Best Identity Theft Protection of 2024

Discover the best identity theft protection services for monitoring, coverage, alerts, and more to find the perfect option for you.

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5,000research hours
500+customers interviewed
20services reviewed
5experts consulted
10services recommended

Best Identity Monitoring

Aura Identity Theft Protection
SecureScore™: 9.5/10

Aura offers comprehensive identity protection and doubles as a VPN to help keep you safe online. It’s not the cheapest option, but you simply can’t beat Aura if you’re looking for robust protection that you can count on.

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Best Brand

LifeLock
SecureScore™: 9.6/10

Lifelock comes stacked with real-time threat alerts, robust credit monitoring, and a user-friendly app. It’s not cheap, but Lifelock customers will enjoy a 60-day money-back guarantee and 25% off of their first year of service.

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Best Overall Coverage

Identity Guard®
SecureScore™: 9.3/10

Identity Guard takes a high-tech approach to ID theft protection using cutting-edge artificial intelligence to combat the latest breeds of COVID-19 fraud. Our top-ranked, all-around identity monitoring service is now 33% off on all plans for a limited time only.

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Identity Theft Protection Compared

Recent News: Aura is giving current and former members of the military discounts on family plans. In addition to the 14-day trial, qualifying new subscribers can get the family plan for $30 per month, or if they pay yearly, $25 per month.

Identity Theft Protection Compared

The Best Identity Theft Protection Services of 2024

Compare Identity Theft Protection Services

  • 1. Aura Identity Theft Protection - Best Identity Monitoring

    SecureScore™ 9.5
    Customer Service
    9.6
    Value
    9.2
    Features & Services
    9.6
    Ease Of Use
    9.5
    SecureScore™
    9.5
    • Triple-bureau credit monitoring
    • Retirement/investment account monitoring
    • 1-Bureau monthly credit score
    • Antivirus/malware protection
    • Virtual private network function
    • A little pricey
    • With so many features, apps can be confusing to use
    • All plans offer the same features, so there are no more affordable subscription options

    Although relatively new to the identity theft protection space — it was founded in 2019 — Aura is already a fan-favorite.

    Aura plans start at a low price of $12 a month for individuals, 60 percent off of the service’s regular price. You’ll get a lot for that price, and even though it’s the cheapest option, it has the same features as the more expensive plans. The only difference is the coverage. The more expensive plans cater to families and couples, while the $12 subscription caters to individuals. Take a look at the features:

    • Account monitoring
    • Personal information monitoring
    • Dark web monitoring
    • Lost wallet remediation
    • Three-bureau credit monitoring
    • Monthly credit scores
    • Financial transaction monitoring
    • 401K monitoring
    • $1,000,000 identity theft insurance
    • Password manager
    • Antivirus
    • VPN
    Dark web Monitoring Yes
    Credit Protection Yes
    Family Plans Yes
    Insurance Coverage $1 million
    Free Trial 14-Day
    Guarantee 60-Day
  • 2. LifeLock - Best Brand

    SecureScore™ 9.6
    Customer Service
    9.6
    Value
    9.5
    Features & Services
    9.6
    Ease Of Use
    9.7
    SecureScore™
    9.6
    • Complete Cybersecurity Protections
    • Best-In-Class Identity Protections
    • Robust Credit Monitoring
    • Well-Designed App
    • Great Recovery and Restitution Options
    • Some Functions Only Work with Windows
    • Organization Can Be Overwhelming
    • Lower Tiers Offer Limited Protections

    If you’re familiar with identity theft protections, you’ve no doubt heard of LifeLock. They were one of the pioneers in this space, and some would argue that they brought identity theft into the everyday person’s lexicon.

    A few years ago LifeLock merged with Symantec — the people that brought you Norton antivirus software, and have since launched NortonLifeLock, which gives consumers the best of both worlds.

    With so many top-tier services on offer, we understand it can be difficult to decide which product or products might be right for you. To help you decide, you can read our comparison of NortonLifeLock and Identity Guard.

    NortonLifeLock’s service is a little pricey, but you can get up to 25-percent off on your first year of service, and as a bonus you get a VPN at no extra cost. To learn more about what they’re offering, including ways to save on premium identity protection, check out our guide to NortonLifeLock’s services and pricing plans.

    Dark Web Monitoring Yes
    Credit Protection Yes
    Family Plans Yes
    Insurance Coverage $1 million
    Free Trial 30-Day
    Guarantee 60-Day
  • 3. Identity Guard® - Best Coverage

    SecureScore™ 9.3
    Customer Service
    9.2
    Value
    9.3
    Features & Services
    9.3
    Ease Of Use
    9.4
    SecureScore™
    9.3
    • Best-in-Class Fraud Protection
    • Detailed Notifications and Alerts
    • Dynamic, AI-Driven Protections
    • Robust Credit Monitoring with Credit Lock Feature
    • Gamified Approach to Mitigating Risk
    • Plenty of Perks and Bonuses
    • Unique Tax Fraud Alerts
    • Limited Social Media Monitoring
    • Somewhat Pricey
    • App Could Use Updating

    Identity Guard is one of our favorite identity theft protection services on the market today for a reason. Depending on the plan you choose, you’ll get a full suite of robust protections the company has refined over 20 years of safeguarding households from fraudsters, including tax fraud alerts to protect you from the growing threat of COVID-19 unemployment scams. And now, for a limited time only, you can grab a premium Identity Guard package for 33% off.

