Powerful identity theft protections with special prioritization of credit monitoring
Would you know what to do if you’ve fallen victim to identity theft? Many of the people we talked to don’t know how to respond to identity theft, and those that do often say that they neither have the time nor resources to reclaim their identity on their own.
FYI:Identity theft is a growing, ever-changing danger. In 2021 alone, Americans lost $52 billion from this Unfortunately, most aren’t equipped to protect themselves from it — much less recover if they fall victim.
So many people are turning to identity theft prevention services to safeguard against threats and to help them recover should the worst-case scenario occur.
IdentityIQ counts as one of those services. It’s equipped with cutting-edge protections to proactively prevent identity theft, as well as useful safety nets in case you fall victim. I recently took the service for a test-drive, and all my findings are explained in detail in this review.
The first thing you should know is that the service is expanding. Since I first tested it, IdentityIQ has partnered with Bitdefender to provide device security, and just recently, it opened a third office in Florida, a call center, to accommodate the growing customer service demands. That tells us IdentityIQ is never stagnant, so let’s take a closer look at the latest on this service.
Pro Tip: If you’re searching for a solid ID theft protection service, a good place to start is our guide to the best identity theft protection services on the market today.
But before we dig deep into IdentityIQ and reveal all it has to offer, let’s take a look at the pros and cons that immediately jumped out.
Like most identity theft protection offerings, IdentityIQ offers multiple tiers of service. Not surprisingly, the more you pay, the more comprehensive the protections. To get a complete understanding of how this all breaks down, you can read our IdentityIQ pricing guide, or you can have a quick look at this handy chart.
|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|
|Monthly Cost||$6.99 per month||$9.99 per month||$19.99 per month||$29.99 per month|
|Monthly Cost with Bitdefender Total Security||$8.99 per month||$11.99 per month||$21.99 per month||$32.99 per month|
|Average Monthly Cost When Paid Yearly (15% off)||$5.94||$8.50||$16.99||$25.50|
|Average Monthly Cost with Bitdefender When Paid Yearly (15% off)||$7.64||$10.19||$18.69||$28.04|
IdentityIQ’s multi-tiered pricing structure means that there’s a plan that’ll fit just about every budget. That’s a breath of fresh air in an industry dominated by companies that force customers to choose between a cheap, underwhelming plan, and a complete but much more expensive plan. With IdentityIQ, you can really finetune your selection.
On top of that, IdentityIQ lets you choose between normal plans and plans that include device and network protection in the form of Bitdefender Total Protection, a VPN and antivirus software. You’re not obligated to pay more for the added protection, but should you need antivirus software and a VPN as well, know that both are available for just a couple of dollars more per month.
Since I already have a VPN and antivirus software of my choice, I’m taking a closer look at the Secure Max plan from Identity Guard. Let’s see how it stacks up against some of the big dogs in the industry.
I’m happy to report there weren’t any surprises during the purchasing process. You’re asked to provide some pretty basic information, followed by personal questions to confirm your identity.
Now I do want to point out at this juncture that $30 per month is a little bit on the pricey side of things. IdentityIQ’s premier plan is one of the most expensive I’ve seen. To be fair, they also have one of the most comprehensive lists of protections I’ve encountered. So the real question becomes, “Is IdentityIQ all it’s cracked up to be?”. There’s only one way to find out.
I was immediately impressed by the dashboard. There’s a lot to go over here — so much that I had to zoom out my browser to get it all into frame. Take a look.
That’s pretty extensive, so we’re going to go through things methodically. I will say, though — it would have been nice to have some sort of tutorial on how to use the main features, find where everything is, and how it all works. That isn’t to say IdentityIQ is so dense that it’s difficult to figure out — it’s all pretty intuitive — but it’s also a little overwhelming. So let’s go through this piece by piece, as we don’t want you to miss any of the important protections that IdentityIQ provides.
The most prominent item on the dashboard is the credit score section, so let’s start there. Here, you’ll see your scores from all three credit bureaus.
