Id theft is not any joke: It is a severe risk with the potential to destroy your whole life should you aren’t cautious. And based on the Id Theft Analysis Heart, these cybercrimes are on the rise, with knowledge compromises rising by 68% in 2021 alone. That is why you could defend your self with probably the greatest id theft safety providers obtainable. 

Falling sufferer to considered one of these crooks might end in your credit score being instantly attacked. They may even commit different crimes and trigger further issues along with your stolen id. Your Social Safety quantity, checking account and extra are in danger, which is why you could be proactive in defending your self.

One of the best ways to safeguard your private info is to utilize the perfect id theft safety providers to fit your wants. These providers usually provide ID safety, credit score monitoring and extra to maintain your delicate knowledge away from prying eyes. Our high picks for the perfect id theft safety and monitoring providers can assist safeguard your id and proactively monitor suspicious exercise and help with restoration should you grow to be a sufferer of an information breach.  

ID theft safety is simply going to grow to be extra important. In 2019 alone, there have been greater than 13 million US id fraud circumstances, with victims dropping almost $17 billion, together with untold injury to credit score stories. The 2017 Equifax breach was the icing on a nasty cake — one which acquired even worse within the following years. One of many largest 2020 knowledge breaches was the Marriott hack, which affected over 5 million clients. That adopted an earlier breach of Marriott’s Starwood reservation system, by which the private info of greater than 380 million friends was compromised, together with greater than 5 million passport numbers

If somebody has your Social Safety quantity and private data, they’ll start making use of for loans and a bank card in your identify.

James Martin/CNET

On this listing, we’ll take a look at a number of the finest choices for serving to you handle and defend your id at varied worth ranges. We’ll additionally clarify the distinction between an id theft safety firm and a credit score monitoring service. Earlier than we get began, remember the fact that you do not have to spend $10 to $30 a month for the perfect id theft safety service. The US authorities affords, an id restoration service that may assist a sufferer report and get well from id theft.

Learn extra: Methods to Stop Id Theft

We’ll soar straight to the highest decisions for the perfect id theft safety service choices for ID monitoring, credit score monitoring and extra. Preserve studying to assessment further necessary info and information about ID theft and ID safety. This record is up to date often.

LifeLock has come a great distance for the reason that days when it was topic to a number of Federal Commerce Fee investigations (settled in 2015) and varied lawsuits from clients and credit score reporting companies. Which may give one pause earlier than declaring it the perfect id theft safety even when it does have nice options. Nonetheless, In 2017, it turned a subsidiary of Symantec, bought for $2.3 billion.

It’s possible you’ll recall the advertisements the place LifeLock’s founder posted his Social Safety quantity all over the place, as a press release in his confidence about LifeLock’s safety providers. Whereas he did expertise quite a few situations of id theft based mostly on these Social Safety quantity postings, LifeLock’s theft safety providers helped him get well.

The corporate affords a variety of id monitoring and safety choices, together with stolen pockets safety, ID verification monitoring, residence title monitoring and checking and financial savings account software alerts. 

LifeLock’s ID theft safety providers vary from round $9 a month to $20 a month the primary 12 months. Phrases apply. Reimbursement of $25,000 to $1 million is on the market, relying on the monitoring plan. The lower-price safety providers monitor credit score solely from one credit score bureau. The $20-a-month id theft safety plan screens all three main credit score bureaus. You’ll be able to pull credit score stories annually, however the service will give you a credit score rating month-to-month, based mostly on Experian knowledge.

SSN and credit score alerts, darkish net monitoring, alerts on suspicious exercise like crimes dedicated beneath your identify and bank card exercise and fraud alert providers are all marks in LifeLock’s favor, regardless of its previous stumbles. 

LifeLock Phrases of Service

Base worth: $107.88 or $8.90 a month for the primary 12 months.


IdentityForce affords two tiers of service: UltraSecure and UltraSecure Plus Credit score, the latter of which incorporates credit score stories and scores. We appreciated how the credit score rating monitoring not solely watches all three reporting companies however offers a visible tracker that permits you to study your credit standing over time.

IdentityForce id theft safety monitoring contains quite a bit past credit score info. It checks for public info file adjustments, handle adjustments, courtroom and arrest information and payday mortgage purposes, and checks for id info on a wide range of illicit identity-sharing web sites to behave as a guard canine from id thieves. The corporate additionally screens intercourse offender registries to see in case your identify is related to such issues. We additionally like that it tracks SSNs for brand spanking new usages or associations with new names.

