LifeLock is known as the biggest player in the identity theft protection game, but a lot has changed since the company first came onto the scene in 2005. The Federal Trade Commission has twice fined LifeLock for what it calls deceptive business practices that oversold LifeLock’s true capabilities. LifeLock has also had to pay millions of dollars in restitution to customers.
Even without those fines, customers have additional options for protecting their identity from hackers and other bad guys, and it’s always a good idea to look around the market and see what else is out there. LifeLock maintains a large customer base despite the fines, so there’s obviously people who are still happy to use their product. Before you make a final decision, here’s some useful information about three leading alternatives to LifeLock.
Previously known as Bearak Reports, the company changed its name to IdentityForce in 2016. It has two price tiers. The first, UltraSecure, costs $12.95 per month. The premium plan is UltraSecure+ Credit, and it costs $18.95 a month., which is significantly cheaper than the $29.95 a month you’ll pay for LifeLock’s premium plan. UltraSecure’s premium plan monitors credit reports from the three credit bureaus year-round. It also pulls scores and reports from each credit bureau four times a year, while LifeLock’s premium plan only provides those once a year.
The UltraSecure+ Credit plan comes with a credit score simulator that tells you how certain actions will affect your credit score. Another unique feature of both IdentityForce plans is the pay day loan monitoring that’s designed to alert you if someone uses your Social Security number to get cash at a payday loan business.
IdentityForce offers up to $1 million identity theft protection policy. That means that if identity thieves manage to get past the company’s defenses, they’ll spend up to $1 million helping you get your life back. LifeLock has a similar guarantee, although LifeLock also promises to reimburse you for up to $1 million in stolen funds or personal expenses that resulted from identity theft.
IdentifyForce and LifeLock both have plans that search sex offender registries to see if any criminals have registered using your personal information. IdentityForce can even tell you when a sex offender moves into your neighborhood.
2. Identity Guard
Virginia-based Identity Guard was founded in 2001. They divide their pricing plans into individual plans and family plans. Individual plans cover one person, while family plans cover everyone in a specific household.
The cheapest individual plan is the Value plan for $8.99 a month, which is $1 less than LifeLock’s Standard plan. The mid-range Total plan will cost $19.99 per month, the same as LifeLock’s mid-range Advantage plan. The Premium plan is the most comprehensive one at $24.99 a month, $10 less than LifeLock. For a family, the three Identity Guard plans cost $14.99, $29.99, and $34.99, respectively.
All three plans offer a mobile app and risk management store. Since 2016, Identity Guard has partnered with IBM Watson Artificial Intelligence, so if you like the idea of some extra AI monitoring your personal information, then this company might be the right choice for you.
The Total and Premiere plans include a unique feature that notifies you if someone attempts to open any type of bank or credit union account using your personal information. In addition, the Premiere plan gives you one credit report a year from each of the three credit bureaus.
LifeLock provides no social media monitoring, but Identity Guard has something called “social media insights” that comes with Premiere plan. This looks at your Facebook account, then uses IBM Watson to recommend changes that may make your account more secure.
3. ID Watchdog
ID Watchdog was founded in 2005 and is based in Denver, Colorado. The company offers two plans for identity protection: ID Watchdog Plus and ID Watchdog Platinum. The first plan is $14.95 a month, while the second is $19.95 per month. Like the other companies, you can save a few dollars by paying for a year in advance rather than on a month-by-month basis.
The biggest difference between the two is that the second plan gives you a monthly credit report and score from all three credit bureaus. ID Watchdog Plus does not, although it does monitor your TransUnion credit report. If you want your Equifax and Experian reports to also be monitored, you’ll need to spring for ID Watchdog Platinum.
Email and text messages are available from ID Watchdog, although their notification framework doesn’t seem quite as robust as the one offered by some other places. It does have a mobile app, as do all the other companies mentioned here.
If you’re a healthcare professional worried about identity theft, ID Watchdog stands apart from its competitors for its National Provider Identifier Alerts. Nurses, doctors. And other healthcare workers have an NPI ID number that is critical to their career, and both ID Watchdog plans keep an eye on it for any signs of potential fraud.