Best Identity Theft Protection Services

We compared 11 brands and chose the identity theft protection companies

    • Identity Guard
      4.4(138)
    • IdentityForce
      2.1(1,205)
    • LifeLock
      1.1(2,666)

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      Identity theft is the obtaining of someone’s personal, private or financial information through criminal means. Identity fraud occurs when someone uses this information without authorization, typically for financial gain. If a person is convicted of an identity theft crime, they may receive significant time in jail or prison or pay substantial fines.

      In the last two decades, reports of identity theft have soared by 584%, according to Federal Trade Commission data. Identity theft protection services can safeguard you against these crimes. These companies monitor databases to check for inaccuracies in your personal accounts, detect potential threats and alert you to changes to your credit file. Some can also help you recover your identity.

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      What is identity theft protection?

      Your identity is composed of a range of factors, including credit use, financial history, medical history and more. Identity theft protection companies typically monitor activity on your credit cards and other personal accounts to determine if your personal information has been compromised.

      Some identity protection companies employ preventive measures to keep your accounts safe. Many can also help to repair and resolve problems caused by identity theft.

      » MONITOR YOUR CREDIT NOW: Best credit monitoring services

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        How does identity theft protection work?

        Identity theft protection companies monitor your credit cards, bank accounts, Social Security information and other sensitive material. They alert you if your personal information is used in a way that seems suspicious — for example, if it’s unusual compared with your usual activity. For example, they’ll notify you if someone uses your Social Security number to apply for a loan.

        The best identity protection companies use preventive strategies (e.g., reducing customers’ public exposure and monitoring black market websites for customers’ information) as well as recovery assistance.

        Identity theft prevention vs. identity theft recovery services

        Identity theft prevention companies alert you to potential fraud on credit reports and remove your name from various mailing lists to minimize the chance of identity theft issues.

        If your identity has already been stolen, however, you’ll need help fixing the damage. Dealing with identity theft can be tedious and frustrating, but many identity theft recovery companies offer personal assistance to help you reclaim your identity and repair any damage done to it.

        Identity theft monitoring services

        Full-service identity theft companies offer a few different types of monitoring services:

        • Credit monitoring: Credit monitoring services track a person's credit profile so any suspicious activity doesn’t go undetected.
        • SSN monitoring: Some identity theft protection companies monitor the use of a person's Social Security number and notify users if anyone else attempts to use their number.
        • Comprehensive monitoring: The best identity theft protection companies monitor your credit, Social Security number, finances and medical history.

        Identity theft protection reporting

        Identity theft protection companies typically send reports of your financial situation and identity history. This way, even if the company doesn’t notice something unusual in your report, you should be able to.

        • Individual bureau credit reports: You can get a report from one specific credit bureau with information about your credit score, individual credit accounts and credit usage over time.
        • Comprehensive credit reports: These provide full reports from all three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) as well as other financial information.
        • Online scan reports: Some identity theft protection companies review a number of online resources to monitor your exposure, and then they compile and share any notable information for you.

        Identity theft insurance

        Identity theft insurance can compensate you in the event your identity is stolen. This type of insurance typically cancels and replaces stolen credit or debit cards and sometimes includes reimbursement for stolen cash.

        Companies that offer full identity theft insurance may reimburse customers for the entire cost of repairing their identity. This may include the following:

        • Cost of document replacement
        • Case manager fees
        • Legal fees
        • Lost wages
        • Bank fees
        • Fraud alert fees

        Make sure you’re aware of any limits on your reimbursements — some companies pay only filing fees or have a cap on lost wages insurance.

        Types of identity theft

        Most cases of identity theft are related to financial information. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the five most common forms of identity theft in 2022 were — in order — credit card fraud, “other” identity theft (social media, online shopping, email, medical services, insurance, etc.), bank fraud, loan or lease fraud and employment/tax fraud.

        » MORE: How to check for identity theft

        ID theft vs. ID fraud

        Identity theft happens when an individual obtains someone else's personal or financial information without their permission. Identity theft leads to identity fraud when a criminal uses an individual's personal or financial information to commit fraud.