Its cell app has been up to date with a characteristic referred to as Cell Assault Management. This screens your smartphone for spyware and adware and insecure Wi-Fi places, in addition to “spoof” networks (networks that act as in the event that they’re respectable connections however they don’t seem to be). Moreover, the cellphone app will current alerts if there are safety points monitored by IdentityForce that want rapid consideration.

The corporate didn’t disclose frequency of service monitoring (past credit score reporting companies). That mentioned, we appreciated how the corporate has an attention-grabbing credit score rating simulator which can assist you perceive how totally different balances, funds and stability transfers may have an effect in your credit score rating. IdentityForce affords a 14-day free trial model, so you may see if it affords the perfect id theft safety on your wants. 

Proper now, the UltraSecure program is $150 per 12 months (or $15 for a month-to-month plan), and the UltraSecure Plus Credit score for people is $200 per 12 months (or $20 per 30 days).

IdentityForce Phrases of Service

Base worth: $149.90 a 12 months or $14.99 a month.


Graphic by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET

The massive pitch for Id Guard is that it is powered by IBM’s Watson. Earlier variations of Watson have achieved every little thing from profitable at Jeopardy to serving to docs diagnose most cancers. The model of Watson powering Id Guard is, as you’d anticipate, centered on id theft.

Id Guard’s use of Watson includes constructing a corpus of data and persevering with to feed it info from many various sources, together with social networks. There isn’t any doubt the Watson-enabled service can assist advise you on id administration. Its service screens the shopper’s private info for ID theft, together with your credit score recordsdata, DOB and SSN.

Id Guard affords a clear abstract of its insurance coverage phrases, which could be very useful for figuring out whether or not it is the perfect id theft safety for you. The corporate affords a fundamental plan at round $6 a month, but it surely does not present credit score monitoring. If you would like month-to-month credit score report updates, that jumps to $13 a month and contains credit score monitoring from three credit score bureaus and a month-to-month credit score rating. Its most complete plan is the Id Guard Extremely plan, which prices $20 a month and contains annual credit score stories.

Id Guard Phrases of Service

Full ID is a service supplied by Experian, one of many large three credit score reporting companies, and is solely obtainable to Costco members. Costco Govt members pay $9 a month plus an non-compulsory $3 a month for baby safety, and Gold Star Costco members pay $14 a month and an non-compulsory $4 a month for baby safety. 

Full ID offers an annual credit score report from the three companies. It additionally affords month-to-month credit score scores and offers a pleasant graph over time so you may see how your rating has improved. These perks might assist make it the perfect id theft safety should you’re in search of a number of providers in a single.

The id monitoring service affords monitoring for unauthorized use of your Social Safety quantity and different noncredit id monitoring to assist forestall you from being the sufferer of stolen id. A priceless characteristic is its neighborhood watch, up to date month-to-month, which offers particulars on sexual predators and crimes in your space.

As with all the providers we’re spotlighting, Full ID affords $1 million in restricted id theft insurance coverage. And in contrast to a number of the opponents listed right here, it has a clear abstract of advantages. Base worth (for Costco Govt members): $108 a 12 months.

Full ID Phrases of Service

Base worth (for Costco Govt members): $108 a 12 months.


Angela Lang/CNET

ID Watchdog describes its service as “True Id Safety.” The corporate’s large differentiator helps you get well after you’ve got been the sufferer of an id theft expertise. It affords a assure of “100% id theft decision,” however the advantageous print introduces some notable limits.

First, the corporate will solely enable you if it detects a brand new incident of fraud whilst you’re an lively buyer. It does not assure you will get again any cash you misplaced, however it’s going to present entry to its group of Licensed Id Theft Danger Administration Specialists.

Like all the opposite industrial id monitoring providers we have profiled on this listing, ID Watchdog affords a $1 million id theft insurance coverage coverage. However that coverage’s precise phrases, limits and advantages aren’t spelled out till you full the signup course of.

The bottom program does not present a credit score report or credit score rating info, however should you join the premium $220-per-year service, you will get a replica of your credit score report and your credit score rating. The catch? You get that report annually. You’ll be able to already do this your self, without cost, by going to Nonetheless, should you need not test your credit score usually, this may make sense as the perfect id theft safety for you.

