With more than 5 million people using LifeLock, you have to think the company is doing something right. But rather than take 5 million people’s word for it, we went ahead and tested LifeLock ourselves. We found the service is packed with features we think you’ll like. For instance, LifeLock’s ability to monitor our retirement savings and investment accounts really impressed us. We also received pretty good customer support services along the way. That said, we weren’t as impressed by the insurance coverage, and we would’ve liked to see some social monitoring features. Still, when the dust settles, we think you’ll like what LifeLock brings to the table. We’re laying it all out here in our LifeLock review, so let’s dive in!
One common misconception is that LifeLock “protects” your identity — which isn’t exactly true. LifeLock essentially monitors your identity. Think of it as an alarm system for your personal information. When suspicious activity occurs — like someone “breaking into” your identity or bank accounts — the proverbial alarm will sound so that you can take immediate action. The sooner you know your identity is compromised, the faster you can freeze your credit, cancel credit cards, and the like. Believe us, this early notification can drastically reduce the damage done to your good name.
You’ll be glad to know that LifeLock doesn’t just alert you to criminal activity and then leave you high and dry to resolve it on your own. With a LifeLock subscription, you can tap into full support, and they even provide an insurance policy that will cover you if you ever fall victim to identity crime. LifeLock agents are there to help you freeze your credit and cancel credit cards (and the litany of other headaches that come with identity theft). They even cover financial losses and expenses up to a million dollars. However, we do wish that LifeLock exceeded the minimum industry standard of a million dollars. But, hey, a million bucks is still a lot of cash.
Now, we’re used to seeing many of these features in other ID theft protection services, but LifeLock does offer something that sets it apart from the competition in our eyes. That is, LifeLock includes Norton 360, a computer security and antivirus system. Norton has been around for years, and you might know it for its solid reputation. We’ll dig more into this feature in just a bit, and we’ll show you exactly how we found it useful and really quite impressive.
Did You Know: Norton’s beginnings date back to 1991 when the Symantec Corporation developed and distributed the product selection.1
We’ve touched on the general stuff we got out of our LifeLock subscription: identity monitoring, alerts, identity theft recovery, and the Norton 360 antivirus software. But you’re itching for details, right? Let’s zoom in and take a closer look at the features we found most useful.
We expected to find this feature offered by LifeLock, and it was pretty much what we’re used to seeing from similar brands like Identity Guard. After all, you won’t get far in keeping track of your personal data if you’re not having your social security number and credit tracked. So, this feature is a must-have and something we always like to see.
We liked that LifeLock checked our credit regularly to spot any fishy activity. But we really liked that LifeLock seemed to have a pretty good system for scanning the Dark Web for threats.2 You never know what’s out there on the Dark Web (the name alone should tip you off). It’s full of secret sites that criminals access using a special bad-guy browser. Of course, we figure no identity monitoring company can check the entire Dark Web. But we can at least compare what LifeLock dredged up for us in the “underworld” to what its competitors found. We were impressed with LifeLock’s discoveries. They shared more detailed info than other brands, and overall, we felt that our personal data was fairly safe from dark-web activity.
We were happy to get our hands on Norton 360 as part of our LifeLock subscription. It’s the latest and greatest Norton antivirus product that you may or may not have heard of before now. We thought that LifeLock might package some lightweight, discount version of Norton into our LifeLock subscription, but nope: this installation is the real deal. That’s good news for you if you have any use for a powerful antivirus solution (and you probably do!).
With our Norton 360 subscription, we were able to scan our PC for viruses and delete any malicious files. They make it easy to protect multiple devices, and we were happy to see that Norton 360 included a bunch of browser extensions. These extensions included a password manager and a secure browsing and search add-on called Norton SafeSearch. We won’t get too much into the weeds here, but we do think you’ll be more secure with Norton 360 covering your devices and web browsing. Tech security has changed a lot since Norton first made a name for itself on the antivirus software scene. But if you ask us, Norton has remained a leading provider through improvement and innovation. Needless to say, we think it’s a great addition to the LifeLock feature stack.
The included Norton 360 VPN impressed us enough that we thought it deserved its own section here. In our view, a VPN is a very welcome bonus. You may already know that VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network,” but you don’t need to know the nuts and bolts to understand that VPNs help keep your internet browsing anonymous, private, and secure.3 We recommend using a VPN as often as possible, so bad guys can’t track your internet traffic.
