As you know, there are millions of cases of fraud every year in this country. According to some experts, as many as one-third of U.S. adults will fall victim to some form of identity theft in their lifetime, and things are only getting worse.1
While that sounds scary, it doesn’t have to be if you’re proactive about identity protection. There are numerous identity theft prevention solutions out there, but some are better than others. In this review, we’re going to be taking an in-depth look at one of the services in that “better” category — IdentityForce. Before we get started though, let’s take a look at some quick pros and cons.
From the start, IdentityForce immediately impressed us. Their website is well-designed and has a ton of useful information. Of course, it’s all geared toward convincing you to purchase their product, but still — the amount of content here is commendable. Just from looking at their site, you get the feeling these folks are leaders in the identity theft solution space, and that immediately inspires a lot of confidence.
We went ahead and selected IdentiyForce’s UltraSecure+Credit plan. It’s a little pricey at $23.99 per month, but as the saying goes — you get what you pay for. While the basic plan affords some protection for $17.99 per month, UltraSecure+Credit comes with the features we really wanted.
Honestly, if you’re looking to purchase identity theft protection, we wouldn’t recommend anything that doesn’t include three-bureau credit monitoring. IdenityForce’s basic plan and others that only offer one-bureau monitoring are, simply put, incomplete protection. You wouldn’t deadbolt your door, but leave the window wide open, would you?
With that in mind, here are the latest plans and pricing from IdentityForce.
|Advanced Fraud Monitoring||Yes||Yes|
|Dark Web Monitoring||Yes||Yes|
|Social Media Monitoring||Yes||Yes|
|3 Bureau Credit Monitoring||No||Yes|
|3 Bureau Credit Reports||No||Yes|
|Credit Score Tracker||No||Yes|
|Price||$17.99 per month||$23.99 per month|
Just to give you some context, IdentityForce is a little north of the middle in terms of pricing. There are cheaper options out there, like IDShield or Identity Guard — the former’s basic plan will set you back $14 per month, and the latter only $9. If you’re looking to spend more, there are more premium services like LifeLock, but that goes for around $30 per month.
After clicking “sign me up,” we were prompted to enter some really basic personal information and to select our billing frequency. Note that the first 30 days are free, but after the 30-day free trial you’ll be charged on either an annual or monthly basis. Annual will save you about 60 bucks over the course of the year, but if you’re not willing to commit for that long, you can select monthly — that’s what we went with since we’re comparison shoppers by nature.
On the next screen, we entered our credit card information and agreed to IdentifyForce’s terms and conditions. Once complete, we were given a confirmation of purchase and were prompted to provide our sensitive data like phone numbers and social security information. We know… it’s riveting. But we recommend being as thorough as possible here; don’t just fill in only what’s required. While it might seem tedious, you want to get your money’s worth!
Did You Know: IdentityForce continually monitors the Dark Web,2 chat rooms, public records databases, and other sources to detect potential fraud. The more information you give them upfront, the more complete your protection will be.
After entering all of our personal information, we were happy to see that IdentityForce provides two-factor authentication for additional security. Small things like this show us that a company is serious about ID theft. We had our code sent to our cell phone and it processed quickly. Here we were also able to set our notification preferences. Since we’d be setting up the app later, we decided to skip that for now.
Alright! Now that we were all set entering the information we wanted to monitor, we were redirected to our dashboard.
We were pleased to see that each element had a box expanded explaining what each element of the dashboard is and how it functions. Believe it or not, some services sort of make you fend for yourself once you get to this step. While it’s usually not that complicated, we do appreciate a little hand-holding, and we think you will too.
Now that we’d oriented ourselves, it was time to drill into IdentityForce’s features and functionality. Even after entering all of our information at registration, our protection status percentage — which we found at the bottom of the screen — was an uncomfortably low 43 percent.
As you may know, we’ve been doing this a long time. And we like to think we’re better protected than the average Joe. So what’s with 43%? To be honest, we’re not really sure how IdentityForce figures this number, so let’s just take it with a grain of salt for now.
We figured the best place to start was with our credit monitoring. Three-bureau protection is why we selected this plan in the first place, after all.
FYI: There are multiple types of credit reports. The most widely used are reported by the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.3
To initiate monitoring, we authenticated our account by agreeing to some more terms and services, re-entering our social security number, and activating the service. Once that was done, we had to answer some security questions.
Did You Know: These security questions are generated using the data IdentityForce is monitoring, and they’re meant to be confusing. And be warned — if you mess this up too many times, you can get locked out of your account.
