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Identity theft is a global problem that becomes increasingly more sophisticated as technology paves the way for new types of fraud. This type of theft takes place when someone uses another person’s personal information to open credit accounts, file a tax return or assume someone’s identity in its entirety. The underlying goal of identity theft is fraud and robbery, although the amount of each loss is measured in both money spent and time.

According to a 2020 Identity Fraud Study from Javelin Research, fraud victims lost a total of $16.9 billion in 2019, with the most prevalent problems being existing card account fraud and account takeover. Mobile phone takeovers are also on the rise, and more and more identity theft victims are left covering fraud-related expenses out of their own pockets.

With these statistics in mind, it’s no wonder many consumers choose to pay for identity theft protection services. Companies that offer this protection keep an eye on your credit reports to check for suspicious activity, and they may even monitor the dark web to detect the use of your Social Security number and other information. Identity theft companies will notify you if someone uses your personal details to open an account in your name, and most offer a high level of insurance that will cover the cost of recovering your identity if you’re the victim of fraud.

Forbes Advisor compared the top identity theft companies to come up with this ranking, and we found that many companies offer high-quality services for a reasonable price. If you’re worried about protecting your identity, keep reading to see how these companies stack up.

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Best Identity Theft Protection Companies of 2020


Identity Guard

Identity Guard

Identity Guard

5.0
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.
Learn More

On Identity Guard's Secure Website

Identity Guard

5.0
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.
Best Overall
Plan Costs

$7.20 to $23.99

per month for individuals; $11.99 to $31.99 per month for families

Family Plans Offered

Yes

ID Theft Insurance

$1 million

for each plan

View Details
Why We Picked It

We chose Identity Guard as our best identity theft option overall based on its robust selection of highly-rated plans and because all of its plans offer $1 million in identity theft insurance. Plans from Identity Guard also start on the low end when compared to competitors, which is a major bonus for those who want basic protection without having to pay too much.

Details
Identity Guard offers highly rated ID theft protection that can be purchased for individuals or families. For individuals, they offer three main plans—the Value plan includes basic identity monitoring, the Total plan includes identity protection and credit monitoring and the Ultra plan includes premium identity protection and credit monitoring services.

One major benefit of Identity Guard is that all plan options (including basic options) include $1 million in identity theft protection. If you only want basic coverage, you can pay as little as $7.20 per month for dark web monitoring, a risk management report, safe browsing tools and an anti-phishing mobile app. However, you can also opt for the pricier Ultra plan that includes extras like monitoring of all three credit bureaus, tax refund alerts, credit scores and reports and address monitoring.

Pros
  • All plans come with identity theft insurance
  • Monthly plans start at just $7.20 per month
  • Discount for paying annually
  • IBM® Watson™ Artificial Intelligence included in every plan
Cons
  • Value plans (the least expensive option) do not include monitoring of all three credit bureaus
  • If you want monitoring of bank account takeovers you will have to choose the mid-tier or highest-tier plan

LifeLock

LifeLock

LifeLock

4.4
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.
Learn More

On LifeLock's Secure Website

LifeLock

4.4
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.
Best Money Back Guarantee
Plan Costs

$9.99 to $25.99

per month

Family Plans Offered

Yes

ID Theft Insurance

$25,000 to $1 million

depending on the plan

View Details
Why We Picked It

LifeLock offers the best money-back guarantee in the business. If you aren’t happy with the service you receive, you can get your money back for 60 days. This provider also pairs some of their plans with anti-hacking computer software that adds another layer of protection where you need it most.

Details
LifeLock is another popular provider in this space, and this company is unique since they pair their credit monitoring and identity theft protection services with Norton 360 antivirus software.

You can choose among four levels of coverage from LifeLock—the Standard plan with basic ID theft coverage and one-bureau credit monitoring, the Select plan with more included services, the Advantage plan with add-on services like bank account and credit card activity alerts and the Ultimate Plus plan with $1 million in identity theft insurance, three-bureau credit monitoring, 401(k) and investment account alerts and more.

The highest Ultimate Plus plan is the most inclusive, and it’s important to know that this highest tier plan is the only one that comes with $1 million in ID theft insurance. Lower-tier plans come with $25,000 or $100,000 in reimbursement for stolen funds, which may not be sufficient. The Ultimate Plus plan is also the only one that monitors all three credit bureaus for signs of fraud.