When we ran the Norton 360 VPN, it stayed open in its own little app window. We thought this design was a little clumsy, especially considering some other VPNs minimize nicely into tiny taskbar icons. If you’re new to VPNs, you probably won’t mind too much. We think you’ll be okay with the trade-off. It’s not all that inconvenient, but it does help keep your devices secure. So, in our humble (expert) opinion, it’s worth it.
LifeLock got busy tracking our social security number and credit score pretty much as soon as we signed up. But we also found that we could add more monitoring tasks to LifeLock’s “to-do list.” So, we set up LifeLock to track our bank accounts and credit cards, too. Trust us, you’ll want to do the same. Once you have the feature set up, LifeLock will let you know about any big transactions that come through on your accounts (hey, I didn’t buy that boat!). We know that banks and credit card companies sometimes track these details as well, but we liked the extra layer of security that LifeLock provides here. And we think you will like it as well.
We haven’t committed any crimes lately (or ever!), and hopefully, you haven’t either. But it was nice to have LifeLock checking to see if any bad guys were out there committing crimes and using our name as a cover-up. Otherwise, we wouldn’t typically find out until it reaches the court system, as police reports aren’t usually public records. So, when it works, this feature allows for a quick catch. As they say, knowing is half the battle. We do think it’s a nice feature, and it’s not something we’ve seen from many services we’ve tried.
We already touched on LifeLock’s credit monitoring feature. But we have to say, it gave us a little extra peace of mind being able to check out the details for ourselves. We received credit scores from all three of the big credit-reporting bureaus, plus the actual credit reports with all the details we wanted. Unfortunately, you’ll need to get one of the pricier LifeLock plans for the full three-bureau treatment. Also, we were less-than-excited to learn that we could only get detailed reports once per year.
Pro Tip: You can already get a copy of your credit report once every year just by requesting it. It’s the law!
As a security measure, LifeLock made us call them to activate the credit features on our account. It wasn’t too much of a chore, and it was nice to see an extra layer of security. All in all, if it works in your budget, we think going with the pricier plan is worth it for this feature alone. Plus, think of all the money it could potentially save you in the long run!
Just like we were able to set up monitoring and alerts for our bank and credit card accounts, we were able to do the same thing for our investment accounts. Not every identity theft protection service lets you monitor investments, so we had this feature up-and-running fast. To set it up, we just had to log into our investment accounts through the LifeLock app.
One thing we liked about this feature was that we were able to tell LifeLock exactly how big a transaction must be before it triggered an alert (this customization is especially helpful for day-traders). Also, if you don’t want an email every time you buy a stock in your regular investment account, but you do want to know right away if any money gets pulled out of your 401(k), you can set it up in LifeLock’s custom settings. We think that’s pretty useful.
We were able to access and read lots of support materials online and call the member support department at any time. To us, it seemed like a lot of this sort of “support” was tech-support type stuff or basic info you can find on any FAQ page. We think the more important thing here is how LifeLock offers identity “restoration specialists,” which, of course, would be useful if we fell victim to an identity crime.4 We’ll dig more into this in the next section. At the end of the day, we felt pretty secure with LifeLock’s member support. But we’ve already seen everything it had to offer elsewhere.
Nobody stole our identity while we were reviewing LifeLock, thank goodness. But what if they did? Well, that’s why LifeLock exists. Even though we didn’t personally deal with fraud while subscribing to LifeLock, we did plenty of rigorous research into their support and restoration process. We found that LifeLock does a whole lot to address these sorts of crimes before it’s too late. If you become a victim of identity theft, LifeLock will assign you a dedicated agent to help you get things straightened up and back to normal. An active case will appear in the “ID Restoration” tab in the LifeLock app.
We liked that we could already see the space within the app where the recovery process would occur. In our experience, many competitors don’t give nearly as much real estate in their apps to support the recovery process. Most services offer some sort of help for victims, but they don’t all reserve a spot in their app as LifeLock does. If you do go with LifeLock, you hopefully will never have to use this section of the app. But we don’t think you’ll mind in the least having it sit there as an icon in the app.