Once our service was activated, we were really impressed with how much detail was available to us. Some services really skimp on this, but IdentityForce lets us view our credit reports in overwhelming detail, explains exactly why our credit scores are what they are, and tracks them month over month for us. Worth noting, though, the tracker only pulls data from TransUnion; it’s not a combined score from all major credit bureaus. It’s not a huge deal, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t point that out.
We’d love to show you the detail IdentityForce provided us with, but our photo editor would get a migraine censoring all of our sensitive information. Trust us when we say this is the gold standard of what you’re looking for in a credit monitoring service. In fact, it’s similar to what we’ve seen from other top options like Identity Guard.
Another interesting feature that we think you’ll like is IdentityForce’s Credit Score Simulator. Here we could play around with a tremendous amount of factors that go into calculating our score. Again, we could only play with our TransUnion score, but we could see how adding a personal loan or canceling a card would impact our score. We could see this service being really valuable for someone looking to buy a home or improve their credit score for other reasons. Major points for IdentityForce, here.
After playing around with creative ways to absolutely trash our good credit (here’s a hint, don’t raise your credit card balance by 500 percent while declaring bankruptcy) we moved over to the final item on the credit score and reports page — Freeze my Credit. A quick note on this, if you’ll allow us to get on our soapbox for just a second.
Your credit should always be frozen unless you are actively attempting to secure a loan. While it’s not commonly known, a credit freeze is simple and free — you just have to contact the three bureaus and request they do it. Some identity theft protection services, like IDWatchdog, will do this for you, but however you do it, you should get it done. A credit lock prevents bad actors from taking out new lines of credit in your name and is one of the most simple, effective ways average folks can prevent identity theft.
That said — IdentityForce doesn’t actually manage the freeze for you, it simply directs you to each of the credit bureau’s websites where you can do it yourself. It’s beyond the scope of this review to start talking about each bureau’s user experience, but suffice it to say, it’s not too big of a headache. Unless you’re planning on buying a house or a car in the near future, we highly recommend you take this step.
Did You Know: A credit freeze is different from a credit lock. A lock can be lifted immediately, while a freeze takes a little more time to lift. On the flip side, a freeze might afford certain legal protections that a lock may not.4
Alright, now that we had our credit frozen at all three bureaus, we moved on to setting up our financial monitoring. This was a relatively easy process, but rather than connect directly to the account like other services, IdentityForce had us manually input our card numbers, account numbers, and routing numbers.
On the one hand, this is a little frustrating because we know how simple it is to link accounts using other services, but on the other, this is good for additional security.
Other services we’ve used typically connect to banking institutions using third-party vendors, and the more players involved in a transaction like that, the bigger the threat. Was this IdentityForce’s reasoning, though? Oddly enough, when we set up transaction monitoring, we connected directly to our bank using IdentityForce’s connection vendor Thawte. We’re sure there’s a reason behind this, but from a user-experience standpoint, it feels a little inconsistent. Just something to note.
Once that was set up, we were able to see all of our account information and transactions from our dashboard. Again, we can’t show you this, so you’ll just have to take our word for it when we tell you it’s very detailed. After that, we were able to set up our alert notifications and tether those to thresholds for purchases, withdrawals, transfers, and other types of money-moving. For instance, we could choose to be notified whenever a withdrawal over $200 is made from our checking account. We also really like that they monitor for duplicate transitions — while they aren’t super common, they do happen, and unless you’re checking your accounts every day, they can slip by unnoticed.
Once that was done, we noticed that we had some notifications under the “identity” category. Uh oh — better look into that.
We’d really like to commend IdentityForce here. We’ve put a lot of these services through their paces, and it’s rare that we come across one whose notifications are as detailed and helpful as IdentityForce. They told us what the alert is, why we were getting it, what we should do, and the details of each issue. The alert system’s actionable nature made us feel like we were really in the driver’s seat with all of this.
Once we got through the notifications and made the necessary adjustments (password is now changed, thank you very much) we headed over to the final category of protection — social media.
Here we were able to link our accounts among the platforms IdentityForce supports. For those keeping score, that would be Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. The process was super easy — just make sure you have your pop-up blocker disabled on the site and click through allowing IdentityForce access to the account. Simple enough!
Once we had our accounts activated, we could select what types of monitoring we’d like performed including inappropriate activity, malware and phishing attempts, impersonation, and account hacking activity. We went with the full gamut just to see if IdentityForce turned anything up. And we were surprised to see the Hacked Account alert.
