  • Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage: $19.99 per month ($24.99 after first year) 
  • Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus: $29.99 per month ($34.99 after first year) 

These plans have a range of features including:

  • $1 million identity theft insurance
  • Identity and Social Security number alerts
  • Credit monitoring for one to three bureaus
  • Security for five to unlimited devices
  • VPN for five to unlimited devices
  • Bank and credit card alerts
  • Alerts for crimes in your name
  • Annual credit reports from all three bureaus plus credit scores
  • Alerts for 401(k) and investment activity

The Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus offers several standout features. These include security for unlimited devices, VPN for unlimited devices, higher limits for identify theft protection insurance, and priority member support.

LifeLock uses Norton antivirus software to block cyber threats. The company also monitors identity threats and sends alerts by phone, text, email, or mobile app. LifeLock has a U.S.-based team that works to fix identity theft issues and may reimburse you $25,000 to $1 million for stolen funds. The company offers 24/7 member support online, via phone, chat, or LifeLock’s mobile app, all with a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Best for Child Protection Features: ID Watchdog

In 2017, over one million children were victims of identity theft. ID Watchdog works to combat this by offering more features to protect minors than any other provider, making them our top pick in this review for child protection.

Pros
  • 24/7 customer service

  • Child protection features

Cons
  • Fewer regular features than competitors

  • Only one plan offers monitoring for all three credit bureaus

Owned by Equifax, ID Watchdog is a well-established company for identity theft protection services. The Denver, Colorado-based company has been around since 2005 and has earned recognition through Javelin Strategy & Research’s annual Identity Protection Service Provider Scorecard. ID Watchdog has an A+ rating through its Better Business Bureau accreditation.

ID Watchdog offers two plans with pricing for individuals or families:

  • ID Watchdog Plus: $14.95 per person or $25.95 per family per month
  • ID Watchdog Platinum: $19.95 per person or $34.95 per family per month

Both plans give you these features:

  • $1 million identity theft insurance
  • Social network monitoring
  • Dark web monitoring
  • High-risk transactions monitoring
  • Subprime loan monitoring
  • Identity profile report
  • Reporting for registered sex offenders
  • Public records and USPS change of address monitoring

The Platinum plan offers a few premium features. These include credit monitoring for three bureaus, Equifax VantageScore tracking, financial accounts monitoring, and $500,000 stolen fund reimbursement for retirement and health savings accounts. 

ID Watchdog sends alerts through the company’s mobile app. You can reach the company’s customer service 24/7 through the app or by phone. ID Watchdog offers special features for families, including child credit lock, social media alerts to identify cyberbullying, registered sex offender reporting, and more. 

Best for Mobile Attack Protection: IdentityForce

IdentityForce announced Mobile Attack Control in late 2019, which included a fresh interface for the company’s mobile app. These features help make IdentityForce your best choice as more consumers become vulnerable to mobile cyber attacks.  

Pros
  • Competitive pricing

  • Mobile attack protection

  • Free 30-day trial

Cons
  • Limited plan options

  • Less transparency on family plans

IdentityForce, a company owned by Sontiq, has been in business since 1978. The Framingham, Massachusetts-based company has received multiple awards, including recognition in Javelin Strategy & Research’s 2019 Identity Protection Service Provider Awards. IdentityForce has earned Better Business Bureau accreditation and the company has an A+ rating.

IdentityForce offers two identity theft protection plans:

  • UltraSecure: $12.99 per month or $129.90 per year (free 30-day trial)
  • UltraSecure+Credit: $19.99 per month or $199.90 per year
  • The company offers family plans, but you must call IdentityForce for pricing.

Both plans offer the following features:

  • $1 million identity theft insurance
  • Advanced fraud monitoring
  • Social media monitoring
  • Dark web monitoring
  • Online computer protection tools
  • Bank and credit card monitoring
  • Investment account alerts
  • Court records and sex offender monitoring
  • Change of address monitoring
  • Mobile attack control
  • Fully managed restoration
  • Junk mail opt-out

The UltraSecure+Credit plan is a great premium option with extensive credit monitoring features. These include monitoring and scores for all three credit bureaus, a credit score tracker, and a credit simulator.

IdentityForce protects customers by sending alerts via text, mobile app alerts, or email. The company offers access by phone to Certified Protection Experts who can restore your identity for you 24/7.

One feature that stands out is IdentityForce’s Mobile Attack Control. This feature offers alerts for a variety of mobile threats including rogue apps, spyware, unsecured WiFi, or fake networks. Javelin Strategy & Research praised this feature, bestowing the company’s 2019 Best-in-Class Award. 

Best for Pricing: Complete ID

If you’re already a Costco customer, Complete ID offers an unbeatable price. Complete ID's protection plans, which include monitoring for all three credit bureaus and a dedicated representative, are the best price option on our list. 

Pros
  • Competitive pricing

  • Monitoring for all three credit bureaus

  • 24/7 customer service

Cons
  • Must be a Costco member

  • Fewer features than some competitors

Complete ID, a company owned by Experian, is one of the country’s biggest identity theft protection providers. The company works with millions of Americans but is not Better Business Bureau accredited. It does, however, have an A+ rating with the BBB.

