If you have had a credit or debit card compromised, you know how difficult and frustrating it can be to change your account information if you use your card to automatically pay your bills. Now, imagine what you might have to deal with if your entire identity is stolen and someone uses your name to clear out your bank accounts, make large purchases, or uses your credit to get costly medical treatment.
If you don’t think it can happen to you, think again. The Federal Trade Commission reports that the Consumer Sentinel Network took in over 3.2 million fraud and identity theft-related reports in 2019, an increase from 2018.
Identity theft protection services help keep an eye on your information, and some will even help restore your identity when your information is compromised. We reviewed 15 companies to select the top identity theft protection services based on price, service, reviews, and more.
The 8 Best Identity Theft Protection Services of 2020
Best Overall: Identity Guard
Aura's Identity Guard is a division of Intersections, Inc., based in Chantilly, Virginia. The company was created in 1996 and is one of the first identity theft protection services established in the industry. It offers three plans, which are actually quite similar in providing monitoring and protection with dark web monitoring, risk management reports, and safe browsing tools.
The Value plan is Identity Guard's most basic offering but still provides thorough monitoring with many important features. The Total and Premier plans offer three credit bureau reports and a monthly credit score. The Premier plan also offers a social insights report to look for risk alerts.
All three options use IBM Watson artificial intelligence to constantly monitor and scan through billions of pieces of information on the internet so that it can alert customers to any potential identity theft issues.
Identity Guard Protection Plans:
- Identity Guard Value: $6.67 per month
- Identity Guard Total: $13.33 per month
- Identity Guard Premier: $16.67 per month
Why We Picked It: When it comes to getting the most protection for the cost, we picked Identity Guard as our best overall because it provides safe browsing tools, an anti-phishing app, and doesn’t skimp on services—even on its most affordable plan.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: McAfee
McAfee was founded in 1989 and was named for its founder John McAfee. Its headquarters are located in Santa Clara, California. You may know the company more for its anti-virus software, but McAfee offers three identity theft protection plans as well.
Identity Theft Protection Standard, Identity Theft Protection Plus, and Identity Theft Protection Premium all provide similar services, including free 24/7/365 support and step-by-step guidance if you lose your wallet. The Plus plan also monitors credit scores and non-credit name inquiries. Identity Theft Protection Premium provides bank account takeover monitoring and will alert you if a sex offender moves into your neighborhood.
McAfee Service Plans*:
- Identity Theft Protection Standard: $0.99 first month/$69.99 first year
- Identity Theft Protection Plus: $4.99 first month/$139.99 first year
- Identity Theft Protection Premium: $9.99 first month/$209.99 first year
*Reflects current sale prices based on auto-renewal and other conditions.
Why We Picked It: McAfee is our runner-up for best overall provider not only for the protection plans that they offer but also for the clear and easy-to-understand package information that explains exactly what you are getting for your money.
Best Price: Zander Insurance
Zander Insurance was founded in 1927 and is located in Nashville, Tennessee. Although this nationwide company is mostly known for its insurance policies that cover things like houses, cars, and even workers’ comp, the company also provides a theft protection plan available to individuals and families, which includes children for free. This plan provides monitoring and restoration, and representatives are available 24/7/365.
Zander Service Plans:
- Individual $6.75 per month
- Family $12.90 per month
Why We Picked It: You won’t get a whole lot of bells and whistles like some of the other companies' plans offer, but we like that Zander offers an identity theft protection service that provides both monitoring and restoration without charging you a whole lot of money.
Best Comprehensive Coverage: IdentityIQ
IdentityIQ was founded in 2010 and its headquarters are located in Las Vegas, Nevada. The company offers three plans: Secure Plus, Secure Pro, and Secure Max. All three plans offer monitoring and restoration, with the Pro plan offering crime alerts and enhanced credit monitoring. Only the Secure Max plan offers things like a credit score tracker, credit score simulator, and fraud restoration Limited Power of Attorney (LPOA) assistance, the latter of which permits a portfolio manager to work on your behalf to restore your identity. This area of coverage goes beyond monitoring or walking you through the steps of restoration; it does many of them for you.
IdentityIQ Service Plans:
- Secure Plus: $9.99 per month
- Secure Pro: $19.99 per month
- Secure Max: $29.99 per month
Why We Picked It: When comparing plans, we like that IdentityIQ offers a wide range of services on all three of its plans, such as lost wallet assistance, coverage for lawyers and experts, and even personal expense compensation.
Best Service: IdentityForce
IdentityForce was founded in 1978 and acquired by Sontiq in 2019, with headquarters located in Framingham, Massachusetts. The company is both a monitoring and restoration company.
When your personal information is at risk, IdentityForce will quickly send an alert to your smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. The company offers two protection plans: UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit. UltraSecure provides both monitoring and recovery, while UltraSecure+Credit provides the same features as UltraSecure, but gives you the extra protection of monitoring your account information on all three credit reporting bureaus.
IdentityForce Service Plans
- UltraSecure: $17.95 per month
- UltraSecure+Credit: $23.96 per month
Why We Picked It: We like how IdentityForce's service uses advanced technology to look for issues before they become a problem and will alert you if suspicious activity appears. Their service helps you pay attention to the details when they matter most. The company is also offering two free months of service with the purchase of an annual plan.