Pros
  • All plans come with stolen funds reimbursement
  • Some LifeLock plans include Norton 360 software that protects multiple devices from online identity theft and other types of fraud
  • Plans start at just $9.99 per month
Cons
  • Only the most expensive plan from LifeLock includes monitoring of all three of your credit reports
  • The least expensive plans only come with $25,000 to $100,000 in stolen funds insurance
  • No discount for paying annually

IdentityForce

IdentityForce

IdentityForce

4.4
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.
Learn More

On IdentityForce's Secure Website (or, call 866-455-9980 for details)

IdentityForce

4.4
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.
Plan Costs

$9.99 to $19.99

per month for individuals

Family Plans Offered

Yes

ID Theft Insurance

$1 million

with each of their plans

View Details
Why We Picked It

IdentityForce offers protections for individuals and offers one of the most simple plan structures available. They offer only two different plans: one with credit monitoring and one without. Plans for individuals and families include most of the major protections you could want, from medical fraud protection to dark web monitoring.

Details
IdentityForce offers identity protection services for both individuals and families, which makes this provider somewhat unique. Among their plans for individuals, IdentityForce offers two levels of coverage—UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit.

The UltraSecure plan focuses mostly on protecting your identity with included features like bank and credit account monitoring, $1 million in identity theft insurance, fraud monitoring, dark web monitoring and investment account alerts. The main difference you’ll see with the UltraSecure+Credit plan is the addition of three-bureau credit monitoring, as well as credit reports and scores from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

IdentityForce now offers plans for families available online. Pricing is $24.90 per month ($249 annually) for UltraSecure and $35.90 per month ($359 annually) for UltraSecure+Credit. Overall, we like this provider because their lower-tier plan offers a wider range of inclusions than other basic plans and because all personal identity theft protection plans come with $1 million in insurance.

Pros
  • All plans come with $1 million in ID Theft Insurance
  • Qualify for a free trial with select plans
  • Discount for annual plans (pay for 10 months, get 12 months of protection)
Cons
  • The basic UltraSecure plan doesn’t include credit monitoring
  • Plans start at a higher price point than most competitors

ID Watchdog

ID Watchdog

ID Watchdog

4.3
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

ID Watchdog

4.3
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.
Best for Families
Plan Costs

$14.95 to $19.95

per month for individuals; $25.95 to $34.95 per month for families

Family Plans Offered

Yes

ID Theft Insurance

Up to $1 million

for each of their plans

View Details
Why We Picked It

We chose ID Watchdog due to its unique features for families with kids, including the ability to lock a child’s Equifax credit report. Another helpful feature offered with the highest-tier ID Watchdog Platinum plan is 401(k)/HSA Stolen Funds Reimbursement, which is good for up to $500,000 in additional coverage. Plans for individuals and families are available.

Details
ID Watchdog offers individual and family identity theft protection plans, as well as plans for employers who want to buy coverage for their workers. All of their plans come with up to $1 million in identity theft insurance, which is a major plus.

However, there are some major differences between their two main tiers of coverage—ID Watchdog Plus and ID Watchdog Platinum. The basic Plus plan only monitors your credit with one bureau and this plan does not come with monitoring of your financial accounts. The Platinum plan, on the other hand, comes with monitoring of all three credit bureaus, ongoing credit reports and scores, and the addition of up to $500,000 in insurance against stolen funds from a 401(k) or HSA plan.

Whichever plan you choose, ID Watchdog does offer bonus services for families. These include Equifax Child Credit Lock and the ability to add a second adult and up to four children.

All ID Watchdog plans include features like dark web monitoring, public records monitoring, customizable alerts, credit freeze assistance and more.

Pros
  • Plans include unique protections aimed at children
  • All plans include up to $1 million in ID theft coverage
  • Access to identity theft resolution experts with all plans
Cons
  • Plans are on the pricey side
  • The lower tier ID Watchdog Plus plan only monitors your Experian credit report
  • You’ll have to opt for the ID Watchdog Plus plan if you want to monitor your financial accounts
  • Family plans only include up to four children
  • No discount for paying annually

Experian Identity Theft Protection

Experian Identity Theft Protection

Experian Identity Theft Protection

4.0
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Experian Identity Theft Protection

4.0
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.
Best for Credit Monitoring
Plan Costs

$9.99 to $19.99

for individuals

Family Plans Offered

Yes

ID Theft Insurance

$500,000 to $1 million

depending on the plan

View Details
Why We Picked It

Experian’s offerings are very robust when it comes to credit monitoring, and that’s especially true with the IdentityWorks Premium plan. This plan monitors all three credit bureaus for new accounts, credit inquiries, large account balance changes, credit utilization, positive credit activity, dormant accounts and more. You also get a 30-day free trial.