Whereas the corporate says that it offers monitoring providers, it doesn’t specify, anyplace in its phrases and circumstances, how usually it performs checks for every kind of service it screens.

ID Watchdog Phrases of Service

Base worth: $150 a 12 months or $15 a month.


One in all Id Fraud’s standout options is worth. It has the second-lowest entry-level worth of any of the providers we explored. The corporate additionally affords a enterprise cybercrime safety service referred to as BizLock. These two information alone make it the perfect id theft safety for some.

Id Fraud’s private service is $100 a 12 months, with a bump to $160 a 12 months for credit score reporting and monitoring. Like all our different id theft prevention contenders, Id Fraud affords $1 million in fraud insurance coverage (apart from these in New York state, the place the restrict is $25,000 in protection), with a $0 deductible. And we like that Id Fraud’s insurance coverage advantages are clear and straightforward to seek out.

The corporate does present a credit score rating, but it surely’s restricted to knowledge from TransUnion, one of many three credit-reporting companies. The corporate will ship you a month-to-month “no information is nice information” e-mail in case your id has had a quiet month. It additionally affords misplaced pockets providers, together with id decision and prevention help.

Id Fraud Phrases of Service

Base worth: $100 a 12 months or $10 a month.


Getty Photos

PrivacyGuard affords a 14-day trial program, however as an alternative of it being free, it’s a must to pay a buck. So whilst you can nonetheless see should you like this system, the corporate loses all of the friction-reducing advantages of trial-to-live conversions by requiring customers to leap by way of that greenback hoop in the beginning of the connection. Go determine.

Past the marginally shoot-themselves-in-the-foot trial program, PrivacyGuard offers most of the standard credit score and id safety providers supplied by its opponents. It affords each day credit score monitoring, a key worth in defending an individual’s id in opposition to id thieves, and a frequency degree sorely missing amongst most of the firm’s opponents.

PrivacyGuard’s base $10-per-month program does file scans. A $20-a-month program does credit score scans. A $25-per-month program does each. Like most different distributors, Privateness Guard affords a $1 million coverage. Previous to signing up, the corporate offers some details about the coverage’s advantages and limitations, however not sufficient for it to be helpful for making a buying choice.

PrivacyGuard updates credit score scores month-to-month and screens public information and Social Safety numbers. It additionally affords a yearly public information report, which offers all the public information info that it is present in one clear doc.

PrivacyGuard affords a trial model.

PrivacyGuard Phrases of Service

Base worth: $120 a 12 months.


McAfee’s id theft safety service is the least costly we have seen for a 12 months of protection. You will get a full 12 months of fundamental protection for $50 as introductory pricing for brand spanking new clients, and it contains antivirus safety. That is considerably inexpensive than the opposite gamers we have mentioned right here.

It affords a slick “cyber monitoring” service that consistently scans for credit score exercise and alerts you if one thing uncommon occurs. The corporate does monitor your Experian credit score file however does not connect with both TransUnion or Equifax.

Like most different distributors, it affords to reimburse as much as $1 million for id restoration (until you are in New York state), and its restoration service may even return as much as $10,000 in stolen funds. As an additional advantage, should you lose your pockets, the corporate will do its finest to reissue “a wide range of contents from IDs and bank cards to live performance tickets.”

McAfee might be finest often known as an antivirus firm based by its very eccentric eponymous founder, John McAfee. In 2011, Intel purchased the corporate and renamed it Intel Safety Group however by 2017, McAfee (now often known as McAfee LLC) was again out by itself, having been spun out to TPG Capital (though Intel nonetheless owns a minority stake).

We’re telling you all this as a result of the corporate’s DNA could be very clearly antivirus. A presales name to the corporate asking about its id theft program first resulted in full confusion about what number of gadgets we wished antivirus put in on, after which, as soon as transferred to the “id theft division,” culminated in our editor trying to elucidate to the rep what credit score reporting companies did and why you’d care about them.

That does not imply the product itself is unhealthy. Fortuitously, nearly all of this service is automated and there is by no means been any query about McAfee’s software program chops. If its automated programs see odd conduct for considered one of your tracked accounts, these alerts could also be your first and finest safety when you could safe your credit score.