Most Ease of Claims: ID Watchdog
Denver, Colorado-based ID Watchdog was founded in 2005 and later acquired by the credit reporting bureau Equifax in 2017. The company offers credit report monitoring and restoring through either of their two service subscriptions: ID Watchdog Plus and ID Watchdog Platinum.
Both provide similar benefits, however, there are two main differences. The ID Watchdog Platinum plan contains everything that ID Watchdog Plus does, but offers credit report monitoring for all three credit bureaus instead of just Equifax, and offers extra insurance that will provide up to $500,000 for stolen funds from your 401(k) or HSA. The company also has family plans, which cover an additional adult and up to four children.
ID Watchdog Service Plans:
- ID Watchdog Plus: $14.95 per month indiv./$25.95 per month family
- ID Watchdog Platinum: $19.95 per month indiv./$34.95 per month family
Why We Picked It: We like that ID Watchdog provides one-touch calling through its app and that you have the ability to lock your Equifax credit report by simply switching from “unlock” to “lock.”
Best for Monitoring Identity Theft and Credit Scores: MyFico
MyFico is headquartered in San Rafael, California, and is a division of Fair Isaac. Established in the 1960s, Fair Isaac is the company that invented FICO®, which is the credit risk score that most lenders in the financial industry use to determine one’s creditworthiness.
As an identity theft protection service, MyFico offers three plans to choose from: Basic, Advanced, and Premier. All three provide similar services, such as credit score monitoring and identity theft restoration, but Basic only provides credit bureau coverage through Experian, while the Advanced and Premier plans monitor all three credit bureaus. The Basic plan also does not cover identity monitoring. The Premier plan provides monthly updates where the Advanced plan only provides quarterly updates.
MyFico Service Plans:
- Basic: $19.95 per month
- Advanced: $29.95 per month
- Premier: $39.95 per month
Why We Picked It: We like how the company keeps an eye on your credit scores and will not only alert you if there is fraudulent activity spotted but also provides you with information about your credit history and what you can do to improve your credit score.
Best for Employers: AllClear ID
AllClear ID is located in Austin, Texas, and was founded in 2004. It is mostly known for the protection it provides against data breaches that affect businesses, but the company also offers identity theft protection that includes monitoring and restoration.
There are two ways to join, as an individual or as an employee. To join as an employee with discounted pricing, you’ll need to receive a code from your employer. Individual costs are free for Basic, which only provides service if your identity is stolen, and Pro Plus, which includes fraud alerts and monitoring for $14.95 a month. Fees for sponsored plans through employers vary depending on the chosen sponsored plan.
Why We Picked It: We like that businesses can offer this service as a benefit for their employees. We also like that this service provides AllClear ID's ChildScan monitoring and theft monitoring as part of the sponsored plan.
What Are Identity Theft Protection Services?
Millions of people have their identity stolen every year. Once someone has your information, they can sell your Social Security number on the dark web, use your credit cards to make purchases, or even access your bank accounts.
Identity theft protection services monitor your personal information for a monthly or annual fee. If a breach of your information occurs they will alert you, and some identity theft protection services even work with you to restore your identity when a theft occurs.
What Do Identity Theft Protection Services Typically Include?
It is important to realize that there is no service that can actually keep your information from getting stolen. Instead, these types of services monitor your personal information and/or your credit information so that you don’t have to do it yourself.
Some of the types of monitoring that they do include checking your credit reports and bank accounts for unusual activity and performing internet searches to see if your information is appearing on the dark web.
In addition to monitoring your accounts, some identity theft protection services also provide recovery services, which help you do the necessary paperwork to get back your good name along with any financial losses that have occurred. The services will contact your creditors, place freezes on your credit reports, and may even help you to establish new financial accounts in your name.
What Do Identity Theft Protection Services Typically Exclude?
Some companies exclude assistance if you are the victim of identity theft for a medical claim, nor will they reimburse you if money is taken from your bank accounts or if you have to request a new Social Security card. Since each company handles indemnity theft differently, you should take this into account before you sign up.
This is where it becomes especially important to read over what your protection plan includes and ask some questions. If you are required to sign a limited power of attorney, this usually means that someone from the company will assist you during the restoration process, otherwise, the company may simply send you a kit with instructions on how to do it yourself.
What Are the Expected Costs of Identity Theft Protection Services?
Most identity theft protection services charge a monthly fee for service, and fees vary greatly from as low as $6.75 per month to as high as $39.95 per month or more. There are often additional costs if you wish to include other members of your family.
When choosing a service, watch carefully for introductory offers that may automatically increase in price after a month or two of service.
Making a Claim With Your Identity Theft Protection Provider
Filing a claim is a typically straightforward process with most companies, and you can contact someone 24/7/365. In most cases, as soon as you realize there is an issue, you call a phone number and a customer care rep will take your information and immediately start the claims process.
How We Chose Identity Theft Protection Services
We chose the identity theft protection services that we reviewed from over 15 firms before choosing our top eight. The criteria that we used for our selection process included each company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau and disqualified those that did not have a B rating or higher. We also considered plan prices and how each company handles the claims process, as well as the length of time that each company has been in business and that we could readily identify the location of its headquarters.
FTC. "Consumer Sentinel Network," Page 3. Accessed April 10, 2020.
Equifax. "Equifax Acquires ID Watchdog, a Leading Identity Protection and Resolution Services Company." Accessed April 10, 2020.
Crunchbase. "MyFico Overview." Accessed April 10, 2020.
Consumer Reports. "Prevent the Theft of Your Identity." Accessed April 10, 2020.