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Whether it involves a stolen financial account or Social Security number, identity theft can hurt your credit, cost you money and even hurt your employment opportunities. There’s much you can do both to minimize the risk of your ID being stolen and the impact on you after the theft takes place.
But a host of services (including Money’s picks for best identity theft services) promise to do that work for you, and sometimes add extra services to increase the allure of signing on for a subscription, typically for $10 and up a month.
McAfee Identity Theft Protection rolls together ID protections with the company’s well-known antivirus protection and a VPN service. Read on in this review to learn more about the plan's pros, cons, pricing, accessibility and customer satisfaction.
Best Identity Theft Protection With Antivirus Software
McAfee is famous for its antivirus protection software that scans customers’ devices and helps remove viruses and malware. Over the last few decades, an estimated 108 million people worldwide have used the company’s security products.
The company now includes its antivirus product in all of its identity theft protection plans so you won’t need to pay the few dollars a month that its standalone virus program costs. (That said, the improvements in built-in virus protection on today’s computers has made such services a more dubious investment than they once were.) McAfee’s virus protection can be installed on multiple devices, including Apple, Chromebook and Windows computers and Android and Apple mobile devices.
McAfee Identity Theft Protection Pros and Cons
- Includes up to $2 million in identity theft insurance
- Extra security features – a firewall, VPN and antivirus – are included
- Live 24/7 support
- No free trial period
- Base plan has limited credit and identity features
- Large price increases after first year
Up to $2 million in identity theft insurance
This coverage helps cover costs such as legal and accounting fees, lost wages and any travel expenses you incur while handling an identity theft incident. The $2 million maximum coverage is among the most generous on the market, but you must buy the pricey Ultimate plan in order to receive it. The Advanced plan offers $1 million in coverage, but many of our picks for the best identity theft protection offer that protection for fees that are the same or less. If you lose money from an electronic funds transfer you don't authorize, McAfee’s insurance also covers that.
Unusual additional security features
McAfee stands out for the add-ons it includes with its identify theft plans. In addition to the antivirus and malware protection, its plans include a firewall to help keep hackers out and a virtual private network (VPN) to browse the web more safely and anonymously – a service that typically costs $2 to $5 a month when bought alone. The plans also feature tools for securely deleting sensitive files, identifying potential privacy issues on websites and deleting tracking data.
Live 24/7 support
All of the McAfee identity theft plans feature 24/7 live support, which not all competitors offer. You can reach the company by phone at 1-866-622-3911 or live chat to troubleshoot technical problems, get help with identity theft incidents or learn how to use your plan’s features. The online chat feature also indicates your expected wait time.
No free trial period
Unlike some competitors like LifeLock. McAfee does not offer a free trial so you can test the identity theft protection service before you pay for it. However, if you don’t like the service, you can take advantage of the company’s 30-day money-back guarantee.
Base plan has limited credit and identity features
If you opt for McAfee’s base plan for identity theft protection, you miss out on identity theft insurance and professional help in restoring your identity. This leaves you needing to handle an incident on your own and to pay for any out-of-pocket costs. This plan also lacks tools for monitoring your financial accounts and credit.
Large price increase after first year
McAfee offers new customers a discount of between $80 and $110 for their first year on the plan. When your renewal comes up, you’ll ostensibly need to pay the full price. However, online forums include mentions of customers who were able to successfully negotiate a reduced (or no) price hike with McAfee upon renewing. But the need for such haggling is an inconvenience. Also, McAfee makes auto-renewal the default option when your plan expires every year.
McAfee Identity Theft Protection Plans
McAfee’s three plans provide identity theft protection for families and individuals. All include tools to monitor your identity online, browse the web securely, protect devices from viruses and see your current level of protection. However, the plans differ in features such as identity theft insurance, professional setup support and advanced identity and financial monitoring capabilities.
As the most budget-friendly option, the McAfee Premium plan includes a basic identity monitoring feature that scans the dark web for 60 types of personal data. It also checks for personal information that companies might sell and alerts you so that you can request deletion. The plan also includes an online account cleanup feature so you can remove information from common email services.
You also get several digital security tools with this base plan. These include the VPN, web protection tool, antivirus software, firewall, file shredder and online activity tracker remover. This plan also comes with a password manager so you can use more effective passwords.
This plan doesn’t provide any identity theft insurance coverage or professional identity restoration support in case you do have an identity theft incident. It also lacks features for monitoring bank and credit card accounts online. You also won’t have access to credit monitoring services or the ability to see your credit report or score.
McAfee Advanced has all the features of the Premium plan but boosts your protection. Rather than just scanning for your personal data on broker sites, it removes it for you. The plan also incorporates enhanced identity theft protection and credit monitoring features, as well as support for dealing with identity theft if it does occur.
McAfee Advanced includes monitoring your card and bank account transactions so you can detect if someone may be using an account without your permission. You can also check your credit report and score each month from one of the major credit bureaus and freeze your credit report if you notice suspicious activity. Additionally, McAfee will help you cancel and replace credit cards if you lose your wallet.
