NortonLifeLock or IDX? Which is better… and why? Don’t worry, we’re going to compare these two identity theft protection services to help you find the right fit. But first, imagine this…
You reach for your phone and check your banking app, but instead of seeing your latest check posted, you see your account in the red. Your savings are all gone. Your credit cards are maxed out.
Your stomach drops. How did this happen?
You call the bank. They say there’s nothing they can do — the charges all seem legitimate.
Like so many others, you’ve become the victim of identity theft. Unbeknownst to you, for months a cybercriminal has been slowly gathering bits and pieces of your identifiable information to make the case that they are you. And in one fell swoop — you’re in financial ruin.
Luckily, you don’t have to experience this nightmare scenario. There are plenty of services that will prevent bad actors from gaining access to your identity and help you navigate the next steps should you become a victim.
But some of these services are better than others. Today, we’re going to look at two of the best: IDX — formerly MyIDCare, and NortonLifeLock — formerly just LifeLock.
Did You Know: It’s estimated that 33 percent of American adults have become the victim of some kind of identity fraud. That’s one in three people.
Before we get going here, we have to make something clear. IDX’s full suite of protections is split between two services — IDX Privacy and IDX Identity.
IDX Privacy focuses mainly on cybersecurity protections and keeping you safe online. IDX Identity is your more traditional “identity theft protection” service. We’ll get into the details of this later, but IDX Identity is split up into two plans — Essentials and Premier. The Premier plan offers some of the cybersecurity protections provided by IDX Privacy, but not all of them.
While most consumers will find themselves to be fully protected and comfortable using only IDX Identity’s Premier plan, for the purposes of this comparison, we’re going to take a look at the complete range of protections offered by IDX. This means we’re assuming you’ve purchased both an IDX Identity Premier plan and an IDX Privacy plan.
FYI: We suggest taking a look at our in-depth review of IDX and our close look at NortonLifeLock’s services to get a better, more complete view of what each service brings to the table.
Got it? Great! Let’s go ahead and take a look at the similarities between IDX and NortonLifeLock.
NortonLifeLock and IDX: Similar Approaches for the Tech- and Privacy-Minded
So right off the bat, both NortonLifeLock and IDX look strikingly similar where it counts. They both check the essential boxes for us — triple-bureau credit monitoring, access to all three credit reports annually, dark web monitoring for identifying pieces of information and both even offer instant credit locks — a unique feature not offered by a lot of services. Let’s go through each one of these and unpack why they're so important.
First, we always recommend triple-bureau credit monitoring and reporting. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, there are three major credit reporting agencies, called bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Each of these generates a score that represents your creditworthiness based on a host of different factors, but each one measures and evaluates these data points a little differently.
That means something suspicious that immediately shows up in one bureau’s report might take a while to show up in another’s. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on all three — so that if nefarious activity occurs, you’ll catch it quickly.
Did You Know: An inexplicable slump in your credit score isn’t always indicative of fraud. The Federal Trade Commission reports at least one in five people have at least one error in their credit file that can be chalked up to human mistakes.
Next are dark-web and internet monitoring. Although this is a pretty standard offering in the identity theft protection industry, both NortonLifeLock and IDX’s monitoring services feel extremely thorough.
Both services scan not only the dark web for your personal information, but they also keep an eye on other shady corners of the internet that other services neglect — namely NortonLifeLock’s file-sharing network searches and IDX’s internal relay chat (IRC) scans. We’ve seen a lot of dark web scanning in our time, and these two services are without a doubt the best of the best.
Finally, both services offer instant locks of your TransUnion credit report. This is a rarely-seen feature, but one we think you should really seek out. We saw it when we took an in-depth look at ID Watchdog, and also when we reviewed Experian IdentityWorks — a service built by the credit monitoring agency itself. Essentially, what this does is makes your credit report inaccessible until the lock is lifted, meaning that bad actors will be unable to take out new lines of credit or open loans in your name.
Now if you’ll let us climb into the pulpit for a second here, we always encourage people to lock or freeze their credit reports, regardless of what identity theft protection service they go with — if any at all. It’s free to set up; all it takes is contacting each credit bureau, and it’s easily the most effective thing you can do to protect yourself financially from fraudsters.
Did You Know: If you’ve become the victim of identity theft in the past, you can also set up what’s called a fraud alert on your credit file. This makes it so the credit bureaus have to go through extra confirmation steps before credit will be issued.