We checked out the post in question and it was fine. Off-color? Perhaps. Obvious hacking? Not so much. Honestly, we’re not exactly sure why it was flagged as a hacking attempt, but we’d always rather be safe than sorry. Appreciate you lookin’ out, IdentityForce.
So after we had the core functionality established and rolling, we started looking around for some other bells and whistles. We were a little disappointed to find very little in extra perks. Many identity protection services offer some pretty significant add-ons like IDShield’s sex offender monitoring or LifeLock’s VPN access, but aside from a “resources” tab, that was about it with IdentityForce.
To be fair, the resource tab is pretty neat. It offers several different tools to help us make informed buying decisions including loan comparison, debt consolidation, mortgage qualification, credit card comparison, auto financing, and mortgage refinancing calculators. Not what we were expecting, but a pretty cool bonus. Overall we were happy with everything IdentityForce offered, but still, for the price point, we expected just a little more.
The company has recently added some functionality to its identity theft protection service, making an already solid product even better. Let’s take a look at the recent additions:
Now that we’ve unpacked all of IdentityForce’s features and offerings, let’s take a minute to discuss the support they offer. Should we become the victim of identity theft, we felt confident knowing that they offer fully managed restoration and recovery services from certified experts that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These specialists complete the paperwork, make the calls, and do the grunt work to ensure customers’ identities are restored. IdentityForce isn’t alone with these restoration offerings, but these are among the best we’ve seen.
Also keep in mind that the company’s standard insurance policy covers up to $1 million per member, with a zero-dollar deductible. This covers the costs of reimbursement of stolen funds that aren’t covered by other policies or banking regulations. It also covers out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages. It’s a comforting thought that if anything goes wrong, we’re covered.
Did You Know: There were more than 650,000 cases of identity theft in 2019 alone.5
But hey, we’re not always sitting in front of our computer monitoring our identity — we’re out and about. I mean, not so much these days because of the global health crisis, but you know what we mean. We wanted to test out IdentityForce’s mobile app to see if it’s functionality was as good as it’s desktop counterpart. So we headed over to the app store.
After downloading the IdentityForce app, we’re sorry to report we weren’t really blown away. First of all, it’s a little weird that there’s no real design continuity between the desktop and the mobile experiences. While the desktop dashboard is on a white background with navy-blue lettering, the app sits on a dark gray background with an amber and green font scheme. For comparison:
Here’s the desktop version:
And here’s the mobile version:
See what we mean?
Design choices aside, the app is also a bit clunky to use. The log-in process is tedious and repeats every time you leave the screen. Instead of simply tapping our finger to use the biometric authentication feature, we had to click a button to tell it we wanted to use our fingerprint. While it might sound nitpicky, it’s this lack of attention to user experience that sometimes turns us off from mobile apps.
And finally, there just wasn’t a whole lot to do on the app. Sure, we could mess with our alert settings and what was and wasn’t monitored, but compared to the richness of the desktop experience, it just felt lacking. Like many other services, this app feels like an afterthought.
Now, this definitely isn’t a deal-breaker for us. After all, we really enjoyed the IdentityForce desktop interface. And these days, we’re almost always within a few strides of our laptop. We were just hoping for a little something extra with the app.
While we were a little disappointed in the app and IdentityForce’s lack of frills, the attention they paid to their product’s core functionality quickly made us forget about those minor shortcomings.
The detail in the credit monitoring alone makes it well worth the price of admission. And let’s not forget about their credit score tracking and restoration services.
While it’s not our absolute favorite — that would be Identity Guard (see our review of Identity Guard) — If you’re looking for solid identity protection at a reasonable price point, we’d highly recommend IdentityForce.
Yes, but you have to call the company and speak with a representative for a custom-made family plan option.
The basic plan is $17.99 per month, while the advanced plan is $23.99 per month. We recommend going premium, as the basic plan doesn’t include credit monitoring.
Yes, but only if you purchase the premium plan; it’s called UltraSecure+Credit. That’s the plan we covered in this review.
Yes, but for day-to-day use, we recommend using the desktop platform.
Yes, they offer a 30-day free trial of either of their services, but we’ve found this to be standard in the industry.
O’Brien, K. (2020, September 29). Credit Card Fraud, Identity Theft Explode in the Pandemic. ABC 8 News.
Sigalos, M. (2019, January 23). The Dark Web and How to Access It. CNBC.
Pritchard, J. (2020, March 16). How Credit Scores Work and What They Say About You. The Balance.
Jayakumar, A. (2019, May 10). Credit Lock vs. Credit Freeze: What’s the Difference? NerdWallet.
Daly, L. (2020, April 13). Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud Statistics for 2020. The Ascent.