FYI: It’s perfectly normal for your scores to vary slightly from bureau to bureau. Each agency measures slightly different data points in slightly different ways, so don’t panic if there are discrepancies.2
You’re also going to have access to your most recent credit report. Depending on the tier of service you purchased, these will be available monthly, biannually, or annually. It’s always a good idea to keep a close eye on your credit report, even if you have no reason to suspect you’ve become the victim of identity theft. According to the Federal Trade Commission, one in five credit reports contains errors that may impact scores negatively.3
If you do suspect you’ve become the victim of identity theft, then you should check your report immediately. Don’t wait until the next report becomes available for free. Fortunately, IdentityIQ offers the option to purchase your most up-to-date report. Check if the criminals have taken out credit lines, secure loans, or opened fraudulent accounts in your name.
IdentityIQ is going to be doing the lion’s share of this work for you, and if anything suspicious shows up, it’ll appear in the next section.
Here you’re going to see three categories: Credit Monitoring, Identity Monitoring, and Score Monitoring. It’s pretty self-explanatory what each of these is for, but there are a few things worth pointing out here.
If you click through to each, you’ll get a breakdown of what exactly is being monitored and how you will be alerted should something questionable
pops up. For instance, under Credit Monitoring, you’ll find this list:
There’s really comprehensive coverage here, and I’d like to pause for a moment to commend IdentityIQ for their thorough explanations of all of their protections. This is a continuous theme throughout their service, and one that I think you’ll appreciate. With a lot of companies, you’re kind of left guessing. They say they’re monitoring the dark web, but how? And for what exactly? With Identity IQ, there’s no guesswork involved. You’ll know exactly what they’re looking for and where.
Speaking of explanations, directly below the Alerts and Notifications section, we find our next item.
This section is a bit of a grab bag. Clicking on any of the items will take you to its corresponding section. Here you’re going to find items that are already covered in the Alerts section like Criminal Record Monitoring and Score Change Alerts, but you’re also going to find unique tools like your Family Protection signup and your credit score simulator.
Note that Family Protection covers any dependents under the age of 24 living at the same address as the primary account holder. Once enrolled, they will be entitled to full restoration benefits and up to $25,000 in identity theft insurance. There’s no limit to how many dependents you can enroll, either.
Did You Know? Children are primary targets of identity thieves because they are essentially blank slates. Since they don’t have established credit or financial histories, fraudsters are more likely to get away with their crimes for much longer than they would if they had victimized an adult.4 Check out our guide to the best identity theft protections for children to learn more.
You’ll also find in this section IdentityIQ’s credit score simulator. This is an interesting tool that we’ve seen different versions of a few times before with various identity theft protection services. While it’s not all that useful in your day-to-day life, it’ll be really helpful if you’re planning to increase your credit before making a major purchase, recovering from financial hardship, or shopping around for new credit cards.
For example, if I were to stop making payments on all of my accounts for 60 days, I know my score would drop by about 130 points. Overall, this is a great resource to have at your disposal, and it’s one of the best takes on a credit score simulator I’ve come across.
Here you’ll also find information on IdentityIQ’s identity theft insurance policies and restoration services. Spoiler alert — they’re pretty great.
Again, true to form, IdentityIQ doesn’t make you go hunting for information. You know exactly how much you’re covered for, and what that coverage can be used for. As the primary account holder of a Secure Max plan, you’re covered up to $1 million for lost wages, expert fees, out-of-pocket expenses, and the replacement of stolen funds.
That said, you should know that $1 million in coverage is now fairly standard in the industry. With all the major players like Identity Guard and LifeLock, you’ll enjoy the extra peace of mind of a cool million in insurance should you fall victim to identity theft.
Did You Know? There were 4.8 million identity theft and fraud cases reported to the FTC in 2020.5 If you think you’ve become a victim, read our guide on how to report identity theft.
And if the unthinkable should happen, IdentityIQ isn’t just going to throw money at the problem and leave you to fend for yourself. Becoming whole again after an identity theft incident can sometimes take years if you’re going to do it alone, which is why IdentityIQ offers a team of Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)-certified technicians that will help you get your life back on track again.
IdentityIQ technicians can help in a number of ways, including:
The peace of mind knowing that a team of experts is ready and willing to help at a moment’s notice is alone worth the cost of entry, in my opinion. IdentityIQ really gets it right here.
Did You Know? If you’ve already been the victim of identity theft, you’re more likely to become a victim again. Each year, 7 to 10 percent of the U.S. population falls victim to some sort of identity fraud, and 21 percent of those are repeat victims.