Another area where NortonLifeLock and IDX go toe-to-toe is in the cybersecurity and privacy arena. Not many services offer preventative measures like virtual private networks, password managers, antivirus software, and tracking blockers. In fact, NortonLifeLock and IDX are the only two we’ve seen so far with such offerings. We’ll get into the differences between the two services in the next section, but just be aware that both IDX and NortonLifeLock offer these related protections that will help prevent your data from being swiped in the first place.
Also worth mentioning, both services have beautifully designed mobile apps — again, a rarity in this industry. Most of the time identity theft protection service apps are little more than ports of the service’s mobile site, meaning that functionality and navigation can get a little clunky. Not so with NortonLifeLock and IDX, though. While using them, both apps felt purposefully built with the user experience in mind. So if protection on the go is important to you, you won’t be disappointed with either service.
And finally, both NortonLifeLock and IDX also offer the industry standard $1 million in recovery insurance should your identity become compromised result in financial losses, and both also offer round-the-clock access to recovery specialists that will see your case through from incident to resolution.
One note, though — NortonLifeLock edges IDX out just a bit by offering an additional $1 million in protection to pay for lawyers and other experts if they become necessary to resolve your case. For the average individual, though, both services’ protections will be more than enough.
So that’s about it in the similarities category. Let’s now turn our attention to how IDX and NortonLifeLock diverge. While both offer powerhouse services, we think you’re going to find their differences in approaches and slightly different offerings will help make your decision between the two a little easier.
IDX and NortonLifeLock: Similar Offerings, Meaningful Differences
First, we’re going to look at the more intangible aspects of both services — the approach and the feel of them. NortonLifeLock is a little more traditional, a little more utilitarian.
IDX, on the other hand, takes a more gamified approach — similar to what we saw when we reviewed our #1 pick Identity Guard. IDX provides you with a dynamic “score” that allows you to conceptualize your threat risks. When we started using IDX, our score was a measly 57. By the time we were done setting everything up, though, it had increased by about 30 points. This is a really simple way to help people understand their habits and their protections that we really like to see.
Did You Know: The term “gamification” refers to the use of traditional game-playing elements like scores and competition between players to reinforce certain types of behaviors — in this particular application, establishing safer online privacy habits.
We also think IDX just barely beats out NortonLifeLock in the design and user experience categories. Everything just feels a little sleeker, a little more organized. Advantage, IDX.
However, you might argue these are subjective judgments — and you’d probably be right. Let’s instead move on to the tangible differences in IDX and NortonLifeLock’s services. Remember when we said we’d unpack their cybersecurity offerings? This is where the majority of the differences in the two services lie, so let’s do that now.
First on the list is data brokers. But to understand what IDX and NortonLifeLock do in this regard, we have to understand what a data broker is in the first place.
These are companies that collect your personal information to build a profile of you that is then sold to marketers and advertisers. This information could include your name, where you live, which brands you prefer, what your interests are, what medical issues you might have, your relationship status, and your daily habits. You know how you sometimes get weirdly accurate targeted ads on social media? Thank data brokers for that.
Now if you think that’s as creepy as we do, you’re going to want to make sure these profiles are destroyed. IDX accomplishes this by scanning for your personal information and deleting the data. It’s a simple enough process — you just have to give them some identifying information and they take care of the rest.
With NortonLifeLock, though, you can see which brokers have information about you — and trust us, there will be a lot — but they make you pay an additional $49.99 to delete your data. This is a little exorbitant in our opinion, especially considering that NortonLifeLock already has one of the pricier services on the market today.
Now let’s talk passwords. NortonLifeLock offers a password manager, while IDX offers a password scan. What does that mean? Glad you asked.
A password manager is an encrypted storage area for all of your passwords, meaning you no longer have to commit them to memory. Good news if you’re forgetful like us and have to constantly reset your password for services you only log into once or twice a year. Car insurance — looking at you.
It’s even better news because it means you don’t have to use passwords that you can easily memorize in the first place, meaning you can use really long strings of letters, numbers, and special characters that will make your passwords unique for each service and nearly un-hackable, at least in brute-force terms. This is a really great preventative service offered by NortonLifeLock, here.
IDX takes a bit of a reactionary posture, though, when it comes to password protection. They offer what they call a “password detective,” or a function that allows us to check and see if our passwords show up in any known lists generated by data breaches or password cracking systems. Note — their dark web scanning software is already looking for your passwords, but this added functionality allows you to check up on it from time to time. An interesting service, for sure.