        How does identity theft happen?

        Within the five most common identity theft categories, there are countless ways thieves can access your information and use it illegally.

        Financial identity theft

        Your financial information can be stolen in many ways. Thieves can gain access to your bank account numbers or debit card information and then drain your accounts or make fraudulent purchases. Indirectly, using your Social Security number, thieves can open credit cards or take out loans, potentially ruining your credit score.

        Financial identity theft example
        A thief might search through the trash to get your Social Security number from a sensitive document (like a job or credit card application) and then open a new account with that information.
        Who’s most vulnerable?
        Everyone is vulnerable, though you can mitigate risk by working with brands that prioritize security — online merchants’ platforms must have protections in place at the browser level.

        Insurance identity theft

        Insurance identity theft is when someone uses your insurance information to file a fraudulent claim. This can be a medical claim, but most commonly this occurs with home or auto insurance (there were 7,253 cases of identity theft reports related to nonmedical insurance in 2022, according to FTC data).

        Insurance identity theft example
        A thief may obtain your information and use it to file a damage claim on your home but have the payment rerouted to a different bank account — or they might actually have damage of their own, but they don’t want it attached to their policy.
        Who’s most vulnerable?
        People who’ve just survived a natural disaster tend to be the most vulnerable to this type of theft. After a major hurricane, wildfire or earthquake, the risk of insurance identity theft increases because adjusters are bombarded with claims.

        Medical identity theft

        A thief can use your information to get medical care — they might see a doctor, undergo surgery or even get prescriptions using your identity. Medical identity theft can also apply to medical insurance identity theft; the two often go hand in hand. Medical identity fraud is the use of someone’s information to obtain medical care; medical insurance identity fraud occurs when someone uses this information to obtain medical insurance benefits.

        Medical identity theft example
        A savvy thief could impersonate a doctor to get access to your information. Then, using your Social Security number or other information, they can make an appointment in your name, and the charges will be reflected on your accounts and records.
        Who’s most vulnerable?
        People who see several doctors (often older adults) who don’t have a good understanding of the medical industry are the most vulnerable.

        Criminal identity theft

        Criminal identity theft occurs when someone claims your identity in lieu of their own after they’ve committed a crime. You can get saddled with their court dates, hearings and criminal record while they avoid their consequences.

        Criminal identity theft example
        When a thief is stopped on the road by law enforcement, they might try to pass off your information as their own to avoid arrest. If they’re successful, you could wind up with criminal charges on your record or a warrant for your arrest.
        Who’s most vulnerable?
        Someone who’s lost their ID card is most vulnerable to this type of theft.

        Driver’s license identity theft

        Driver’s license identity theft occurs when someone else takes possession of your driver’s license and uses it. This can lead to points on a driving record, a criminal record and other frustrating issues.

        Driver’s license identity theft example
        A criminal could get their hands on your license and sell it, either to a minor looking to buy alcohol or to a person who can’t get a license otherwise. Thieves might also use the license in traffic stops to avoid a DUI or reckless driving charges in their name.
        Who’s most vulnerable?
        Someone who’s had their wallet or purse stolen is most vulnerable to driver’s license identity theft.

        Synthetic identity theft

        Synthetic identity theft typically occurs when a criminal combines real information with fake or stolen information. By combining your Social Security number with another name or address, for instance, a criminal can craft an entirely new identity that’s difficult for law enforcement — and you — to track.

        Synthetic identity theft example
        Social Security numbers are often compromised in data breaches, and sometimes criminals comb through trash for unshredded documents with sensitive information to exploit. A criminal could open new bank accounts, file taxes and even receive medical care with your Social Security number. They can also use the new identity when committing crimes, which makes them harder to trace.

        » MORE: Has my data been breached?

        Who’s most vulnerable?
        Anyone who loses control of their data or experiences a theft is vulnerable.

        Child identity theft

        Child identity theft happens when thieves target the sensitive information of children. It’s popular because (in most cases) it takes longer for someone to notice the theft of a child’s identity than an adult’s identity.