    And when we say robust protections, we mean robust. When we tested Identity Guard’s top-tier protection plan, we found:

    • Data Breach Notifications
    • 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring
    • Bank Account Monitoring
    • 401k & Investment Account Monitoring
    • Home Title Monitoring
    • Dark Web Monitoring and More
    Dark Web Monitoring Yes
    Credit Protection Yes
    Family Plans Yes
    Insurance Coverage $1 million
    Free Trial 30-Day
    Guarantee 30-Day
  • 4. IdentityIQ - Best Credit Alerts

    SecureScore™ 9.3
    Customer Service
    9.2
    Value
    9.6
    Features & Services
    9.3
    Ease Of Use
    9.0
    SecureScore™
    9.3
    • Unique Monthly 3-Bureau Credit Reports
    • Advanced Malware and Virus Protection
    • Secure Browsing with Bitdefender (Total Security) VPN
    • Total Coverage
    • Extensive Planning Tools
    • Excellent Resource Library
    • High Price for Premium Service
    • No Mobile App
    • No Family Protection on Lower Tiers of Service
    • No Free Trial

    IdentityIQ takes identity theft monitoring seriously — particularly their credit monitoring. One of the things that immediately impressed us is that IdentityIQ offers 12 triple-bureau reports per year — basically, one every month, which is an unheard of amount in an industry where most competitors are only offering one per year. This is great news because incongruities in your credit reports are the earliest warning signs that your identity might be compromised. And right now you can get it for 10 percent off the regular price.

    Beyond that, IdentityIQ offers daily credit monitoring that will alert you to changes in addresses, personal information, the appearance of delinquent accounts, and the opening of new credit accounts or loans taken out in your name. They also monitor for unique items like fluctuations in collection balances, charge-offs, and new authorized card users. This comprehensive posture will all but ensure you’re going to know quickly if something suspicious is going on.

    Dark Web Monitoring Yes
    Credit Protection Yes
    Family Plans No
    Insurance Coverage $1 million
    Free Trial 7-Day
    Guarantee None
  • 5. McAfee ID Theft Protection - Best ID Theft Monitoring

    SecureScore™ 9.2
    Customer Service
    9.4
    Value
    9.3
    Features & Services
    8.7
    Ease Of Use
    9.2
    SecureScore™
    9.2
    • Excellent value
    • Comprehensive data breach protection
    • Dark web monitoring
    • Free VPN and password manager
    • Top-of-the-line browser security
    • Antivirus software on up to 50 devices
    • Parental controls with family plan
    • Up to $1 million in ID theft coverage
    • Single-bureau credit monitoring
    • Dicey customer support
    • Software bugs

    McAfee provides identity theft protection services without in-depth financial monitoring, which allows the company to offer its plans at highly affordable rates. In place of financial monitoring, McAfee provides a suite of online security tools including antivirus and a VPN.

    McAfee uses a proprietary algorithm to provide users with a Protection Score. This score takes into account information like how often you run antivirus scans on your devices, how safe your passwords are, and whether or not you’ve suffered a breach in the past. Basically, it lets you know whether there might be some holes in your security and offers you some helpful suggestions for improving your online safety overall.

    McAfee’s identity monitoring software scans both the web and dark web looking for signs that someone might have stolen your identity. If the company does find signs of a breach, it offers data cleanup and security freezes on your accounts to help minimize the damage. Finally, McAfee provides $1 million worth of restoration coverage for identity theft.

    Note that one of the biggest advantages of using McAfee is that you get access to the company’s award-winning antivirus software and an unlimited VPN. These tools help keep you safe now, so that you’re less likely to suffer identity theft in the first place. The company’s philosophy seems to be to protect customers on the front end and use theft monitoring as a sort of insurance just in case things should go wrong.

    Dark Web Monitoring Yes
    Credit Protection No
    Family Plans Yes
    Insurance Coverage $1 million
    Free Trial 30-Day
    Guarantee 30-Day
  • 6. IDShield - Best Family Plan

    SecureScore™ 8.8
    Customer Service
    8.9
    Value
    8.9
    Features & Services
    8.7
    Ease Of Use
    8.8
    SecureScore™
    8.8
    • Focus on Families
    • AI Technology Against Ransomware and Malware
    • Financial Threshold Alerts
    • Powerful Alert System
    • Reasonable Pricing
    • 24/7 customer service
    • Confusing Setup Process
    • No Credit Lock
    • Odd Design Choices

    ID Shield swiped up a gold CyberSecurity Excellence award in 2021 for stepping up to the plate with its Coronavirus Privacy and ID Theft Protection Resource Center for families coping with the heightened risk of ID fraud during the pandemic. That makes sense. Keeping families — and children — safe has always been a priority for ID Shield.

    Why would that be important? Glad you asked. Although they don’t have established financial lives, children are a prime target for identity thieves. The barriers to accessing their identities are usually few and far between, and the fraudster’s crimes usually go undetected for years. If you have children, you’re going to want to keep them protected.

    Thankfully, IDShield has you covered in that regard. With their top-tier family plan, you’ll get triple bureau credit monitoring, social security number alerts, dark web surveillance, bank account monitoring, and a whole host of other features to keep you and your loved ones safe.