Details
Experian offers two levels of identity theft protection—IdentityWorks Plus and IdentityWorks Premium. Both come with benefits like dark web surveillance, fraud resolution, lost wallet assistance, Social Security number monitoring, financial account activity monitoring, address change verification and more.

The main difference between the two plans is that the Plus version only comes with up to $500,000 in identity theft insurance, whereas the Premium version comes with up to $1 million in coverage and some additional services. For example, you can upgrade to the IdentityWorks Premium plan if you want payday loan monitoring, social network monitoring, quarterly FICO scores from all three credit bureaus and sex offender registry monitoring.

Also note that IdentityWorks Plus only comes with credit bureau monitoring of your Experian report, whereas IdentityWorks Premium monitors your reports with all three credit bureaus. Both plans offer a free trial.

Pros
  • Family plans can include up to 10 children
  • Free trial for 30 days
  • Discount for paying annually
Cons
  • IdentityWorks Plus plans only include monitoring of your Experian credit report
  • IdentityWorks Plus plans do not let you access your FICO score, whereas the more expensive IdentityWorks Premium plan does
  • IdentityWorks Plus plans only come with $500,000 in ID theft insurance, so you’ll need to pay for the more robust plan if you want the standard $1 million in coverage

IDShield

ID Shield

ID Shield

3.9
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

ID Shield

3.9
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.
Plan Costs

$13.95 to $17.95

per month for individuals; $26.95 to $32.95 per month for families

Family Plans Offered

Yes

ID Theft Insurance

$1 million

in coverage with all plans

View Details
Why We Picked It

IDShield plans come with a 30-day free trial, which lets you try out the service for a full month before you make a financial commitment. All ID Shield plans also include monitoring of at least one of your credit reports, and family plans are offered alongside individual plans. Private investigators may also be dispatched on your behalf if you find you have become a victim of identity theft or another type of fraud.

Details
AAll plans from IDShield come with Social Security and dark web monitoring, social media scanning, access to licensed private investigators, credit score tracking and reporting, and more.

You do get access to a free trial, and you can choose the level of coverage you want for an individual or a family. Note that, with both plans for families and individuals, you can pay for credit monitoring with one bureau (TransUnion) or all three.

Also note that all plans from IDShield come with a $1 million identity theft protection insurance plan, as well as 24/7 emergency assistance.

Pros
  • All plans come with $1 million in ID theft coverage
  • Free 30-day trial
  • Licensed private investigator access
Cons
  • Only highest-tier plans come with monitoring of all three credit bureaus
  • Family plans and individual plans are expensive when compared to competitors
  • No discount for paying annually

FICO Identity Ultimate 3B

FICO Identity Ultimate 3B

FICO Identity Ultimate 3B

3.6
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

FICO Identity Ultimate 3B

3.6
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.
Plan Costs

$29.95

per month for individuals and $49.95 per month for families

Family Plans Offered

Yes

ID Theft Insurance

$1 million

in coverage

View Details
Why We Picked It

FICO Identity Ultimate can be a good option if you want comprehensive monitoring of your credit reports, as well as a detailed analysis of your credit score. You can even opt for a family plan that includes up to 10 kids, and you will get up to $1 million in ID theft coverage either way. The plan’s mobile app can also help you monitor your credit on the go.

Details
FICO Identity Ultimate 3B promises to help you monitor your credit, your identity and your FICO credit scores all in one place. This plan comes with comprehensive identity monitoring that aims to identify fraud right away, lost wallet protection, 24/7 identity theft restoration services and $1 million in identity theft insurance.

When it comes to your credit, FICO Identity Ultimate 3B monitors all three of the credit bureaus for new accounts or suspicious activity. You can also monitor your FICO scores on a grand scale with access to 28 of the most popular FICO score versions.