        Child identity theft examples
        Someone close to the child, even a family member, doctor or teacher, might take or lose a child’s information. A thief can then take their Social Security number and name and create an entire credit history from scratch.
        Who’s most vulnerable?
        Children and adolescents, as you might expect, are most vulnerable.

        Identity theft stats

        In our recent identity theft study, we found some alarming stats for 2022 — as well as some good news:

        • 441,822 cases of credit card fraud were reported in 2022, making it the most common type of ID theft that year.
        • The Tuscaloosa, Alabama, metropolitan statistical area had the most ID theft reports per capita, with 1,123 cases per 100,000 residents.
        • Of 1,108,609 reported cases of ID theft, 30- to 39-year-olds made up 25.9% of victims in the U.S. Those 40 to 49 experienced the biggest total dollar loss ($840 million) due to ID fraud.
        • Text messaging was the most common contact method related to ID fraud, accounting for 22% of total reports. Phone calls (20%) and email (19%) were also common.

        » FTC FINDINGS: Identity theft statistics

        How to prevent identity theft

        It’s crucial to be careful with your sensitive information. While even the most cautious can still find themselves falling victim to identity thieves, every effort counts.

        Some of the most important steps to keeping your identity safe include the following:

        • Monitor your accounts for unusual activity. Report anything strange you notice.
        • Keep important personal documents secure. Store paper documents in a safe place, and don’t share sensitive information online unless you’re sure the website/entity you’re working with is trustworthy. (Websites that begin with https:// — not just http:// — are secure.)
        • Check the safety practices of the businesses and organizations you deal with. Make sure their systems are built to keep user data safe.
        • Use two-factor authentication and complex passwords (and don’t use the same password across the board) for online accounts.
        • Install antivirus and malware detection and update your devices' operating systems.
        • Shred personal documents and talk with your bank about their fraud detection and prevention services.

        Also, check out the Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit whose mission is to “empower and guide consumers, victims, business and government to minimize risk and mitigate the impact of identity compromise and crime.” The organization has a wealth of tips on identity theft prevention and recovery.

        How to report identity theft

        If your identity is stolen, report it on the FTC’s IdentityTheft.gov website. In some cases, it makes sense to report the theft to law enforcement — if you decide to report it to the police, the FTC recommends filing an identity theft report first and including it with your police report. If you have identity theft insurance, make a claim with your provider.

        If you’re the victim of identity theft, take the following steps:

        1. Contact your bank and credit card companies to lock your accounts.
        2. Check your credit report to see how much damage has been done.
        3. Place an initial 90-day or one-year fraud alert on your credit report. This requires any new creditors to make sure the person requesting credit is, in fact, you.
        4. If you file a police report or FTC identity theft report, consider placing an extended seven-year fraud alert on your credit.
        5. Consider freezing your credit with all three credit bureaus.
        6. Document everything you can as proof that you’re not responsible for any fraudulent activity.

        If you’re dealing with a cybercrime incident, report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

        Why is it important to report identity theft?

        Every identity theft/fraud report the FTC receives adds to cases against scammers. Reporting your particular instance helps to catch these scammers, helps the FTC understand whom criminals are targeting and how, and helps prevent would-be victims from experiencing the same pain.

        FAQ

        What is identity theft protection insurance?

        Identity theft protection insurance is a plan that covers the costs associated with recovering your identity and credit after you experience fraud. These costs include:

        • Legal fees
        • Lost wages
        • Mailing documents
        • Notary charges

        Most plans cover credit monitoring and alerts as well.

        How much does identity theft protection cost?

        Many ID theft protection services, including LifeLock, Experian and Identity Guard, have starting prices from around $10 to $20 a month for their security plans.

        » COMPARE: IDShield vs. LifeLock and IdentityForce vs. LifeLock

        Do banks offer identity theft protection?

        Many banks offer identity theft protection services that include credit monitoring. A premium bank account might even provide enrollment in identity theft protection at little to no extra cost. However, these identity theft protection services do not necessarily include insurance that covers the costs of recovering your identity.

        How do I monitor my credit report for identity theft?