    Along with its total credit monitoring and award-winning restoration services for scam victims, ID Shield now offers a virtual private network (VPN) and password manager, for complete online privacy.

    With all these new features, understanding which IDShield plan is right for you can get a little tricky, so we’ve created an easy-to-follow guide to IDShield’s pricing for individuals and families to help you out.

    Dark Web Monitoring Yes
    Credit Protection Yes
    Family Plans Yes
    Insurance Coverage $1 million
    Free Trial 30-Day
    Guarantee None
  • 7. ID Watchdog - Best Resolution Service

    SecureScore™ 8.7
    ID Watchdog Dashboard
    Customer Service
    9.0
    Value
    8.7
    Features & Services
    8.7
    Ease Of Use
    8.4
    SecureScore™
    8.7
    • Robust Credit Monitoring and Protections
    • Credit Lock Functionality
    • Identity Theft Insurance Covers 401(k) and Health Savings
    • Powerful Financial Monitoring
    • Extra Protections for Families With Children
    • Affordable Monthly Price
    • Glitchy Website
    • Underwhelming Mobile App
    • Stale Design

    While they’re not as well known as the identity theft protection services mentioned above, you really shouldn’t overlook ID Watchdog. This is a really solid service with a lot of great features, including up to $1 million in 401(k) and Health Savings Account (HSA) identity theft insurance. With health and employment fraud scams sweeping across the country, safeguarding our health plans should be on all of our ID protection checklists.

    When we reviewed ID Watchdog’s services, we found they really take credit and finances seriously. Their premium tier of service gives you access to your triple-bureau credit report while scanning all three bureaus for significant disruptions that might indicate identity theft. They also offer a multi-bureau, one-touch credit lock that effectively prevents bad actors from taking out lines of credit or applying for loans in your name. While this functionality isn’t unique to ID WatchDog, it’s not exactly common either.

    We weren’t exactly blown away with ID Watchdog’s user experience, but those stale design choices can be forgiven easily given their comprehensive protection and great benefits.

    Dark Web Monitoring Yes
    Credit Protection Yes
    Family Plans Yes
    Insurance Coverage $1 million
    Free Trial 30-Day
    Guarantee 60-Day
  • 8. Allstate Identity Protection - Best Proprietary Tool

    SecureScore™ 8.6
    Customer Service
    8.7
    Value
    8.2
    Features & Services
    8.6
    Ease Of Use
    9.0
    SecureScore™
    8.6
    • Powerful Financial Monitoring — Allstate allows users to monitor various different types of accounts and fine-tune your thresholds for alerts.
    • Digital Footprint Tool — this tool is unique to Allstate, and allows you to understand how distributed your information is across the internet.
    • Malware Protection — Allstate offers premium users access to software that will help prevent their computer from becoming infected with viruses.
    • Reimbursement for Stolen Tax Returns — if thieves manage to file your tax return and collect the funds, Allstate will reimburse the money.
    • Great Mobile App — While the desktop experience leaves something to be desired, the mobile app is intuitive and well-designed.
    • 30-Day Trial Period — if you’re not satisfied with the service, you can return it before 30 days for a full refund.
    • Single-Bureau Credit Monitoring — while most identity theft protection services monitor three credit bureaus, Allstate only monitors TransUnion.
    • No Associated Credit Tools — Allstate doesn’t allow you to see or track your credit score
    • Some Aspects of Service Weren’t Transparent — It can be difficult to understand what exactly is being tracked and how.

    Allstate Identity Protection’s plans cover traditional industry terrain, but they are bringing some unique offerings to the table, too — namely their “digital footprint” tool. This is honestly something we’ve never seen before. Allstate’s 30-day free trial on any package you choose is a good incentive to check it out.

    Allstate’s digital footprint tool compiles a list of all your active and dormant accounts, as well as keeps an eye on all your online activity, giving you a comprehensive visualization of your online presence. This is helpful in revealing which companies are collecting your data, and will also reveal any vulnerabilities in your security posture. This is a really interesting feature that’s not comparable to anything else on the market.

    That said, they do also offer some mainstays of the identity theft protection world. They offer proactive financial account monitoring as well as common identity theft protections like Social Security number tracing, dark web monitoring, and credit alerts. Keep in mind, though, that they only keep an eye on one credit bureau — that’s a tick in the cons category for us.

    However, they make up for that by offering another rarely-seen perk — stolen tax return reimbursement. A favorite vector of attack by identity thieves is to gather enough information to file a phony W-2 along with fraudulent taxes in your name — and walk away with a hefty refund while leaving you to prove to the IRS you aren’t a tax cheat. Allstate has you covered against W-2 fraud and against unemployment fraud with their brand new Unemployment Fraud Center.

    Dark Web Monitoring Yes
    Credit Protection Yes
    Family Plans Yes
    Insurance Coverage $1 million
    Free Trial 30-Day
    Guarantee None
  • 9. Zander Insurance - Most Affordable

    SecureScore™ 8.6
    Customer Service
    8.6
    Value
    9.1
    Features & Services
    8.2
    Ease Of Use
    8.6
    SecureScore™
    8.6
    • Extremely Affordable
    • Specialists Handle Recovery Work
    • AntiVirus & Malware Protection Included
    • Powerful Dark Web Monitoring
    • Endorsed by Dave Ramsey
    • No Credit Monitoring
    • Poorly Designed App
    • Outdated Design

    When we tested and reviewed Zander, we found it to be a bit of an unusual service, but certainly worth including on our list. Their philosophy is that by the time your credit is impacted by identity theft, the damage has already been done. So, instead of focusing on that side of things, they instead prioritize identity protections like financial account monitoring, social security number alerts, and dark web scanning.