The corporate truly affords 4 tiers of id safety service. Its Premium plan is the aforementioned $40 for the primary 12 months. 

McAfee Phrases of Service

Base worth: $50.


What about Equifax and TrustedID?


Ah, Equifax. If you have already got an ID monitoring service, it might be due to this firm, which is the poster baby for unhealthy safety. One of many large three credit score reporting companies, Equifax had a minimum of 5 main knowledge breaches in 2017, affecting almost each American who has a credit score historical past. Within the months that adopted, we discovered that issues might have in some way even been worse than initially identified.

And the corporate’s ham-fisted response to every knowledge breach made issues worse: At one level, the corporate was directing customers to a faux assist web site. And the location it set as much as present free credit score account monitoring after the information breach was initially additionally susceptible to hackers.

Heads rolled, executives left, and the corporate’s status is in tatters. And but, because of a tepid response from the federal authorities, it is unclear if something has actually modified. Equifax stays considered one of three main firms — Experian and TransUnion being the opposite two — that cross judgment on whether or not we’re all credit-worthy. 

For higher or worse, many individuals took benefit of Equifax’s provide of a free 12 months’s membership to TrustedID, its industrial id theft service. However that supply — initially obtainable to anybody with a Social Safety quantity — has ended. (It required that you simply register by Jan. 31, 2018.)

The service offers a replica of your Equifax credit score report, a lock in your Equifax knowledge by third events (with some exceptions), credit score monitoring from all three credit score bureaus, monitoring of your SSN on what Equifax calls “suspicious” web sites and a really restricted $1 million id theft insurance coverage coverage.

We perceive should you took benefit of the provide whereas it was free. That mentioned, we simply cannot suggest doing enterprise with an organization that has demonstrated such contempt for safety protocols — not to mention clients. Any of the choice safety providers listed above could be a greater possibility. 

Pricing in contrast

The bottom costs of every service are offered beneath, from lowest to highest. Be aware that the costlier ones nearly at all times provide further perks, comparable to extra frequent credit score stories from credit score bureaus. 

ID monitoring yearly pricing


Base yearly worth

Provides free trial?


Id Guard


Id Fraud

Full ID (Costco Govt members)


ID Watchdog


$40 No
$65 No
$90 No*
$100 No
$108 No
$120 $1 for 14 days
$150 No
$150 Sure

*Provides 60-day a reimbursement assure.

Id theft: What you could know

These are some key issues to bear in mind about the perfect id theft safety and ID monitoring providers.

Early detection is vital. In case you’re signing up for considered one of these safety providers, it is much less about stopping the preliminary breach and saving you from being a sufferer of id theft — that is considerably out of your palms, sadly. As a substitute, the perfect id theft safety is about getting a heads-up as quickly as doable on suspicious exercise to forestall you from needing to do a credit score freeze or extra to cease an id thief. Whether or not your bank card has expenses on it you by no means incurred, otherwise you immediately uncover that mortgage collectors are attempting to gather quantities you by no means borrowed, because of thieves midway throughout the nation — or thieves midway all over the world — who opened a bank card or utilized for a mortgage in your identify, seeing the suspicious exercise early on is the secret. The scary truth is that these breaches can value you some huge cash and id theft monitoring can warn you to an issue earlier than it turns into too large to deal with.

Understanding how your private info is getting used is a giant step to maintaining your self protected. There are id theft safety firms that may enable you monitor your private info, get notified in case your accounts and private info are being misused by thieves and should you ought to get a credit score freeze, and even get you reimbursement after the very fact.

None of those safety providers will monitor your precise banking exercise. I’ve lengthy really helpful a approach to defend your self from turning into a sufferer of most banking fraud, which is to look at all of your accounts as soon as per week. It is a bit of a ache, however simply in my household, we have discovered quite a few fraudulent actions and expenses over time. By doing this follow recurrently, we have saved hundreds of {dollars}. Shopper Reviews recommends you do all your individual monitoring, too. 

That mentioned, should you’re not the kind of one who is keen or in a position to take the time to do the fixed due diligence mandatory to guard your id, a few of these safety providers can assist. 

Learn the advantageous print. Lastly, as a result of every of those safety providers affords vastly totally different phrases and circumstances, we have included a simple hyperlink to every firm’s phrases of service. Remember to take the time to learn all of their advantageous print earlier than you join one other month-to-month or yearly price.

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