FYI: We recommend choosing a company with a proven track record for identity theft restoration. It helps to know that the service is at-the-ready if a fraudster gets ahold of your information.
You’d be on the phone with LifeLock a lot in an identity theft situation, too. If it comes to that, we think LifeLock offers the support you need. We found their staff to be pleasant, friendly, and professional. And, again, we think that having the app organized for this kind of thing will be a big relief if you succumb to identity fraud. Using the app, you’ll always have one dashboard to view and keep track of what’s happening.5
With LifeLock’s help canceling credit cards and freezing credit, you can quickly prevent damage and start rebuilding your life. Throw in the monitoring and alerts, and we think you’ve got a recipe for minimal damage and fast recovery after an identity crime. But you might still lose money, which is why LifeLock features a built-in insurance policy.
We didn’t have to make any claims, but we did plenty of research to figure out how it all works. We found that LifeLock covers its members for funds they lose due to identity theft, up to a certain amount. LifeLock will cover you for up to $1 million in “reimbursement and expense compensation,” but we did notice that they earmark the promised amounts for specific purposes. For instance, the baseline plan offers up to $1 million in coverage**** for “lawyers and experts,” which isn’t a part of that first $1 million cap. Included in the $1 million coverage for “reimbursement and expense compensation” is up to $25,000**** for “personal expense compensation,” and up to $25,000**** for “stolen funds reimbursement.” We found some interesting exceptions in the fine print, however, like how the policy won’t pay out if your identity theft incident is connected to terrorism in any way.6
We were generally impressed with the scope of LifeLock’s insurance coverage. Still, we wish they’d offer more coverage than the industry standard (which is $1 million based on our research findings). That said, a million bucks will go a long way, so this approach wasn’t a deal-breaker by any means.
We thoroughly vetted LifeLock and ran it through our rigorous testing process. Naturally, we spent a lot of time using its apps and features. We found the service to be user-friendly, and we think you might like the experience, too.
It was pretty easy for us to sign up for LifeLock. We first created a Norton account to handle our information and billing. Then, we gave our social security number and other vital information to LifeLock. We paid for their fanciest premium membership, and then we dove right into the apps (couldn’t help ourselves!).
We quickly tracked down Norton 360, the antivirus and web protection service included in LifeLock, and we downloaded the program. Installing the Norton security suite was easy. We were able to use our email to set up Norton protection for all of our different devices. Don’t worry! Anyone can sign up for Norton services without much hassle.
We had a little trouble with the in-browser app from LifeLock. You won’t be able to sign into it using Firefox, so make sure that you use Google Chrome. Once we logged in, we were impressed with the web app (though it’s not exactly ground-breaking technology). We had an alert right from the get-go about web security breaches that threatened accounts we had with certain websites.
We were able to navigate quickly over to another part of the app covering monitored information. Instead of simply letting us see the parameters being monitored, LifeLock actually let us add to the list. We added our bank and credit card accounts, plus a variety of other details. You can even tell LifeLock to monitor your mother’s maiden name. We think you’ll be pretty happy with how much information LifeLock can monitor at once, and how easy it is to add things to the list.
Did You Know: Mother’s maiden name is a common security question that crooks use to “recover” an account that isn’t theirs.7
We also tested LifeLock on the go, and we were somewhat pleased with the results. We did spot one potentially confusing thing trying to access their mobile app. That is, you may see two different LifeLock apps in the app store. One of them is LifeLock’s old app, but the one you’ll want to install is LifeLock for Norton 360. So just keep this in mind.
We do think LifeLock for Norton 360 is a well-designed and easy-to-use app. Some competitors have pretty bare-bone offerings when it comes to smartphone controls, but we were able to do all of the same things on the mobile app as we could on LifeLock’s in-browser version. If you’re looking for an identity protection service with a solid mobile app, we think LifeLock is a decent choice here.
During our hands-on experience with LifeLock, we received all the instant alerts we could ever want (plus some, but we’ll get to that). Thankfully, we found that customizing the alerts was pretty easy. LifeLock offers lots of ways to ensure you see the alerts. We were able to choose between text alerts, automated phone calls, emails, or a combination of the three. Whatever you’re going to be checking most often, make sure that you get your LifeLock alerts set up for those categories. Equally important, be sure to turn off alerts that aren’t helpful! You don’t want alerts flooding in for every little thing — which can happen if you’re not careful.