        You can access your credit reports from TransUnion, Experian and Equifax for free once per year, but you should also consider credit monitoring. Credit monitoring services and identity theft protection services offer instant alerts and protection against suspicious activity. These programs are available from banks, credit card companies and credit bureaus.

        How can I find out if someone is using my identity?

        There are several ways to find out if someone is using your identity:

        • Check your credit report to make sure it only shows accounts you opened. If there are any accounts you don’t recognize, someone has likely stolen your identity.
        • Review your bank and credit card statements regularly for suspicious charges and withdrawals.
        • If you start getting bills, notifications or account correspondence from creditors or providers you do not have accounts with, someone may be using your identity.

        Most of the above methods require active monitoring or luck on your part, but identity theft protection services send you alerts when new accounts are opened in your name or key changes occur on your credit report.

        How long does it take to recover from identity theft?

        The time it takes to recover from identity theft varies depending on how long the fraud went undetected and what types of fraud occurred. While credit card accounts might take a few months to correct, medical treatments obtained through identity theft could take years to remove from your records.

        However, the process can go faster if you have identity theft protection services in place and get help from the Federal Trade Commission or law enforcement.

        Not sure how to choose?

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          Identity theft protection reviews

          LifeLock

          Choose from three main packages starting at $9.99 per month, plus applicable fees. Dark Web Monitoring and 24/7 Live Member Support. Optional packages for children also available.

          Read 2666 Reviews
          Identity Guard

          Three plan choices for either individuals or families starting at $6.67. Exclusive system that utilizes an artificial intelligence scanning system created by IBM. Secure online tools included.

          • Protection plans: Identity Guard’s plans include Value, Total and Premier that range from $6.67–$16.67. All plans include a risk-management score.
          • Coverage for families: Each plan can be purchased for either an individual or for a family (covers all adults and children residing in the same household). Family plans range in price from $10–$23.33.
          • Secure tools and app included: Identity Guard’s plans include the anti-phishing mobile app, secure online identity dashboard and safe browsing extension.
          • Important alerts: A constant-scanning AI will alert you of potential threats, high-risk transactions and any detection of your personal information on the dark web.
          • Stolen funds reimbursement: Plans include identity theft insurance that provide stolen funds reimbursement. Coverage varies by plan, but up to $1 million at the Premier level.
          • Disclaimer: Identity Theft Insurance underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group‚ Inc. The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms‚ conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms‚ conditions‚ and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.
          Read 138 Reviews
          IdentityForce

          Comprehensive, award-winning identity theft protection offering two plan options to monitor, alert and assist in recovery in the event of an identity theft event. Both plans offer 24/7 customer service and $1 million in identity theft insurance.

          Read 1205 Reviews
          ProtectMyID

          Complete plan that offers identity theft detection, protection and resolution in one package. Optional child ID theft protection available. Plan includes credit monitoring, suspicious internet alerts and monthly surveillance alerts if no potential threats are uncovered.

          Read more about ProtectMyID
          ID Watchdog

          Identity theft protection and recovery service provider with two plan options starting at $14.95. Both plans include traditional as well as non-traditional credit monitoring, high-risk transaction alerts and black market monitoring.

          • Identity and credit monitoring: Both the ID Watchdog Plus plan and the Platinum plan include a variety of features, including both advanced identity and credit monitoring.
          • Secure online account and threat notifications: Access your ID Watchdog account safely online and get email and SMS text message alerts and updates. 24/7 customer service also included.
          • National Provider Identifier Alerts: For those in the healthcare field, ID Watchdog offers monitors Provider ID’s (NPI’s) for an added layer of fraud protection.
          • Guaranteed restoration guaranteed: Plans come with a 100 percent guarantee that ID Watchdog’s resolution team will fully clear fraudulent records and restore your identity if theft occurs.
          AllClear ID

          Company-sponsored program with three service levels provided only through companies and businesses who pay for and provide them to their customers. Business solutions to help respond to data breaches are also available.

          Read more about AllClear ID
          IDShield

          Comprehensive individual or family plans that includes identity theft and credit monitoring, threat alerts, privacy monitoring and unlimited consultations for prevention and restoration. 24/7 support is included.

          Read 36 Reviews

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