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By Ruben Ramos and Norma Rodríguez
Updated: July 16, 2021 12:17 PM ET | Originally published: June 1, 2021
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Best for Fast Alerts
Identity Guard

Check Price
Monthly Individual Plan Cost (Paid Annually)

$6.67-$19.99

Monthly Family Plan Cost (Paid Annually)

$10.00-$26.67

Monthly 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring

Yes, with Total and Ultra plans

Best Features
LifeLock

Check Price
Monthly Individual Plan Cost (Paid Annually)

$8.29-$24.99

Monthly Family Plan Cost (Paid Annually)

$14.99-$40.99

Monthly 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring

Yes, with Ultimate Plus plan

Best Value
ReliaShield

Check Price
Monthly Individual Plan Cost (Paid Annually)

$7.33-$20.16

Monthly Family Plan Cost (Paid Annually)

$13.74-$32.08

Monthly 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring

Yes, with ReliaShield Elite

Best for Credit Monitoring
IdentityIQ

Check Price
Monthly Individual Plan Cost (Paid Annually)

$6.99-$29.99

Monthly Family Plan Cost (Paid Annually)

Children under age 24 automatically covered with Secure Max plan

Monthly 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring

Yes, with Secure Max plan

Best for Comprehensive Protection
Identity Force

Check Price
Monthly Individual Plan Cost (Paid Annually)

$17.95-$23.95

Monthly Family Plan Cost (Paid Annually)

Call for business and family plans

Monthly 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring

Yes, with Ultra Secure + Credit

Monthly Individual Plan Cost (Paid Annually)

$6.67-$19.99

$8.29-$24.99

$7.33-$20.16

$6.99-$29.99

$17.95-$23.95

Monthly Family Plan Cost (Paid Annually)

$10.00-$26.67

$14.99-$40.99

$13.74-$32.08

Children under age 24 automatically covered with Secure Max plan

Call for business and family plans

Monthly 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring

Yes, with Total and Ultra plans

Yes, with Ultimate Plus plan

Yes, with ReliaShield Elite

Yes, with Secure Max plan

Yes, with Ultra Secure + Credit

Identity theft protection services can reduce the likelihood of theft or fraud, providing immediate assistance if your data is compromised. These services monitor your personal information and credit files to alert you of suspicious or fraudulent activity for a monthly or annual fee.

Read on to learn more about the best identity theft protection services of 2021.

Our Top Picks for the Best Identity Theft Protection

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Best Identity Theft Protection Reviews

Identity Guard Review – Best for Fast Alerts

Pros Cons
US-based case managers assist with id recovery No credit check available in the basic plan
Risk Management Score measures your identity fraud risk No information about plan prices
Android and iOS mobile app with an online identity dashboard

Identity Guard is notable for using artificial intelligence to deliver the shortest average response time for fraud alerts, especially credit report inquiries made with all the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Their partnership with IBM Watson cognitive computers also helps them predict which digital habits can make you a victim of identity theft.

Plans are available in three tiers: Value, Total, and Ultra. Pricing is lower if you choose a one-time annual payment over a monthly billed option.

Individual Plan Family Plan
Value $6.67 a year, $7.20/mo $10.00 a year, $11.99/mo
Total $13.33 a year, $15.99/mo $19.99 a year, $23.99/mo
Ultra $19.99 a year, $23.99/mo $26.67 a year, $31.99/mo
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ReliaShield Review- Best Value

Pros Cons
Data breach alerts Essential plan doesn’t include credit monitoring
Personal Information and dark web monitoring
24/7 customer service and recovery assistance
Free protection for all children under 18

ReliaShield’s Elite plan features a comprehensive list of services, including change of address, data breach updates, wallet protection, court records monitoring, social media monitoring, and bank and credit card account mobile app alerts.

The service also gets high marks on transparency for offering detailed information on its master agreement, privacy policy, and insurance policy, including its $1 Million Stolen Funds and Expense Reimbursement coverage.

ReliaShield offers plans in three tiers for individuals and families: Essential, Prime, and Elite.