    While we’re not entirely convinced credit monitoring isn’t worthwhile (it is in our opinion!), we do have to commend them for their efforts to protect their users’ identities in other ways. Their dark web monitoring is comprehensive, and the list of personally identifying information Zander protects is exhaustive.

    They also do a great job with their notifications and education. With some services, you’ll get a ping that, say, your email address has shown up in a dark web marketplace, or your account activity is unusual. Zander takes it a step further and tells you if the alert should be cause for alarm, and lets you know what steps you should take to mitigate risk. They also offer a well-stocked library of resources to help you understand identity theft and prevent it from occurring.

    There’s a unique advantage that stems from Zander’s lack of credit monitoring: Zander is the most affordable identity theft solution on the market today. As a company, Zander has also done a lot to help families struggling through the pandemic, and has been awarded for its work. To learn more about their ID theft service, check out our complete guide to Zander’s pricing and security features. To learn more about what they offer, check out our guide to Zander’s pricing and services.

    Dark Web Monitoring Yes
    Credit Protection Yes
    Family Plans Yes
    Insurance Coverage $1 million
    Free Trial None
    Guarantee None
  • 10. IdentityForce - Best Customer Service

    SecureScore™ 8.5
    IdentityForce Dashboard
    Customer Service
    8.7
    Value
    8.6
    Features & Services
    8.3
    Ease Of Use
    8.4
    SecureScore™
    8.5
    • Comprehensive, 24/7 Identity Theft Monitoring
    • 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring, Scoring, Reporting
    • Cyberbullying, Phishing, and Ransomware Reimbursement
    • Exclusive Digital Safety Protections for Families
    • Extremely Detailed Reports
    • Actionable Notifications
    • Excellent Desktop Interface with Intuitive Design
    • VPN Access Through Mobile App
    • Underwhelming Mobile App
    • Somewhat High Price Tag
    • No External Frills

    What immediately impressed us when we reviewed IdentityForce was how well it was designed. We’ve put a lot of these services through their paces, and many come up short when it comes to user experience. Not so with IdentityForce. Everything feels intentional, and we never had to go hunting for specific functionality — everything was at our fingertips.

    The family plan is their most popular offering, and for good reason. Child identity theft is soaring in the U.S. New studies show that about 1.25 million kids were victims of ID theft in 2021, with the average payout per family climbing to $1,100.1 As social media expands into the metaverse, where seamless transactions demand instant access to our sensitive information, our unprotected children will be the softest targets. Thankfully, IdentityForce now includes up to $25,000 in reimbursement per child for cyberbullying, ransomware, and phishing attacks. It’s no wonder, the company has earned a Parent Rated Parent Approved (PRPA) Seal of Approval for eight years running.

    Check out our roundup of IdentityForce pricing and services for more information.

    Dark Web Monitoring Yes
    Credit Protection Yes
    Family Plans Yes
    Insurance Coverage $1 million
    Free Trial 30-Day
    Guarantee None
  • 11. Experian IdentityWorks - Best Credit Bureau Integration

    SecureScore™ 8.3
    Experian IdentityWorks - Account Overview
    Customer Service
    8.0
    Value
    8.4
    Features & Services
    8.5
    Ease Of Use
    8.4
    SecureScore™
    8.3
    • Excellent 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring
    • Credit Lock Feature
    • Automatically Boost Credit Score
    • 30-Day Free Trial
    • Well-designed App
    • Flawed Sex Offender Monitoring
    • Unreliable Court Record Monitoring
    • Ads Present

    As you’d expect, we found in our Experian IdentityWorks review that it has some of the best credit monitoring available since they’re brought to you by one of the big three reporting bureaus. Not only do they offer great reporting on your scores, but they also offer related tools like a robust credit score simulator and even an “Experian Boost” which adds utility and phone bill payment histories to your credit file. The average person sees a 12-point positive change in their credit score after this boost, which can make a huge difference if you’re trying to buy a car or a home.

    They also offer a one-touch lock for your Experian credit file, which, as we mentioned before, is a powerful tool in preventing bad actors from establishing credit or securing loans in your name — super helpful functionality here that we’d really like to see more widely adopted.

    And finally, Experian IdentityWorks also offers one of the best apps we’ve seen on the market today. It’s well-designed and intuitive and doesn’t just feel like a port of the desktop user experience. This intentionality is what sets it apart and makes it — dare we say — fun to use. And, to top it off, you can get complete family protection for up to 10 dependents.

    Like most services on our list, Experian IdentityWorks has several different tiers of service. Read our Experian IdentityWorks pricing roundup to better understand which might be the right one for you.

