Did you know identity theft is quickly becoming one of the most common forms of fraud in the country?1 It’s true, so as you can imagine, numerous services have cropped up to help proactive consumers protect themselves from bad actors. A lot of these services are great, but unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. To get a sense of what will work best for you, it’s important to do your homework.
To that end, we’re here to help you learn all about AllClear ID, a brand that we recently got hands-on experience with. Similar to Zander, AllClear is another service where identity theft is not their marquee offering. Their flagship product is CrossChannel, a platform that streamlines business processes by eliminating passwords in favor of biometric security. As such, AllClear ID offers identity theft solutions at an enterprise scale, so you might encounter this brand if your company has experienced a data breach and purchased a sponsored plan for its staff.
That’s a little outside the scope of this review, though. What we’re really interested in is AllClear’s identity theft services for individuals. Since identity theft isn’t their main gig, we were a little hesitant wondering if the service would suffer. The good news is AllClear has a great record for customer service and satisfaction, which is really encouraging.
The bad news is when it came to functionality, scope, and detail, AllClear ID just didn’t do it for us. So if you’re looking for robust identity protection, we highly recommend checking out our top-rated services here.
All right, before we get into the specifics of AllClear ID’s offerings, let’s take a quick look at some pros and cons:
Now that we know what we’re getting into, let’s take a look at their protection tiers.
AllClear ID offers two types of services. AllClear Identity Repair, also called “Basic,” will help if your identity has already been stolen or if you suspect you’ve become a fraud victim. With this plan, trained investigators will work with you to resolve disputes and act on your behalf to restore your identity.
Did You Know: It takes a long time to fully recover from identity theft. If someone steals your social security number and uses it to open a credit card, it can take months to dispute.2
While restoration and resolution are usually packaged with a monitoring and alert system, this is the first time we’ve encountered it as a stand-alone product. This is great news if you’ve become a victim and don’t exactly know where to turn. Even better news — it’s free. Don’t get too excited though — we’ve found there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and this seems like a way to reach and recruit potential customers.
For our purposes, we’re interested in taking a look at AllClear’s Fraud Alert with Credit Monitoring service — or ProPlus. This includes:
|AllClear Basic||AllClear ProPlus|
|Fraud Alerts with Credit Monitoring||No||Yes|
|Annual Credit Report||No||Yes|
|Secure Alert System||No||Yes|
|Lost Wallet Protection||No||Yes|
|$1 Million in Insurance Coverage||No||Yes|
|Optional ChildScan Monitoring||No||Yes|
Some of these items were familiar to us, others, not so much. To figure out what it all meant, we purchased an AllClear ID plan and took it for a test drive.
Thankfully, AllClear ID offers a 30-day free trial. We always love to see free trials like IdentityForce’s and IDShield’s — two of our favorite brands — because who doesn’t want to try it before they buy it?
To get enrolled, we started by entering some pretty standard information like our name, date of birth, email address, and social security number to get our account set up. On the next screen, we were asked to enter our contact information. Once that was all done, we entered our billing info on the next page to start our free trial.
To do that, though, we had to jump through a pretty interesting hoop. Unlike any verification we’ve seen before, AllClear ID actually calls the primary phone number we entered during sign-up. We were asked to state our name, create a “voice key phrase,” and enter a 4-digit pin. Pretty unique, but we’re going to trust AllClear knows what they’re doing — we mean, they specialize in streamlining security processes.
We were then redirected to a page letting us know we had successfully enrolled. Two things to point out here — this page said we were automatically enrolled in single-bureau credit monitoring, but we could activate triple-bureau monitoring in our profile settings. We’re going to want to do that immediately. It also said we’d need our phone whenever we wanted to log in. A little extreme on the two-factor authentication, but hey, if we didn’t appreciate security, we wouldn’t be doing this.