Complete ID offers two plan options for Costco members:

  • Executive members: $8.99 per month
  • Business and Gold Star members: $13.99 per month

You can add protection for up to five children for $2.99 to $3.99 per month. You must be a Costco member to sign up for Complete ID.

These plans include the following features and benefits:

  • $1 million identity theft insurance
  • Monitoring for all three credit bureaus
  • Credit alerts
  • Dark web surveillance
  • Financial account takeover protection
  • Non-credit identity monitoring
  • Social Security number monitoring
  • Payday loan monitoring
  • Monitoring for criminal records
  • Designated credit restoration specialist

Complete ID offers eight types of alerts through the company’s mobile app. The company’s U.S.-based support team is available 24/7, and you will work with a dedicated restoration specialist. 

Best for Improving Your Credit Score: myFICO

Because FICO is the country’s leading scoring model, it’s critical to stay on top of your FICO scores. myFICO offers credit simulator tools to see what may be hurting your FICO scores—and how to make improvements. Such focus and expertise make myFICO best in our review for improving your credit score.

Pros
  • Extensive credit reporting

  • 24/7 customer support

  • Transparent summary of benefits

Cons
  • More costly than competitors

  • Fewer features compared to competitors

myFICO, the consumer division of FICO, offers a service that focuses on credit reporting. Most lenders, including 75% of mortgage loan originators, use different versions of your FICO scores to make decisions; myFICO offers access to all 28 versions. If you’re planning to make a big purchase, like a new car or a home, myFICO allows you to monitor the exact score you need. myFICO has accreditation through the Better Business Bureau and the company has earned an A+ rating. 

myFICO offers three plan options: 

  • Basic: $19.95 per month
  • Advanced: $29.95 per month
  • Premier: $39.95 per month

These plans include a range of services such as:

  • $1 million identity theft insurance
  • One- or three-bureau coverage
  • Updates every month or every three months
  • FICO scores
  • Scores for mortgages, car loans, and more
  • Credit reports
  • Credit score and monitoring
  • Identity monitoring and restoration

The Premier plan offers coverage for all three credit bureaus and monthly updates. Access to monthly reports from all three credit bureaus (rather than only one) offers a complete, ongoing picture of your credit profile. This makes it easier to keep an eye on all activity, including fraud or other errors on your reports. 

The company’s products and education tools help you focus on improving your FICO score over time. myFICO offers alerts by phone, mobile app, or email. If an issue comes up, the company’s support team is available 24/7 to help restore your identity.

What Is Identity Theft Protection?

Companies offer two types of identity theft protection services—monitoring and recovery. Monitoring services watch for identity thieves and fraudulent activity. No company can guarantee identity theft won't happen, though. If someone steals your identity, recovery services help you deal with the impact it has on your life. Most companies also offer identity theft insurance. This coverage may help pay for the costs of reclaiming your identity. 

Are Identity Theft Protection Services Worth It?

Identity theft protection services may be worthwhile if you have limited time. But many companies offer features you can access for free—like annual credit reports or the ability to freeze your credit. You may even recover your identity on your own with free resources from IdentityTheft.gov. If it feels like too much to tackle on your own, one of these services could be worth it.

Do Credit Cards Offer Identity Theft Protection?

Some banks offer cardholders free or paid access to identity theft protection services. For example, Mastercard has a free program that includes guidance on how to prevent and resolve identity theft. Some of the company's premium cards—which require an annual fee—offer more comprehensive, hands-off resolution services. The premium service is similar to what you may see from other paid identity theft protection services.

What Do Identity Theft Protection Services Cost?

Based on our research, the pricing for identity theft protection services can be anywhere from $8.99 to $39.95 per month, depending on the plan. Complete ID also requires a Costco membership, which costs from $60 to $120 per year. These plans offer a range of identity theft protection services, including insurance, monitoring, resolution, and more. Basic plans typically include $1 million of identity theft insurance and monitoring of at least one credit bureau.  

How We Chose the Identity Theft Protection Services

There are different reasons to use an identity theft protection service—and it can be difficult to pick the best option. To create our list, we looked at each company’s reputation and history in the identity theft protection services business. We considered each company’s plan options, special features, and how the monitoring alerts work. We also reviewed each provider’s claims process and customer service availability.  

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
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  2. Better Business Bureau. "LifeLock." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  3. Federal Trade Commission. "LifeLock to Pay $100 Million to Consumers to Settle FTC Charges it Violated 2010 Order." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  4. Equifax. "Equifax Acquires ID Watchdog, a Leading Identity Protection and Resolution Services Company." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  5. BusinessWire. "Javelin Strategy & Research Announces 2019 Identity Protection Service Provider Scorecard Award Winners." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  6. Better Business Bureau. "ID Watchdog." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  7. Better Business Bureau. "IdentityForce." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  8. Better Business Bureau. "Experian." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  9. Better Business Bureau. "myFICO." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  10. Federal Trade Commission. "Identity Theft Protection Services." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  11. MasterCard. "Mastercard Guide to Benefits." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  12. MasterCard. "Identity Theft Protection." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  13. Costco. "Join Costco." Accessed June 2, 2020.