Individual Plan Family Plan
Essential $7.99 per month, $87.99 billed annually $14.99 per month, $164.99 billed annually
Prime $14.99 per month, $164.99 billed annually $24.99 per month, $274.89 billed annually
Elite $21.99 per month, $241.89 billed annually $34.99 per month, $384.89 billed annually
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LifeLock Review- Best Features

Pros Cons
24/7 live customer service support ID Theft Insurance benefit amount depends on the plan
Stolen or lost wallet protection
Identity & Social Security number alerts
Coverage for lawyers for up to $1 million on all plans
60-day money-back guarantee with annual membership

LifeLock offers individual plans on four tiers of coverage: Standard, Select, Advantage, and Ultimate Plus. All plans include Social Security Number monitoring, credit alerts, USPS address change verification, dark web monitoring, one-bureau credit monitoring, and data breach notifications.

Payment is monthly and requires an annual subscription. Discounts are available during the first year of service and when paid annually. All plans, except Standard, include Norton 360.

The Ultimate plan includes three-bureau credit monitoring services, and it also monitors a wide variety of data, including investment account numbers and payday lenders. With the plan, subscribers get 500 GB of PC Cloud Backup, unlimited secure VPNs for use on all your devices, and a 100% Virus Protection Promise.

Paid Monthly Paid Annually (save 15%)
Standard $9.99/mo 1st yr, (Renews at $11.99/mo $8.29/mo 1st year, 99.48 today, renews at $124.99/yr)
Select $9.99/mo 1st yr, Renews at $14.99/mo) $8.29/mo 1st year, 99.48 today, renews at $124.99/yr)
Advantage $19.99/mo 1st yr, (Renews at $24.99/mo) $15.99/mo 1st year, (191.88 today, renews at $249.99/yr)
Ultimate Plus $29.99/mo 1st yr, (Renews at $34.99/mo) $24.99/mo 1st year, ($299.88 today, renews at $349.99/yr)
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IDShield Review- Best for Restoration

Pros Cons
Access to in-house licensed private investigators 1 Bureau plan only covers credit monitoring from CreditUnion
Unlimited consulting and restoration services
Scan your social media for unwanted images and posts
24/7 access to emergency customer support
Monthly credit score tracker and support for credit report disputes

What differentiates IDShield from other identity theft protection companies are their full-time licensed private investigators that work on behalf of members to scrutinize and resolve possible fraud. To this end, affected parties execute a limited power of attorney to allow them to do so.

IDShield offers 24/7 credit monitoring, dark web surveillance, credit reporting disputes, financial account monitoring, personal information monitoring, and court records monitoring. The company also monitors social media accounts like Facebook and LinkedIn and alerts you of data breaches and sex offenders.

Regarding cost, you can choose between 1 Bureau or 3 Bureau monitoring. All plans include a 30-day free trial.

Individual Plan Family Plan
1 Bureau $13.95 monthly $26.95 monthly
3 Bureau $17.95 monthly $32.95 monthly

IdentityIQ- Best for Credit Monitoring Services

Pros Cons
Credit history monitoring and scores from the three bureaus Secure plan doesn’t include a credit score tracker
Application monitoring including utilities, cell phones, and credit applications Family members only included in the Secure Max plan
US-Based ID restoration service
Lost wallet assistance

IdentityIQ offers four different plans: Secure, Secure Plus, Secure Pro, and Secure Max. All of these plans provide credit protection through credit monitoring and tracking services. The Secure Plan, their most affordable option at less than $10 a month, even offers daily credit monitoring and alerts from one of the credit bureau agencies. With Secure Max, you can obtain monthly credit reports and scores from the three bureaus.

Their plans include dark web monitoring, coverage for lawyers and experts, social security number alerts, checking account reports, and up to 1 million in stolen funds reimbursement.

Individual Plan
Secure $6.99 monthly
Secure Plus $9.99 monthly
Secure Pro $19.99 monthly
Secure Max $29.99monthly

IdentityForce – Best for Comprehensive Protection

Pros Cons
Exclusive Breach Guarantee Program for businesses No cancellation refunds
Basic plan offers social media identity monitoring Only two plans
Provides benefits for employees such as child watch
Flexible enrollment options

IdentityForce has some features that help it stand out. First, its most basic plan includes social media monitoring and a junk mail opt-out, while its Ultra Secure + Credit plan also offers a helpful credit score simulator.