    Dark Web Monitoring Yes
    Credit Protection Yes
    Family Plans Yes
    Insurance Coverage $1 million
    Free Trial 30-Day
    Guarantee None
  • 12. Complete ID - Best Child Plans

    SecureScore™ 7.9
    CompleteID Credit Monitoring
    Customer Service
    7.2
    Value
    8.7
    Features & Services
    7.7
    Ease Of Use
    7.9
    SecureScore™
    7.9
    • Robust Monitoring Features
    • Low Cost for Included Services
    • Excellent Child Protections
    • Backed by Experian
    • Impressive Credit Monitoring Tools
    • Great Recovery Package
    • Must Be Costco Member to Subscribe
    • Functionality Can be Spotty
    • Underwhelming Mobile Experience

    The threat of identity theft is growing, and in response, some companies are offering protections to their team members and patrons as a perk. Costo is one of those forward-thinking organizations, offering Complete ID to help protect its members from bad actors and fraudsters.

    And this isn’t some marketing ploy or cheap gimmick. Complete ID is powered by Experian, so you know the protections are going to be comprehensive. You get dark web surveillance, financial account takeover alerts, social security, criminal record and payday loan monitoring as well as triple-bureau credit monitoring, monthly VantageScore updates, and credit alters.

    When we reviewed Complete ID, we found that their protections rival the best in the business — and you can see exactly how they stack up by reading our Complete ID vs. NortonLifeLock comparison.

    As for the elephant in the room — yes, you do have to be a Costco member to be eligible for Complete ID. However, a basic Costco membership is about $60 per year, or $5 per month. Complete ID memberships start at $8.99 per month, so all said, you’d be looking at $13.99 per month total. That’s still significantly less than some of the more pricey services on our list — and you’ll be able to buy two dozen cans of baked beans for a nickel whenever you want. That’s a pretty good perk in our book. There are a few more ins and outs, but we explain it all in our Complete ID pricing guide.

    Dark Web Monitoring Yes
    Credit Protection Yes
    Family Plans Yes
    Insurance Coverage $1 million
    Free Trial 30-Day
    Guarantee None
  • 13. IDnotify - Best First Year Plan

    SecureScore™ 7.3
    Customer Service
    7
    Value
    7.9
    Features & Services
    7.5
    Ease Of Use
    6.6
    SecureScore™
    7.3
    • Monthly Credit Snapshot
    • Real-Time Alerts and Reports
    • VantageScore Simulator
    • Backed by Experian
    • Robust Financial Planning Tools
    • No Free Trial
    • Somewhat Pricey
    • Buggy Sex Offender Monitoring
    • Uninspired Social Media Monitoring
    • Lackluster App

    Another service offered by Experian, IDnotify places on our list due to their exceptional real-time credit monitoring and financial tools. For folks looking to better understand why their credit score is what it is and what they can do to improve it, look no further — IDnotify has you covered.

    However, that isn’t all IDnotify has going for it. Their premier tier of service also offers a complete suite of identity protections including some deep tracks not usually seen in common services including court record monitoring, payday loan monitoring, and change of address alerts. These are all helpful features for folks looking to ensure they are protected from every avenue.

    While there are a few notable flaws we found in our IDnotify review — namely the sex offender monitoring is flawed and the app is a little wonky — we’d still recommend this service to anyone looking for complete protection from a reputable source, especially if you’ve got a family.

    There are several tiers of protection offered, so be sure to read our IDnotify pricing resource to get a better understanding of what they bring to the table.

    Dark Web Monitoring Yes
    Credit Protection Yes
    Family Plans Yes
    Insurance Coverage $1 million
    Free Trial None
    Guarantee None
  • 14. AllClear ID - Best for Employers

    SecureScore™ 7.3
    Customer Service
    7.7
    Value
    7.4
    Features & Services
    7.0
    Ease Of Use
    7.0
    SecureScore™
    7.3
    • Child Scan Monitoring – this is great for families, as children’s identities are frequently stolen.
    • Unique Medical ID Monitoring — this is a feature that we haven’t seen with other services.
    • Real-Time Fraud Alerts — with this feature, you’ll know any time changes are made to your credit reports and linked accounts.
    • Comprehensive Employee Privacy Protections — AllClear ID protections are mainly used as a benefit for employees, so if you’re a company owner you can offer it as a perk.
    • Reasonable Price — AllClear ID costs just $14.95 per month.
    • Single Bureau Credit Reporting — Triple-Bureau credit monitoring is the gold standard and unfortunately not the default with AllClear ID
    • Convoluted Alerts — Once you receive alerts, they might come in triplicate
    • Lack of Features — While AllClear ID gets the basics right, more advanced features like retirement account monitoring and VPN services are missing.

    AllClear ID has been delivering industry-leading ID protection products and services since 2004. They mainly help businesses of all sizes keep their employees safe. But, on the individual side, one thing we noticed right away when we reviewed All Clear was the attention they paid to our privacy.

    When you’re dealing with a company that’s asking for access to all of your most private information (bank accounts, social security number, logins, etc.), it’s important to have faith that they’re actually safeguarding it. Right out the gate, AllClear ID’s multi-factor authentication processes made us feel that we were truly in safe hands.

    To get a better idea of exactly what’s offered with their plans and for what price, head over to our AllClear ID packages and pricing page.