Another major difference is the bonus features both services offer. For example, NortonLifeLock offers cloud storage backup and webcam security, while IDX provides a browser plugin that limits what personal information can be gathered by third party sites and a service that reveals if social media networks are mining your data.
When it comes down to it, these are differences of priority. Both services offer powerful protections across the board; they are only set apart by the bonus features and add-ons they offer.
Before we give you our choice, though, let’s take a look at the all-important factor — the price.
NortonLifeLock vs IDX: Pricing, Services, and Plans
Let’s start with NortonLifeLock, since their pricing and service structure is a little more clear-cut. For an in-depth look, you can read our guide to NortonLifeLock’s plans here, or have a look at our highlight chart below:
NortonLifeLock Subscription Plans
|Credit Monitoring||Single Bureau||Single Bureau||Single Bureau||Triple Bureau|
|Annual Credit Report and Scores||No||No||Single Bureau||Triple Bureau|
|Bank Account Alerts||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Crimes In Your Name Alerts||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Monthly Credit Score Tracking||No||No||No||Yes|
|Checking and Savings Account Application Alerts||No||No||No||Yes|
|401k and Investment Account Alerts||No||No||No||Yes|
|Bank Account Takeover Alerts||No||No||No||Yes|
|Stolen Funds Reimbursement||Up to $25,000||Up to $25,000||Up to $100,000||Up to $1 million|
|VPN||No||Up to 5 Devices||Up to 10 Devices||Unlimited Devices|
As you can see — it’s a little pricey for their top tier of service. And while you can go with a more affordable plan, there’s a pretty steep drop off in terms of protections. Honestly, we really wouldn’t recommend anything south of the “Advantage” plan, since you’re getting into single-bureau monitoring territory.
Now let’s compare that to IDX. This is all covered in our IDX plans and pricing guide, but remember when we said their complete protections are spread over two services, Identity and Privacy? Let’s first take a look at IDX Privacy’s highlights.
- Privacy Score
- ForgetMe Data Removal
- Tracking Blocker
- Safe WiFi VPN
- CyberScan Dark Web Monitoring
- Password Detective
- Private Search
For this, you’ll pay $7.95 per month. Not too bad, but now let’s take a look at IDX Identity’s highlights:
IDX Identity Subscription Plans
|Credit Report||Annual Single-Bureau||Annual Triple-Bureau|
|Unlimited Access to Restoration Experts||Yes||Yes|
|Social Security Number Monitoring||Yes||Yes|
|Instant Inquiry Alerts||No||Yes|
|Social Media Monitoring||No||Yes|
|TransUnion Credit Lock||No||Yes|
So let’s do some quick math here. If you want every protection IDX offers, you’re going to have to purchase a Premier plan as well as an IDX Privacy package. That comes to a grand total of $27.90 per month. That’s still a little cheaper than NortonLifeLock’s Ultimate Plus plan, but it’s worth noting that you’re going to be double-paying for certain services if you go this route.
So what’s the right move here? Ultimately, it comes down to what you value.
NortonLifeLock Vs IDX: The Big Picture
What’s our final verdict? If given the choice between the two, personally, we’d go with IDX. We feel confident in using only the Premiere tier of the IDX’s Identity plan, but that does leave some gaps that NortonLifeLock fills — namely the use of a VPN. To get the coverage NortonLifeLock offers, we’d have to purchase both a Premier IDX Identity plan as well as an IDX Privacy plan — which wastes money since there’s a pretty significant overlap between the two.
We really wish IDX would offer an all-in-one “ultimate” plan that offers everything, but until that day, you’ll have to go with NortonLifeLock if you want complete coverage from a single package. Ultimately, it’s up to you if you’re willing to pay the price to have those protections all in one place, or if you’re willing to forgo some of the bells and whistles.
At the end of the day, it pays to comparison shop when selecting an identity theft protection plan. While NortonLifeLock and IDX are both solid choices, they aren’t the only identity theft services in town. We’d suggest taking a look at our best identity theft protection services guide to see if there’s another option out there that might better fit your needs.
FAQs for Both Services
Yes, both services scan the dark web, but they also take it further by keeping an eye on message boards, IRC services, and file-sharing networks.
Yes, but only their higher-end tiers of service.
IDX is slightly more affordable, but NortonLifeLock offers more complete protections.
Yes, both prioritize online privacy and cybersecurity, but their offerings differ slightly.