IdentityForce offers individual identity theft protection through Ultra Secure and Ultra Secure+Credit plans. Ultra Secure includes dark web monitoring and data analysis, bank and credit card activity alerts, $1 million identity theft insurance coverage, and advanced fraud monitoring, among other features. The Ultra Secure+Credit includes everything in the Ultra Secure plan plus three-bureau credit monitoring, reports, scores, and credit tracking and simulator.

The company also has identity theft protection for businesses and government agencies: data breach protection, credit monitoring, credit report solutions, risk analysis, and protection solutions. If you’re interested in IdentityForce for your business, you can obtain a quote and a free trial through their website.

Individual Plan Family Plan
Ultra Secure $9.99/mo & $99.90/yr $24.90/mo & $249.00/yr
Ultra Secure + Credit $19.99/mo & $199.90/yr $35.90/mo & $359.00/yr

All IdentityForce annual plans come with 2 months free.

Other Companies We Considered

PrivacyGuard Total Protection

  • Monthly triple-bureau credit report & scores
  • 24/7 triple-bureau daily credit monitoring
  • Public & dark web scanning
  • $1 million in compensation if your identity is stolen

ID Watchdog

  • Child Credit Lock to protect your minor against credit fraud
  • Social network alerts
  • Credit report monitoring
  • High-risk transactions monitoring
  • Public records monitoring

Experian Identityworks

  • 30-days free trial
  • Requires a credit card for a free trial
  • Dark web monitoring
  • Three bureau credit monitoring

Identity Theft Protection Guide

Identity theft protection services track, alert, and ultimately assist you in the process of recovering your stolen identity. They can monitor and alert you of suspicious activity; however, they cannot prevent it.

Types of identity theft scams

Phishing

Scammers use email or text messages to trick you into providing them with your personal information. Phishing emails and texts may look like they are from a company you know or trust, like a bank or credit card company. Scammers often tell a story to trick you, use coercive language to convey urgency, or want you to click on a link or open an attachment.

Authentic communications from financial and governmental authorities will never ask you to provide a full social security number or credit card and bank account information.

Formjacking

In formjacking, identity thieves insert malicious programming over legitimate website forms so they can obtain your data from the site’s billing section.

When making payments online, always confirm that the website you’re trusting with your credit card information is secure. Addresses of safe sites will begin with ‘https:’ and include an image of a lock or say “secure,” depending on your browser.

Physical document theft

Even though identity theft has spread exponentially in the digital age, physical document theft by any measure is still very common. Don’t leave your Social Security card unattended, try not to carry all of your credit cards with you at once, and be mindful of your discarded mail.

When you’re done with any documents containing identifying information, including correspondence, statements, and utility bills, make sure to dispose of these by shredding them.

Data Breaches

Data breaches occur when cyber attackers access your passwords, computer, social media accounts, and credit information. With this information, data thieves can incur delinquent practices such as medical id theft, and synthetic id theft.

Remember to use strong passwords on your accounts, keep your software up to date, and avoid opening links and downloading programs from unverified sources.

Other kinds of identity theft

  • Synthetic identity theft: cybercriminals steal different identities and mix them up to create a new one. They can use your social security number but with a different name and address. The FTC ID Analytics study shows that currently, this is the most common form of identity theft in the US
  • Child identity theft: a modality on the rise, child identity theft occurs when a child’s social security name is stolen to open accounts or even file taxes. Most of the time, it goes unnoticed until years later when the affected individual tries to have a job, open a credit card, or buy car insurance
  • Medical identity theft: it happens when an identity is stolen to obtain access to health insurance. Not only financially risky, but this practice can also put your health at risk. Your health conditions can be mixed up with the cybercriminals’, leading to a misdiagnosis or inadequate treatment
  • Tax identity theft: when cyber attackers have access to your social security number and use it to file a tax return and collect the refund before you do. Most people become aware of this type of id theft when the IRS rejects their tax returns

Types of identity theft protection services

Credit monitoring services

  • Tracks activity on your credit reports at one, two, or all three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. It alerts you when new accounts or credit cards have been opened in your name, if your personal information or credit limits change, and more

Services that continuously monitor your information will give you a better chance to stop a breach on time. If your credit score is affected, credit repair companies can help you restore it.