    Dark Web Monitoring Yes
    Credit Protection Yes
    Family Plans Yes
    Insurance Coverage $1 million
    Free Trial None
    Guarantee None

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is a huge umbrella term for a variety of different kinds of fraud, but they all have one thing in common — the criminal poses as someone else (ie, you) for material gain. That could be as sophisticated as using RFID sniffers to lift bank card information from your wallet without your knowledge, or it could be as simple as the local ne’er-do-well looking over your shoulder at the ATM to get your PIN.

Did You Know? The term “identity theft” was first coined in 1964.

There are various types of identity theft as well. You’re probably familiar with social security identity theft, where a thief gets his hands on your SSN to open new accounts in your name, or financial identity theft, where a fraudster fakes your credentials to break into your accounts. But there are other, more nefarious types of identity theft that you might be unaware of.

Types of Identity Theft

Ever heard of criminal identity theft? This is where an identity thief will spoof your identity as insurance before they commit a crime. If they’re caught, they use your personally identifying information (PII) and once they make bail, it’s you who the cops are coming after with a warrant.

Or what about estate identity theft? This is where an enterprising criminal steals the information of a recently deceased individual and uses their new identity to open up new lines of credit, take out loans, or access government benefits. Since the identity theft victim is deceased, these crimes often go unnoticed and unresolved.

FYI: It’s estimated that around 2.5 million identities are stolen every year from the deceased.

One more for you — medical identity theft. This is where an individual assumes the identity of another in order to commit insurance fraud or even receive medical care using the victim’s name. This one is particularly insidious because it can drive your insurance premiums through the roof, or even have your coverage canceled altogether.

ID theft is particularly frightening because the majority of identity theft victims do not realize what’s happened until it’s negatively affected them. What would you do if you received a call from a collections agent looking to resolve a debt you were unaware existed?

The best way is to prevent it from happening in the first place. That means being proactive about your protection. Don’t passively sit by thinking it won’t happen to you.

Did You Know? The odds of becoming the victim of identity theft are about 1 in 15. So it can happen to anyone.

First, pay attention to the warning signs. If something seems out of the ordinary, don’t shrug it off. If you’re receiving bills for services you don’t use or credit cards you didn’t apply for, it could be an indicator that your identity has become compromised.

Second, make sure you’re practicing safe habits both online and in real life. Shred anything that has personally identifying information on it before you throw it away, and be careful when shopping or browsing online. Don’t share your personal information over social media, and make sure you’re using strong, unique passwords on all your accounts.

Finally, consider investing in an identity theft protection service from a reputable vendor like NortonLifeLock, Identity Guard, or IdentityForce. The peace of mind these services offer is worth its weight in gold, and their reimbursement and remediation services ensure that should you fall victim, you’ll be able to quickly recover.

What is Identity Theft Protection?

Identity theft protection is a catch-all term that refers to a whole suite of services. These services range from social security and credit monitoring, to dark web and financial monitoring, and so much more.

Identity Guard Dashboard

An example of our top-rated Identity Theft Protection Service, Identity Guard’s dashboard.

Many people turn off when they hear the term “identity theft protection.” It sounds downright complicated and unnecessary, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that identity theft protection is actually very simple to understand. And it’s quite necessary if you want to keep your good name, credit, finances, and other important matters safe and secure.

Identity Theft Protection FAQs

 FAQ List Image
  • How common is identity theft?

    Unfortunately, identity theft is far more common than most people think. It’s estimated that approximately 10 million Americans succumb to the rising threat year after year. However, there’s really no way of knowing the true number of identity theft incidents, as many victims don’t report their experience to the authorities. This means the real number of identity theft crimes in America might be reaching well beyond 10 million. The bottom line: identity theft is all-too-common.

  • What type of identity theft is most common?

    According to the findings of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, the most common type of identity theft is government documents and benefits fraud. This accounts for 34% of all reported cases. After that, credit card fraud isn’t far behind, making up 17% of cases. Phone and utilities fraud is the third most common type of identity theft (14%), followed by bank fraud (8%) and employment related fraud (6%), with loan fraud bringing up the rear (4%).

  • If my identity is stolen, how will I know?

    Sure enough, if your identity is stolen, you’ll find out sooner or later. Hopefully it’s sooner, as this gives you time to cancel credit cards, alert credit bureaus, and take other necessary steps to mitigate damage. Here are a few ways you might find out your identity is stolen:

    • You check your credit and realize your score has suddenly dipped or dropped without explanation
    • Your credit report shows signs of opened accounts or credit lines, or failed attempts, that you did not initiate
    • You receive a bill from a creditor that you didn’t sign up with
    • You suddenly stop receiving mail altogether, signaling change of address fraud
    • You notice suspicious activity on social media linked to your name
    • Your name pulls up in court records for a crime you didn’t commit
    • You find there’s a warrant out for your arrest
    • And this just scratches the surface
  • What can I do to protect my identity?

    Although there’s no substitute for identity theft protection services, there are many precautions you can take to protect your identity. Here are a handful of ideas to help you on your way:

    • Use discretion. Only submit your information on trusted sites that you feel comfortable sharing. Never over-share, and always stop to consider why the website needs the information it’s requesting.

    • Check URLs. Although you think you’re on Visa’s official homepage, it could be a counterfeit site operated by cybercriminals. Check to make sure the URL in the search bar is official and legitimate.

    • Only use a secure WiFi connection. This one cannot be stressed enough. When out in public, at cafes and other places, only connect to a secure WiFi signal. This will stop criminals from hacking into your system and stealing your sensitive information as you browse websites, shop online, and interact on social media.