Other features include a one-time identity analysis report, black market website surveillance alerts, Social Security number alias alerts and a detailed FICO score analysis that explains all the top factors contributing to your scores. This program also comes with a mobile app that lets you monitor your credit and your identity on the go, which makes it stand out from other providers since not all of them offer this option.

Pros
  • Monitoring of all three credit bureaus
  • Access a handy mobile app
  • Get $1 million in ID theft insurance
  • Family plans can include up to 10 children
Cons
  • Only one plan to choose from for individuals and families
  • Plans are more expensive than many competitors
  • No discount for paying annually

Identity Defense

Identity Defense

Identity Defense

3.6
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Identity Defense

3.6
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.
Plan Costs

$6.99 to $14.99

per month for individuals; $9.99 to $17.99 per month for families

Family Plans Offered

Yes

ID Theft Insurance

$1 million

in coverage per plan

View Details
Why We Picked It

Identity Defense plans start at a lower price point than many competitors, although you still get all the protections of other plans with up to $1 million in coverage for stolen funds reimbursement. This company uses artificial intelligence to monitor your accounts, and you can get a discount for paying an entire year’s premiums up front.

Details
Identity Defense offers three identity theft protection plans that can be geared to individuals or families—an Essential plan, a Plus plan and a Complete plan. Each of their plans comes with up to $1 million in coverage for lost funds, and their plans use artificial intelligence to monitor your credit and your identity in order to stop fraud in its tracks.

It’s also important to note that Identity Defense plans start at just $6.99 per month for individuals. This makes it a good option for anyone who wants only basic coverage for as little as possible. If you pay up front for a basic one-person plan, you can get coverage for just $69.99 per year.

Pros
  • Identity theft coverage with all plans
  • Discount for paying annually
  • Family coverage available
  • Credit monitoring included in mid-tier and top-tier plans
Cons
  • Identity Defense website has limited information on their plans
  • You have to pay for one of their Plus or Complete plans if you want to monitor all three credit bureaus

IdentityProtect

IdentityProtect

IdentityProtect

3.4
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

IdentityProtect

3.4
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.
Plan Costs

$12.95 to $19.95

per month for individuals; $39 to $149 per month for businesses

Family Plans Offered

No

ID Theft Insurance

$100,000 to $1 million

in coverage, depending on the plan

View Details
Why We Picked It

IdentityProtect offers a Basic plan as well as an Ultimate plan that provides added benefits such as $1 million in ID theft coverage (instead of $100,000) and monitoring of all three credit bureaus. Both of their plans let you speak with a credit fraud specialist in the event your identity is stolen or compromised. If you own your own business, you can also check out IdentityProtect’s small business plans for companies of all sizes.

Details
IdentityProtect is another major player in the identity theft protection industry, although they focus their offerings on individuals and small business owners instead of families. Either way, you can tailor your coverage to your needs.

Individual plans range from $12.95 per month to $19.95 per month, the more expensive of which includes monitoring of all three credit reports (instead of one) and $1 million in ID theft coverage (instead of $100,000).

If you’re a small business owner, you can get an array of credit monitoring and building tools for yourself and your employees for $39 to $149 per month. Small business plans are good for up to 100 employees, after which you’ll pay $2 per month for each additional worker you want coverage for.

Pros
  • Individual plans and business plans are available
  • Small business plans can provide employees with credit tracking tools and scores
  • Get personalized help canceling or replacing credit cards, your Social Security card, insurance cards and more
Cons
  • Basic plan only comes with monitoring of one credit report
  • No discount for paying annually
  • No specific plans geared to families

PrivacyGuard

PrivacyGuard

PrivacyGuard

3.3
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

PrivacyGuard

3.3
Our ratings take into account a product's rewards, fees, rates and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.
Plan Costs

$9.99 to $24.99

per month

Family Plans Offered

No

ID Theft Insurance

$0 to up to $1 million

in coverage, depending on the plan

View Details
Why We Picked It

PrivacyGuard offers a selection of unique plans that are geared to individuals who want to protect their identity as well as those who want to oversee their credit scores.

You can opt for a plan that provides comprehensive credit protection, but you can also choose to pay more for identity protection benefits such as dark web scanning, public records monitoring and bank account monitoring. Plans start at an affordable $9.99 per month, making this provider a good option for value shoppers.