Identity monitoring services

Identity monitoring

  • Alerts you when your personal information is used in ways that don’t show up on your credit report. For example, when your information shows up in payday loan applications, court orders, social media, change of address requests

Identity recovery services help you:

  • Restore and secure your finances after identity theft occurs. Most companies use trained case managers to walk you through the process, and they may help you write letters to creditors and debt collectors to remove incorrect items from your credit report

Identity recovery services

If you are actively paying for an internet protection service and suffer id theft, the company will provide professional assistance in recovering your id and securing your accounts. Most companies nowadays offer some type of fraud insurance with an extent of coverage from $20,000 to $1 million, depending on which plan you choose.

The identity theft services in our list offer insurance to cover out-of-pocket expenses such as legal fees or lost wages related to recovering your identity. Bear in mind that identity theft insurance won’t reimburse you for any stolen money or financial loss.

Steps you can take to protect your identity

Credit issues aren’t the only perils of id theft. Fraudsters can change addresses, take out loans, or even commit crimes under your name. Here are some recommendations to protect yourself from identity theft:

  • Secure your Social Security Number. Don’t carry it around in your wallet.
  • Don’t share your personal information (bank account details, driver’s license, birth date, SSN)
  • Pay attention to your billing cycles
  • Collect mail every day. You can place a hold on your mail when you are away from home
  • Review your credit card and bank account statements for unauthorized transactions
  • Protect your information and public records from data breaches
  • Shed receipts, account statements, expired credit and debit cards.
  • Store personal information in a safe place
  • Install antivirus software on your home computer
  • Create complex passwords or use factor authentication with an encrypted password manager to save and share your passwords
  • Review your credit reports once a year. You can get a free credit report from Annualcreditreport.com
  • Freeze your credit files with Equifax, Experian, Innovis, TransUnion, and the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange for free. Credit freeze prevents someone from applying for and getting approval for a credit card account in your name
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Best Identity Theft Protection FAQ

How to report identity theft?

Report ID theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at IdentityTheft.gov or at the phone number 1-877-438-4338. If you got a phishing email, you can forward it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@apwg.org. If you got a phishing text message, forward it to SPAM (7726). Remember to report the phishing attack to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

What is identity theft protection?

Identity theft protection services work to contribute to your peace of mind by monitoring your personal and financial information. They alert you as soon as possible of any suspicious activity, assist in resolving any issues arising from the situation, and will even cover the financial losses resulting from account takeovers.

How to prevent identity theft?

There is no fail-safe way to prevent identity theft. Monitoring services alert you after something has gone wrong. However, there are things you can do to make it harder for thieves to steal your identity. For example, you can freeze your credit, safeguard your Social Security number, use strong passwords, and check your credit report regularly.

What is the best identity theft protection service?

No two id theft protection services are the same. Strategies, scanning methods, as well as features, vary across the board. It all depends on the type of monitoring and protection that is right for you.

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Getting identity protection is easy. Most companies offer various plans for families and individuals with feature and credit bureau scanning options for either one-bureau monitoring or three-bureau monitoring.

How much does identity theft protection cost?

Most identity theft protection plans start around $7 to $10 a month for individuals and $15 for families. Cost mostly depends on the features you prefer and whether you opt for one-bureau credit monitoring or three-bureau monitoring.

Is it worth getting identity theft protection?

If you regularly shop, work, or use internet-based services, you really ought to consider getting id theft protection. Just in 2020, the FTC received nearly 1.4 million reports of identity theft, twice as many as in 2019, with the median loss standing at $311. Services not only monitor but will also assist in the process of recovering your id and insure you against losses arising from id theft-related fraud.

How We Chose the Best Identity Theft Protection

When looking for the best identity theft protection plan, look for:

  • Thorough identity theft monitoring: We gave preference to services offering daily credit checks, known breaches and malware, 24/7 dark web surveillance, and bank and credit account monitoring
  • Security Features: The best identity theft protection services are those that include a cover basic, surveillance of the dark web and personal information, as well as three-bureau credit score monitoring
  • Identity Restoration: Victims of identity theft end up with financial scars that can take a long time to recover. If a breach is not dealt with promptly, you might not know the extent of the damage until it’s too late

Summary of Money’s 6 Best Identity Theft Protection of 2021