If you experience an incident, this plan comes with $1 million in identity theft insurance to help you cover the costs of recovery. An identity theft restoration expert will help you deal with stolen or lost cards and accounts and take steps to protect your credit. You can also get advice on how to protect yourself from identity theft moving forward.
McAfee’s Ultimate plan expands on the Advanced plan to provide you with the most comprehensive level of protection and support. You get $2 million in identity theft insurance coverage, additional monitoring tools, enhanced device protection and one-time professional setup assistance.
The plan monitors your Social Security number for suspicious changes, such as a new address, name or fresh criminal record. The account monitoring features extend to retirement, loan and investment accounts. Plus, the service checks for signs of an identity thief taking over your bank accounts or requesting payday loans in your name.
Unlike the other McAfee identity protection plans, the Ultimate option includes ransomware protection. You can recover a maximum of $25,000 if you lose money from malware that prevents access to your device. McAfee also scans your online accounts and includes an automatic personal data deletion option.
Additionally, the plan offers three-bureau credit monitoring, compared with the one or no bureaus monitored, respectively, of the Advanced and Premium plans. The feature includes daily credit reports and scores, and you can access a credit lock feature.
McAfee Identity Theft Protection Pricing
McAfee’s pricing depends on which plan level you choose and whether you want an individual plan or a family plan that covers four kids and two adults. Additionally, first-time subscriptions come at a much lower cost.
Here's a rundown of costs for McAfee identity theft protection:
|$49.99 for individuals
$69.99 for families
|$149.99 for individuals
$169.99 for families
|$89.99 for individuals
$119.99 for families
|$199.99 for individuals
$269.99 for families
|$199.99 for individuals
$249.99 for families
|$279.99 for individuals
$424.99 for families
McAfee Identity Theft Protection Financial Stability
Financial stability matters since you’ll want your identity theft protection provider to offer reliable service and pay out if you need to take advantage of identity theft insurance. McAfee has a long-standing reputation, with over 30 years in the digital protection industry and has won awards from organizations such as PC Mag and SE Labs. Lloyd’s of London, the underwriter of McAfee’s identity theft insurance, has an A+ rating from AM Best.
McAfee Identity Theft Protection Accessibility
In addition to including detailed pages on plan features, McAfee’s website has a blog, support database and other resources for learning about what identity theft is, how to check for identity theft and how to improve your online security. The company also hosts a community forum and provides around-the-clock support via online chat or phone.
U.S. customers can purchase the company’s identity theft protection plans, but residents of New York state can’t get identity theft coverage. International customers can currently access the basic identity monitoring service instead.
The 24/7 McAfee identity theft protection phone number is 1-866-622-3911. You'll find the 24/7 online chat option on McAfee's support portal. The company doesn’t list any McAfee identity theft protection email address for support.
You can use the company's website and mobile apps to complete the McAfee identity theft protection sign-up process and manage your account. Once you log in, you can see your personalized protection score, access the monitoring tools, run scans, view alerts and read tips on actions to take to protect yourself. McAfee clearly groups and labels the different options for a fairly user-friendly experience.
McAfee Identity Theft Protection Customer Satisfaction
McAfee's customer reviews vary across the web, and many relate to the company's security products rather than the identity theft protection coverage specifically. Some customers have complained about the auto-renewal feature and issues reaching customer support. Others left positive reviews about friendly customer service professionals and what they consider to be reliable protection.
While the Better Business Bureau doesn't currently accredit McAfee, the average customer review score for the company on the BBB site is 1.06/5 with 123 reviews. Many complaints focused on canceling plans and receiving refunds.
McAfee Identity Theft Protection FAQ
What is McAfee Identity Theft Protection?
Is McAfee Identity Theft Protection free?
How does McAfee Identity Theft Protection work?
How safe is McAfee Identity Theft Protection?
How We Evaluated McAfee Identity Theft Protection
To evaluate McAfee Identity Theft Protection, we looked at these factors:
- Plan features
- Identity theft insurance coverage
- Pricing details
- Terms and conditions
- Customer service offerings
- Financial stability
- Customer reviews
Summary of Money's McAfee Identity Theft Protection Review
McAfee’s identity theft protection plans appeal by combining the usual functions related to ID theft with extra security features, including its long-standing antivirus protection, a virtual private network (VPN) and a firewall. (That said, you very likely already enjoy those extra capabilities through your computer’s operating system.)
McAfee’s pricing is in the middle of the pack compared with our picks, and its structure is annoying. There is no free trial period, and while there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, some online comments complain of difficulty obtaining refunds. The company’s rates are heavily discounted in the initial year, making McAfee’s Premium (as in basic) plan among the less expensive options for new customers.
That price advantage is lost in the second and subsequent years. If you’re prepared for the hassle, you could likely negotiate (again based on some online comments from McAfee customers) with the company to continue service at a reduced rate. Or you could simply drop the service, perhaps because you no longer need identity theft protection that you began after suffering a theft and may no longer need as urgently.. Just be sure to cancel before the renewal date.