    • Ensure your computer and other devices are equipped with anti-virus and malware software that monitor threats to keep you safe online.

    • Shred, don’t toss! Shred any and all documents containing your personal information. Tossing them in the trash isn’t good enough. Criminals will stop at nothing to get their grubby hands on the personal information of others, and that includes digging through the dump.

    • Monitor your accounts daily. Monitor your bank account, credit card accounts, and credit reports every day looking for suspicious activity. Even if you see a suspicious charge for 50 cents, look into it, as criminals often start small before they drain the account.

    • Be wary of giving out sensitive information over the phone, especially in public spaces.

    • Use ATMs with caution. Criminals use a tactic called ‘skimming’ to steal credit card information. If the ATM or card reader looks fly-by-night, keep your card in your wallet or purse. Also, if your card doesn’t easily slide in and out of the machine, do not proceed.

  • Why can’t I protect my own identity?

    As mentioned above, you can protect your own identity, to a point. For instance, if you find a fraudulent charge on your bank statement, you can call in and have the charge removed. But identity theft protection services go way beyond that by offering everything from SSN monitoring to dark web monitoring, social monitoring, and more. And they even offer impressive insurance policies in the event you need to pay legal fees and the like. These are all things you simply cannot do on your own. To sum it up, you can take basic steps to protect your own identity by being vigilant, but professional services will monitor billions of online data points to keep your name, credit, and finances clean as a whistle. Of course, if you do become a victim on their watch, the service foots the bill to get you back to pre-fraud status.

  • Won’t my bank protect me from identity theft?

    In the event of financial fraud, the bank will most likely reverse the charges immediately. However, there are several types of identity theft that your bank won’t touch with a ten-foot pole. For instance, the bank cannot monitor your social accounts, your SSN, the dark web, court reports, credit reports, and the list goes on. Bottom line: do not rely on the bank to bail you out of identity theft unless it’s a simple fraudulent charge to your account.

  • My identity was stolen, now what?
    • Step 1: Stay calm and try to keep your composure
    • Step 2: Freeze any and all accounts that have been compromised
    • Step 3: File an official report of the identity theft
    • Step 4: Contact the credit agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion), notify them of the fraud, and put fraud alerts on your credit report.
    • Step 5: Continue to monitor your accounts daily

    Now, these are the most important steps to take immediately after you become a victim of identity theft. But there are other things to consider, like blocking companies from reporting fraudulent activity on your credit report, reporting the identity theft to local law enforcement as well as the FTC, and contacting your medical care provider to ensure the fraudster isn’t receiving healthcare in your name.

  • What’s the difference between identity theft restoration, insurance, and a guarantee?

    Great question. People often get these three completely different features confused with one another. So this should clear up any confusion.

    • Identity Theft Restoration — A service many ID protection plans offer that puts a team of professionals in your corner to help cancel compromised credit cards and other accounts, and begin to restore your credit score to pre-fraud status. These services take the reins during an emotionally difficult time. Think home restoration — when a home is restored, it’s not exactly like it was when it was first built, but it’s new and transformed in all the best ways. This feature is not to be missed.
    • Identity Theft Insurance — A policy of up to $1 million in insurance that covers the steep price of restoring your good name, credit, and finances. For instance, legal fees are covered by identity theft insurance. And good thing, as legal fees can rack up quite the tab pretty quickly. The best identity theft protection services offer $1 million insurance packages, but this varies from company to company. Go with the highest-dollar insurance you can find. (See our ‘Identity Theft Insurance’ section below).
    • 100% Guarantee — A guarantee shows that the identity theft company stands behind their service. Well, sort of. Unfortunately, a ‘guarantee’ is all-too-subjective, and doesn’t have a dollar amount attached to it. If a company ‘guarantees’ to restore your identity, there are typically no mechanisms in place to ensure it happens in a certain time frame, or to the exact specifications that you are happy with. A guarantee is helpful, but don’t stake your entire identity on it. Be sure to also sign up with restoration and insurance.
  • What is medical identity theft?

    This form of identity theft happens when a criminal gets a hold of your insurance information. Instead of draining your bank account, they will try to get healthcare, operations, prescription drugs, and other medical-related benefits that belong to you. Of course, nothing in life is free, so when the dust finally settles, the deductibles and claims fall on the shoulders of the victim. The top identity theft services offer medical identity theft protection, which is especially helpful for seniors who use their insurance cards more than the average person.

  • What is a data breach?

    We read it in the newspaper and see it on TV. A high-profile company suddenly loses half its stock, a large swathe of customers, and its brand image due to a data breach. But what exactly is a data breach? A data breach, data leak, or data spill are three names for the same unfortunate calamity. By definition, a data breach is what you call the unintentional (or intentional!) disclosure of important, sensitive information to an unsecured environment. When the term is used in the context of identity theft, it refers to when a cybercriminal infiltrates or hacks into a database (or other ostensibly protected data source) and steals the information to then use fraudulently. If the criminal does not use the information himself, he will likely sell it or trade it on the dark web. A data breach is a big deal, and the reason why every business should consider an identity theft protection service.

  • What is synthetic identity theft?