Details
PrivacyGuard offers three main plans—PrivacyGuard Identity Protection, PrivacyGuard Credit Protection and PrivacyGuard Total Protection.

The Identity Protection plan focuses on public and dark web scanning, ID theft fraud resolution and lost and stolen wallet protection, whereas the Credit Protection plan includes credit-related benefits like credit scores from all three bureaus and daily credit monitoring.

If you want all of these benefits, however, you can opt for the PrivacyGuard Total Protection plan. This higher-tier offering includes the best of all of their credit protection and identity protection services under one umbrella.

Also note that you can try a plan for 14 days for just $1 if you want to explore all this provider’s features.

Pros
  • Tailor your coverage to your needs with credit protection, identity theft protection or both
  • Get up to $1 million in identity theft coverage with some plans
  • 14-day trial available for $1
  • Access to a mobile app
Cons
  • No family plans available
  • Basic identity protection plans don’t include credit monitoring
  • No discount for paying annually

How to Pick an Identity Theft Monitoring Service

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with identity theft protection options, mostly because the companies that work in this niche all provide the same general services. However, there are always features that stand out among different ID theft plans, so it’s crucial to look them over to see which benefits you need the most.

If you’re struggling to determine which ID theft protection provider to trust with your identity, these tips can help:

  • Look for plans with identity theft insurance. Identity theft insurance is a final stopgap that can protect you against financial losses if you’re a victim of identity theft. With that in mind, we only selected companies that provide ID theft insurance for our ranking. Some offer lower levels of coverage, so make sure any plan you’re considering has enough identity theft insurance to make you feel comfortable. The gold standard is $1 million in insurance protection per plan.
  • Check for three-bureau credit monitoring. Also check for monitoring of all three credit bureaus, and take note of the fact that basic plans may only include one bureau. Since fraud may not show up on all of your credit reports right away, having a plan that monitors all three of your credit reports is ideal.
  • Decide if you need an individual plan or a family plan that provides protection for kids. Some providers offer family plans with special features to protect children’s identities, while others do not. If you have children, you’ll want to consider whether to include them in your identity theft protection plan.
  • Compare pricing and look for discounts if you pay once per year. Compare pricing and make sure any plan you’re considering is affordable on a monthly basis. Also, check for discounts for autopay or annual payments. Many providers do offer some sort of discount if you pay for the first year up front.
  • Consider companies that offer a free trial. If you still can’t decide, try out a provider that offers a free trial. This will give you some time to try out the features of a plan to see if the monthly cost is worth it. If you decide not to move forward with a paid identity theft protection plan before the free trial is up, you can cancel.

Methodology

Forbes Advisor compared all the top identity theft companies on the market today in order to find the best options for the largest number of consumers. We considered the monthly cost of each company’s plans, looking for affordability and value first and foremost. We also looked at the inclusions of each plan, such as credit monitoring from all three bureaus and dark web monitoring. We gave precedence to providers who offer individual identity theft plans and plans for couples, as well as plans for the entire family. Finally, we only included ID theft companies that include an ample amount of ID theft insurance in their most comprehensive plans.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the most common signs of identity theft?

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), some of the most common signs of identity theft include not getting your bills in the mail, seeing withdrawals from your bank account you cannot explain and debt collectors calling you about debts that are not yours.

Do identity theft companies help me monitor my credit score?

Some identity theft companies do include credit monitoring and credit scores in their service plans, although you should check to make sure. Also note that some providers only monitor one of the credit bureaus instead of all three, which is less than ideal.

Why do I want identity theft insurance?

With identity theft insurance included in your plan, you will be reimbursed for financial losses up to your coverage limits if you are a victim of identity theft. Many ID theft plans offer up to $1 million in coverage for reimbursement of funds due to identity theft.

What steps can I take to protect my identity online?

There are a number of steps you can take to safeguard your identity when you use the internet. Some of the best steps include updating your software frequently, never giving out your personal information, creating unique passwords no one can guess and setting up multi-factor authentication when you can.

What should I do if my identity is stolen?

If your identity is stolen, you should head to the identitytheft.gov website right away. This website will ask you some basic information and help craft a recovery plan with your next best steps. Based on your situation, your next moves could include calling companies where the fraud occurred, reporting the identity theft to the FTC and filing a police report. In many cases, your identity theft company will help you with each of these steps.


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