After entering our log-in credentials, we clicked “call me now” and were greeted with the screen above. After about 5 seconds or so, our phone rang. Our voice passkey was repeated to us, and we were asked to enter our pin. Seriously — this level of security was really comforting. Even though AllClear doesn’t have the bells and whistles of Identity Guard (another favorite of ours), we were confident they were taking every precaution to protect our sensitive information.
Once we were through the phone authentication, we were given what we thought was a brief overview of what we could expect to find in our account. But we quickly found out this was actually our dashboard. Not the most detailed we’ve seen by a long shot, so honestly, that was a little disappointing. Have a look below…
The first item — enrolling in a TransUnion fraud alert — was pending, so there wasn’t much we could do with it.
Did You Know: A fraud alert and a credit freeze are two different things. A fraud alert makes a company verify your identity before opening new lines of credit in your name, a credit freeze limits access to your credit report so no one can open new accounts until the freeze has been lifted.3 Both have pros and cons.
Next on the list, we saw “credit monitoring pending.” Again, not much we can do here, yet. So we’ll have to come back to it.
Let us take a second to say this is a first for us, though. For every other service we’ve used, these types of permissions have been immediate. With an IdentityForce top-tier plan, we had access to 3-bureau credit monitoring and our complete reports right off the bat. So we’re really not sure what the lag time is all about with AllClear, but it wasn’t the best look.
Moving on to the third item on the list — our credit cards — we could finally get something done. After clicking here, we were able to add our credit and debit cards for what we assume was dark web monitoring. Most identity theft monitoring and protection services scan non-indexed portions of the internet (ie – those pages not accessible by search engines) to find instances of your personal information being shared. Without fail, every service we’ve reviewed has turned up something.
We’re not really sure what was being monitored here or how, because AllClear never told us.
Next on the list was our profile. This is where we could update all of our information including our name, our address, our phone numbers, our email address, and our passwords. We’re not going to show you any of that for obvious reasons, but at the bottom, under preferences, we wanted to point out this is where you can switch from single-bureau monitoring to triple-bureau.
We absolutely recommend triple-bureau monitoring. While the three different credit bureaus — Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax — all monitor similar activities, discrepancies might not show up in the same way. If you’re going to pay to monitor your credit, it’s important to spring for all three.4
But AllClear doesn’t agree. Why? Because it messes up their alert system. No seriously, have a look…
If that text is too small to read, we’ll print it here:
“Triple bureau monitoring creates three duplicate alerts for every change to a consumer’s credit file and most of our customers do not want to receive three phone calls regarding the same alert. We designed an effective de-duplication technology to address this problem, however like any filtering technology, it is possible that a valid alert may not be delivered.”
Well that’s not good.
We went ahead and accepted because we want all three bureaus monitored, but we weren’t happy about this. To be fair, identity theft monitoring is a tertiary service of AllClear’s, but we’d think something as critical as credit monitoring alerts would be well-established before taking the service to market. So this is something to keep in mind.
By the time we had this all set up, our fraud alerts, credit monitoring, and VantageScore report were ready to take a look at.
Clicking on the first item, we were directed to a page where we could request a fraud alert with TransUnion. This is a great preventative step for people who think they may have fallen victim to identity thieves, but we don’t really count this as “monitoring.” You can place fraud alerts and freezes on your credit reports at any time without the assistance of an identity theft monitoring service, so we skipped this step.
Next, we took a look at our credit monitoring reports. Honestly, there wasn’t much to see here. After clicking on the link, we landed on a page that said AllClear ID hasn’t detected any activity with our accounts. They advised us that if we were expecting a hard inquiry or a new account opening, that we should check back to review it. That’s fine, but every service we’ve ever used has found at least one or two things to alert us to. In fact, we never received an alert from AllClear in the entire time we were using it. That was a little disconcerting.
Moving on to the next item, we found our credit report and score. On this page, we could request to receive and review this information. It’s important to note that this report is generated by TransUnion, and the credit score provided is our VantageScore 3.0, not FICO.