    Synthetic identity theft is a new-ish form of identity theft, and considered the perfect, victimless crime by many cybercriminals. Synthetic identity theft occurs when a fraudster creates a fictitious identity from scratch. Fake names, addresses, credit card information, you name it. Sometimes they will create a synthetic identity around one source of legitimate identification, such as a social security number. This type of fraud is especially difficult to track, which is yet another reason why it’s best to leave it to the professionals.

  • Is credit monitoring worth it?

    Many of the higher rated identity theft plans include credit monitoring, while others offer it as an add-on for an additional monthly fee. Credit monitoring can absolutely be worth the extra cost, especially if you are looking to buy a home in the near future. Sure, there are ways to check your credit report often, but those will cost you nearly as much as a full-on identity theft protection plan with this feature included. Also, it’s nice to not have to manually monitor the reports yourself. You could miss inquiries, or simply become complacent and forget to check it often. A protection plan that offers credit monitoring will keep a hawk-eye on your credit report, day and night, and send real-time alerts if suspicious activity is detected. So it’s ultimately up to you, but we recommend considering this feature when shopping for fraud protection.

  • Does identity theft hurt your credit score?

    In a word, yes. Identity theft can hurt your credit, especially if it goes undetected. When a fraudster attempts to open lines of credit or purchase big-ticket items using your social security number, it counts as an inquiry on your credit report. With each and every inquiry, your credit score is dinged. It turns from bad to worse if the criminal is approved and they don’t pay the bill (and they won’t pay the bill, promise). If undetected, the account will eventually go to collections, resulting in a massive hit to your credit score, up to 100 points or more. However, if you detect the fraudulent activity in time, you can reach out to the credit agencies to have the activity blocked and the inquiries removed. The best identity theft protection services monitor your credit and streamline the process of getting fraudulent activity cleaned up.

  • What is a ‘credit freeze’?

    A credit freeze or security freeze is when you ask the credit agencies to completely freeze or block your credit file. When frozen, businesses cannot even check your credit score or report, which means no new accounts can be opened. So when Mr. fraudster is at the Mercedes dealership salivating over that new SLS AMG model, they’ll be met with a hard “NO” when it comes time to get the keys. Many businesses will even alert the authorities when they sense suspicious activity like this. While credit freezes can be helpful at times, they should only be used when necessary, as your credit file is closed to the bad guys and the good guys.

Identity Theft Protection Reviews and Our Process

Not all identity theft plan reviews are created equal. Many just scratch the surface. When searching for identity theft reviews online, you will likely come across fly-by-night websites and forums where people share their stories. While sometimes these can be helpful, they can also be incredibly misleading.

Anecdotal reviews and thoughts about a product or service are often times biased, not representative of the average experience (outliers), and are not informed by years of expertise about the industry, product, or service. That’s why it’s important to read professional reviews, like the ones we deliver day after day.

We have carefully recruited a team of experts in various categories (home security, identity theft, and others) so that we only publish highly-informed, expert reviewed content. In this case, we start with in-depth identity theft protection research. We consider industry trends, new products and features, and consumer habits. We dig in and look at the product or service from every angle, and in many cases, we test it ourselves.

Then we have our panel of leading experts in the field of identity theft review the service and run it through their rigorous vetting process. They report on the facts only, they cut the fluff, and then they offer their honest and objective advice.

This detailed and intensive review process leads us to our proprietary SecureScore™. The SecureScore™ takes our methodical approach to identity theft protection reviews, and breaks it down into distinct categories, with a score for each category. And of course, each of these categories are extremely important for consumers who are shopping for a quality identity theft protection service.

Through it all, we must research, test, and publish reviews that are of the highest quality. This helps us to remain a top resource for curious people like you. The trust factor cannot be overstated, and trust must be maintained at all costs. That’s why everything we write and review, we do it with you in mind.

When it comes to reviewing identity theft protection services, here are the foundational values that we take very seriously.

  • Objective
  • Reliable
  • Helpful
  • Honest
  • Trustworthy

Our goal in publishing identity theft protection reviews is to educate you, the consumer, so that you can make an informed and educated buying decision. We care that you find a product or service that fits with your lifestyle and within your budget. In fact, that’s what drives us to become the #1 resource for all things home and personal security.

And we couldn’t be happier to have you along for the journey.

Citations
SafeHome.org only uses high-quality sources to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Kitten, Tracy. (2021, Nov 2). Child Identity Fraud: A Web of Deception and Loss. Javelin.
    https://www.javelinstrategy.com/coverage-area/child-identity-theft-fraud

  2. Federal Trade Commission. (2021, Feb 4). New Data Shows FTC Received 2.2 Million Fraud Reports from Consumers in 2020.
    https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2021/02/new-data-shows-ftc-received-2-2-million-fraud-reports-consumers

  3. Office of Inspector General. (2020). Semiannual Report to Congress.
    https://www.oig.dol.gov/public/semiannuals/84.pdf

Written By
Max Sheridan
Identity Theft Protection Expert

Max Sheridan brings over two decades of writing experience to our team. He has spent 1,000-plus hours researching VPNs, identity theft protection, and various topics in cyber technology. Previously, Max was an investigative journalist, and he is also a published novelist. He earned a B.A. in Classics from the University of Virginia and an M.A. in Classics from the University of Illinois. He currently lives in Nicosia, Cyprus.