While we weren’t blown away by LifeLock, we did like many of the features they offer. But it’s not the cheapest option out there. And we know that money doesn’t grow on trees. So, we took a careful look at LifeLock’s overall value, and we determined that it’s not just a high-quality monitoring service — it’s also a pretty good deal in terms of “bang for your buck.”
We really like that there aren’t any long-term contracts to worry about, and we love that LifeLock offers a free trial. Thanks to the free trial, you can test out LifeLock for yourself to see if it’ll work for you. If you decide that you don’t want or need the service, you can cancel without penalty within the trial period.8
Pro Tip: It’s best to choose a company that offers a free trial of 30 days or more. Thankfully, many of the top brands offer a guarantee of some kind.
We’ve said that LifeLock is a good deal. But just how good it depends on which plan you choose.
Your cheapest option is LifeLock’s Standard Plan. This plan offers you up to $25,000 in reimbursement for stolen funds**** and $25,000 in personal expense compensation**** in the event that your identity is stolen while being protected by LifeLock. The company will also spend up to $1 million on lawyers and experts to support your case****. This service includes social security number and credit alerts, Norton Security protection for up to five devices, protection against lost wallets, verification of any address changes through USPS, Dark web monitoring, a privacy monitor, and credit monitoring from one of the three big bureaus. LifeLock Standard starts at $9.99 per month for the first year (terms apply).
If we go up one rung on the price ladder from LifeLock Standard, we get to Norton 360 with LifeLock Select. This level is essentially LifeLock Standard with the added value of the Norton 360 protections, including antivirus scanning and a VPN program. Norton 360 with LifeLock Select starts at $9.99 per month for the first year (terms apply).
This plan has all of the features that you get in the Norton 360 with LifeLock Select plan, plus some additional perks. Your stolen funds and personal expense compensation rise to $100,000****. This tier of service lets you set up bank and credit card account alerts. It also monitors for crimes committed using your information, searches for fictitious identities, notifies you in the event of a data breach, and gives you an annual credit report and score from a single bureau. Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage is $19.99 per month for the first year (terms apply).
This upper tier includes all the features from the previous plans. On top of that, your stolen funds and personal expense compensation increase to $1 million****, and you get your credit reports and scores from all three bureaus annually. You’ll also receive monthly updates from one bureau, 401(k) and investment alerts (if set up), and notifications if someone takes over your bank account or opens new accounts in your name. LifeLock also monitors file-sharing networks and tracks the sex offender registry to alert you if authorities connect your name to a sex crime. You also receive priority member support. Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus is $29.99 per month for the first year (terms apply).
In our experience, most identity monitoring and protection services exist to do more or less the same thing. So, what we look for in services is how they can beat the competition by being more comprehensive, offering better deals, or throwing in extra perks and features. In our opinion, LifeLock does pretty darn well in all three of these categories. We think you’ll like how thorough LifeLock is about monitoring and how easy it is to use. While it’s not the cheapest service out there, we think you’ll find that it provides good value at a reasonable price. With LifeLock, you’ll get a complete identity monitoring and protection service — with Norton 360 device protection — without breaking the bank. All in all, we do recommend this service.
* LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.
** Terms apply to all LifeLock plans.
*** The credit scores provided are VantageScore 3.0 credit scores based on data from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion respectively. Any one bureau VantageScore mentioned is based on Equifax data only. Third parties use many different types of credit scores and are likely to use a different type of credit score to assess your creditworthiness.
**** Reimbursement and Expense Compensation, each with limits of up to $1 million for Ultimate Plus, up to $100,000 for Advantage and up to $25,000 for Select, when purchased in Norton 360 with LifeLock plans. And up to $1 million for coverage for lawyers and experts if needed, for all plans. Benefits under the Master Policy are issued and covered by United Specialty Insurance Company (State National Insurance Company, Inc. for NY State members). Policy terms, conditions and exclusions at: LifeLock.com/legal.
Norton AntiVirus. (April 21, 2020). Wikipedia. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
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Center for Identity Management and Information Protection. (2020). Most Common Schemes: Types of Identity Crimes. Utica College.
LifeLock. (2020). Cancellation, Return & Refund Policy.