FYI: FICO and VantageScore are similar but not identical; that’s why the two numbers can vary. Both models look at the same indicators but differ in how they weigh credit histories, civil judgments, credit inquiries, and trending data.5
We were a little disappointed here as well. Other services we’ve reviewed gave us way more insight and access into our data. When we drilled down into the “account summary” section, some of our information was simply wrong. And there was no way to investigate how AllClear ID generated our numbers, nor was there a defined path to rectify the mistakes.
Clicking back to the dashboard, we found AllClear’s resource page. Here we found some information as well as some additional functions to reduce junk mail and credit card offers.
Unfortunately, instead of using the personal information we already provided to enroll us in the service, AllClear ID simply linked us to the sites where we could sign up. This felt a little lazy, especially since IDWatchdog automatically did this for us.
On the resource page, we also found AllClear’s lost wallet protection function, which was a form to print and fill out with account and identification numbers.
If you choose to use this function, be sure to keep this document in a very safe place, and if you ever get rid of it, make sure to shred it. While most people think identity thieves only lurk in the digital world, plenty of attacks result from physical items not being properly destroyed.
The “protection” element of AllClear’s lost wallet protection comes into play with their team of experts using this information to help recover lost identification or stolen cards. While this is a nice feature, it’s worth pointing out it’s a pretty standard offer from most identity theft protection services out there.
So, that’s about it with AllClear. For the price, we really expected something more, like what we’ve seen with LifeLock and their Norton 360 device protection. The features AllClear touted were either lackluster or, at worst, potentially broken. We’re still not sure what they meant by “theft monitoring,” and we never got to experience the “secure alert system,” because AllClear never alerted us to anything.
While the optimist in us wants to believe there’s absolutely nothing suspicious in our finances or online about us, the realist knows that isn’t the case. And that’s also confirmed by the fact that every other identity theft protection service we’ve reviewed has found at least a handful of items for us to review.
We really wanted to like AllClear ID. They have a unique approach to identity theft protection and an established record of customer satisfaction. To be fair, their enterprise-side services might be better than their individual protections, but that’s not what we’re here to review. At the $15 per month price point, we think you’d be much better off with a service like IdentityGuard or IDShield. Given our personal experience, we wouldn’t in good faith recommend AllClear ID’s ProPlus plan.
AllClear offers a free identity theft recovery service, but their monitoring services cost $14.95 per month.
Yes, but not by default. If you opt-in for three-bureau monitoring, alerts might come in triplicate.
No, AllClear’s monitoring services are strictly standard — for instance, no sex offender monitoring or social media protection.
Yes, AllClear can protect children at an additional cost of $4.95 per month per child.
Yes, an AllClear subscription comes with up to $1 million in reimbursement insurance — the industry standard.
Papadimitriou, O. (2019, October 16). Identity Theft: What It Is, How It Happens & the Best Protection. WalletHub.
Luthi, B. (2019, July 23). What to Know About the Effects of Identity Theft. Experian.
Weintraub Schifferle, L. (2020, February 13). Fraud alerts & credit freezes: What’s the difference? Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/02/fraud-alerts-credit-freezes-whats-difference
Black, M. (2020, August 18). Credit Monitoring: Is It Worth Paying for? Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/personal-finance/credit-monitoring-is-it-worth-paying-for/
Brozic, J. (2020, September 25). VantageScore vs. FICO: What’s the difference? Credit Karma. https://www.creditkarma.com/advice/i/vantagescore-vs-fico
With a decade of experience as a journalist, Derek Prall has been covering cybersecurity for seven years. He has spent more than 1,000 hours researching digital privacy and has covered almost 100 topics related to VPN and identity theft protection. Previously, Derek has covered tech issues at American City & County magazine, where he won numerous national awards for his cybersecurity coverage. His areas of expertise included network security, big data analytics, and AI applications in public safety. Derek graduated with dual bachelor’s degrees in English and Communications from Furman University and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and two cats.