The global health crisis sent identity thieves into overdrive. Not only have fraudsters increased their activities, they’ve developed new vectors of attack.1
According to recent studies, Americans have lost at least $145 million to coronavirus-related scams alone,2 and in 2020, there were nearly 1.5 million cases of identity theft — nearly double the number of cases from the year before.3
The numbers don’t lie. It’s becoming increasingly important to safeguard your identity, and one of the best ways to do so is by purchasing a subscription to a reputable identity theft protection service like IdentityIQ.
I recently tested IdentityIQ, and although it’s not bulletproof, I was pretty impressed with it overall. But today I’m going to break down the plans and pricing structures of IdentityIQ to see if it’s the right service for you.
IdentityIQ’s top-tier plan offers some of the most comprehensive coverage out there. For reference, check out our review of IdentityForce, or our in-depth look at NortonLifeLock — two of our top-ranked services. The only thing missing here, really, is a robust financial monitoring function — you’ll only get checking account reports and that’s all — but that’s easily forgiven when you take note of everything else in the mix.
To get a more complete understanding of each of these features and their functionality, check out my hands-on review of IdentityIQ. I unpack how the service works and the experience of using it day-to-day. For now, though, let’s move on to discuss how these services are packaged, and what it costs to access them.
One of the things I really like about IdentityIQ is that they offer multiple tiers of service, which means you can pretty easily pick and choose which features you need against your overall budget. What’s more, for a few extra bucks a month, you can add anti-malware protection to your devices, courtesy of Bitdefender Total Security. Why anti-malware, you ask? Some fraudsters use malware to steal personal information stored in our devices, so adding it to our arsenal makes a lot of sense. Here’s a quick snapshot of what IdentityIQ’s service packages include.
|Service||Secure||Secure Plus||Secure Pro||Secure Max|
|Credit Score Tracker||No||No||No||Yes|
|Credit Score Simulator||No||No||No||Yes|
|Enhanced Credit Report Monitoring||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Crimes In Your Name Alerts||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Score Change Alerts||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Social Security Number Monitoring||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dark Web Monitoring||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cost||$6.99 per month||$9.99 per month||$19.99 per month||$29.99 per month|
|Cost with Bitdefender Total Security||$8.99 per month||$11.99 per month||$21.99 per month||$32.99 per month|
That chart might be a little confusing, so let’s break it down even further.
With the most basic plan — Secure — you’re going to pay $6.99 per month for bare-bones coverage. This is a great entry point, but it’s likely that you’re going to see some gaps in your coverage. You’re going to get the basics like dark web monitoring and Social Security number alerts, but the Secure plan only offers single-bureau credit monitoring and none of the bells and whistles like crime-in-your-name alerts.
Stepping up one tier will cost you $3 more per month, but the main item you’re paying for is annual access to your credit reports. The Secure Plus plan still only offers single-bureau credit monitoring and the basic protections of the previous tier.
FYI: You’re entitled to one free credit report every year from each credit bureau, regardless of whether you have identity theft protection or not. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to claim yours.
Moving up to the next rung will cost you $10 more for a total of $19.99 per month, but here we start getting into truly comprehensive coverage. You’ll have access to two credit reports per year, triple-bureau credit monitoring, and see the benefits of more advanced, nuanced protections.
Finally, we have the marquee service — Secure Max. This includes everything IdentityIQ has to offer including monthly credit reports, a credit score tracking tool, advanced protections, and enhanced monitoring. All this functionality will cost you, though. It’s $29.99 per month — on par with some of the most expensive services out there.
With all this in mind, it begs the question — which IdentityIQ plan packs the most punch?
This is the question that is asked most often in any discussion about an identity theft protection service. I get it — you want the biggest bang for your buck. The simple answer is to go with the top tier of service since that always offers the best protections. But then again, not everyone is looking to spend $30 per month for every imaginable protection under the sun.
FYI: It pays to comparison shop when you’re looking for protections. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best identity theft protection services. Check it out — it’s a great place to start your search.
So here’s what I recommend …
The Secure service tier is seriously inexpensive, and Secure Plus is also really reasonable. Start there to get a feel for how IdentityIQ works, and to see if you even like the service. Then, after a few weeks, you’ll get a feel for what protections and tools you might be lacking. Once you have that understanding, upgrade to Secure Pro or Secure Max. You might decide you need the full suite of offerings, or you might decide you can do without a few. Either way, you’ll be fully protected from a functional standpoint.
So, here’s the part where I’d normally tell you that you can try at least one tier of service risk-free for a week or so, but unfortunately — no such luck with IdentityIQ. You’re going to have to buy the ticket to take the ride.
That said, many identity theft protection services offer deals throughout the year — particularly around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Also, we always post about deals when we hear about them, so it pays to check back here as you’re shopping around. Don’t wait too long, though. The best time to purchase protection is today.
One thing I really like is the way IdentityIQ has structured their subscription plans regarding their options. A lot of times services will give you two choices: their stripped-down cheaper version, or their full-blown service for full price. With IdentityIQ, you really have an opportunity to see which features and functions you need, and pay only for those as you go. It’s the next best thing to à la carte service.
That said, you’re going to fork over quite a bit of cash if you want full access to everything IdentityIQ has to offer. And even then, it’s still missing some pretty important functionality that other services with a similar price provide like financial account monitoring. If this isn’t critically important to you, then it’s not something to worry about, but it’s certainly something to consider while comparison shopping.
Did You Know: Here at SafeHome.org, we offer a tool that can help you compare identity theft protection services. Check it out!
Ultimately, IdentityIQ is an extremely powerful service that will get the job done when it counts. Are there more affordable options on the market? Certainly. Will you get as comprehensive a defense posture if you go with one of them? Probably not.
IdentityIQ offers four protection plans. Secure — their most basic — costs $6.99 per month. Secure Plus costs $9.99. Secure Pro runs $19.99, and Secure Max — their premier service — costs $29.99.
Yes, but only for the Secure Pro and Secure Max tiers of service. Secure and Secure Plus only offer single-bureau protection.
Yes, all of IdentityIQ’s tiers of service offer dark web monitoring.
No, IdentityIQ does not currently offer financial account monitoring.
Yes, IdentityIQ provides access to a team of qualified restoration specialists if your identity is stolen, and up to $1 million in fraud insurance on select plans.
PNC. (2020, September 17). The Startling Rise of Fraud and Identity Theft During the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Morales, C. (September 23, 2020). Americans Have Lost $145 Million to Coronavirus Fraud. The New York Times.
Skiba, K. (2021, February 5). Pandemic Proves to Be Fertile Ground for Identity Thieves. AARP.
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.