If you don’t ever want to have to use these restoration services (and who does?), IdentityIQ offers a wealth of educational resources touching on topics from improving your credit to best practices on preventing identity theft. We’ll touch on that next.
Here you’re going to find resources in three categories — the basics of credit, how to monitor credit, and planning ahead. Not only do these articles cover credit scores, monitoring bureaus, frequently asked questions, and reading credit reports, IdentityIQ also offers information on how to refinance your home, protect yourself online, and teach your kids healthy financial habits. This library is far-reaching, and honestly, you can spend hours educating yourself here. These materials are a fantastic bonus, and I can’t recall a service that offers such an education as well as IdentityIQ.
This was an uncommon feature when we first tested IdentityIQ in 2020, but it has since become more common and we can see why. The score tracker is helpful particularly to those who take credit score monitoring seriously, or those who are trying to increase their credit score or rebuild after a setback. It shows you your credit score month-over-month, and by doing so, it can reveal trends that can help you in your journey of increasing your credit score. It also provides you with visual feedback on how you’re doing, for extra motivation and insight.
Think about it — do you know what your credit score was last month? How about six months ago? How do you know if you’re headed in the right direction? The score tracker will give you all of that information at a glance.
So that’s about all there is to say on IdentityIQ’s functionality. Pretty comprehensive, right? One thing you don’t see though is financial account monitoring. For such a comprehensive service, this seems like a pretty glaring oversight, but given how complete the other protections are, I’m happy to forgive this misstep.
Before I give you the final verdict though, I did want to point out a few things that might have been lost in the shuffle.
There are three things that stood out to me while testing IdentityIQ.
The first was how comprehensive these protections are. IdentityIQ runs the gamut from synthetic ID theft — where a fraudster uses your Social Security number with a made-up name, to monitoring file-sharing networks for your personally identifying information. So aside from their financial account monitoring blindspot, they have you covered.
Next, their dedication to keeping tabs on your credit is extremely impressive. Monthly credit reports? Enhanced credit monitoring? Month-to-month score tracker? IdentityIQ takes this aspect of identity theft protection extremely seriously.
Finally, the wealth of information here is admirable. Not only does IdentityIQ offer a wealth of information, they also explain exactly what they’re monitoring and how they’re doing it. This level of granular explanation is rarely seen in other services, and it’s much appreciated with IdentityIQ.
So with that in mind, let’s consider the total package.
IdentityIQ is easily one of the most comprehensive services out there. They cast an extremely wide net, monitor for a number of extremely specific types of identity theft, and their credit monitoring is really second to none. I mean — monthly credit reports? I can’t think of a service that offers anything close to that.
Another thing that sets IdentityIQ from the competition is the information resources and education tools available. It’s not just a service that monitors your personal information and alerts you, it also teaches you how you can better protect your identity.
That said, their organization can — at times — be a bit overwhelming, and the price is really steep. However, if money isn’t a consideration, I think you’re going to be plenty satisfied with IdentityIQ.
Yes, IdentityIQ’s top tiers of service monitor all three, but lower tiers of service only monitor one.
IdentityIQ offers four tiers of service. Secure is $6.99, Secure Plus is $9.99, Secure Pro is $19.99, and Secure Max is $29.99 per month. You can also pay yearly instead of monthly to save up to 15-percent, which would bring down the monthly cost of the Secure Max plan to $25.50.
Yes, IdentityIQ scans the dark web for numerous instances of sensitive data and personally identifying information.
Yes, IdentityIQ offers up to $1 million in identity fraud insurance and provides access to a team of qualified restoration specialists if your identity is compromised.
Yes, certain plans cover an unlimited number of dependents living at the same address as the primary account holder.
Ulzheimer, John. (2021, Jan 20). Why Do My Credit Scores Differ Across the Credit Bureaus? Experian.
Rocket HQ. (2020, Oct 15). What Errors Should I Be Looking For On My Credit Report?
Grant, Kelli. (2018, April 24). Identity theft isn’t just an adult problem. Kids are victims, too. CNBC.
Insurance Information Institute. (2021). Facts + Statistics: Identity theft and cybercrime.