The best identity theft protection services make it easy to spot, stop and recover your identity after a crisis.
Since recovering from identity theft and getting your life back can take months or even years on your own, investing in one of these services can save you a great deal of time. Many of the best identity theft protection services also provide you with credit monitoring as well as extra security software like a VPN or password manager to help keep you safe online.
In order to determine which identity theft protection services are the best for you, we put all of the ones listed below through three months of intensive testing and used them ourselves. During this time, we used multiple computers as well as smartphones and tablets to check in several times a week to see if our identities were being misused online. However, we also carefully scrutinized all of the alerts we received to see which ones were serious and which we could ignore.
Based on our testing and reviews, we can tell you which identity theft protection services send out too many alerts as well as which ones can scan court records, examine the dark web for your data or notify you if a sex offender has moved in next door. These are the best identity theft protection services you can sign up for today.
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The quick list
Below you'll find everything you need to know about the best identity theft protection services at a glance including what they monitor and whether or not they offer a family plan. There's something here for every type of person as well as every budget.
The best identity theft protection service overall
Aura is available for individuals, couples or families and includes malware protection from Avira and a VPN. It monitors all three credit bureaus as well as your bank and investment accounts with annual credit reports. Avira also gives you up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.
The best identity theft protection service for security
Bitdefender lacks a family plan but includes a VPN, password manager and malware protection. It monitors all three credit bureaus and your bank and investment accounts. Bitdefender offers up to $2 million in identity theft insurance.
Best identity protection
The best identity protection
IdentityForce has a family plan but doesn't offer malware protection or other extra security software. It monitors all three credit bureaus as well as your bank and investment accounts. IdentityForce provides up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.
The best value identity theft protection service
IDShield offers individual and family plans and includes malware protection and a VPN. It monitors all three credit bureaus as well as your bank and investment accounts but only provides a monthly VantageScore credit score. IDShield comes with up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.
The best identity theft protection service for features
LifeLock has plenty of plans to choose from but security software like malware protection, a password manager or a VPN costs extra. It monitors all three credit bureaus as well as your bank and investment accounts with daily reports from Equifax. LifeLock provides up to $3 million in identity theft insurance.
Best for families
Best identity theft protection service for families
McAfee has several plans including a family plan and gives you access to a VPN and malware protection for an unlimited number of users. It monitors all three credit bureaus as well as your bank accounts with credit reports issued each month. McAfee provides up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.
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Best on a budget
Best budget identity theft protection service
Identity Guard has several plans including a family plan and you also get access to a password manager. It monitors all three credit bureaus, your bank and investment accounts and even social media. IdentityGuard offers up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.
Best credit scores
Best identity theft protection service for credit scores
MyFICO has several plans but lacks a family plan as well as extra security software. It monitors all three credit bureaus with new credit reports issued monthly and there's even a credit simulator available. MyFICO provides up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.
The best identity theft protection software you get buy today
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Best identity theft protection overall
Aura not only has one of the best interfaces but it also provides you with the most important and most used features to protect your identity online at a reasonable price, making it the best identity theft protection service overall.
In addition to data breach, title change and sex offender alerts, Aura can also monitor both investment and bank accounts for suspicious activity. However, the service also makes it easy to avoid being overwhelmed by alerts by allowing you to set up a transaction limit for monitoring. The family plan even allows you to set up basic monitoring to ensure that your Children’s Social Security numbers aren’t being misused online.
When it comes to identity theft insurance, Aura’s Individual plan includes $1 million to help you recover from an identity theft while its Couple plan ups this coverage to $2 million and the Family plan brings it all the way to $5 million. There’s also a credit lock button for Experian that lets you instantly lock your credit. Besides excellent identity protection, Aura comes with powerful malware protection from Avira, VPN access and a password manager so that all your bases are covered.
During our testing over the course of three months, we received 12 alerts including several for large money transfers. We also found it easy to cancel our subscription and Aura lets you do this over the phone or online. If you’re looking to protect your identity online and defend against the worst the web has to offer, Aura should be your top choice.
Read our full Aura review.
Best identity theft protection for security
Bitdefender may be known for its antivirus software but the company took its online protection to a new level last year by adding identity theft services from Identity Force for its new Bitdefender Ultimate Security offering.
When it comes to keeping an eye on your credit, Bitdefender Ultimate Security has you covered with monthly reports from all three major bureaus. The service can also monitor up to 10 banking and investment accounts but it does lack payday loan and title change alerts, though Bitdefender is working on adding these. There’s even an instant TransUnion credit freeze button as well as an Action Plan for each event with advice that ranges from changing your passwords to getting a spam blocker.
Unlike other identity theft protection services that often top out at $1 million, Bitdefender goes the extra mile with $2 million in identity-theft insurance. You can also get up to $1,000 a week in lost pay (for up to five weeks) as well as up to $2,000 in travel expenses. Likewise, if you’re currently undergoing an identity crisis, Bitdefender can soften the blow by freezing your credit cards to limit the damage. As for keeping you secure online, you also get access to Bitdefender’s antivirus software, a password manager, a VPN and even parental control software.
During our three-month evaluation of Bitdefender Ultimate Security, we received eight notifications with most of them being related to our personal data showing up on the dark web. Since Bitdefender doesn’t have a monthly plan, canceling the service amounted to turning off the auto-renewal process and waiting for our plan to expire. Still though, this was easy enough to do and only took a few minutes. If you want complete protection for your entire digital life from one dashboard, Bitdefender Ultimate Security plus could be the identity theft protection service for you.
Read our full Bitdefender Ultimate Security review.
Best identity theft protection for securing your identity
IdentityForce has held the top spot on our list of the best identity theft protection services for two years running but this year, it faced stiff competition from Aura and Bitdefender Ultimate Security which uses its analysis, defenses and insurance. However, if you’re looking for excellent identity theft protection as opposed to extra security, it remains a great choice.
If you want to monitor your credit, you’ll need to upgrade to IdentityForce’s UltraSecure+Credit plan which provides instant scores along with access to your VantageScore 3.0 composite score. You also get quarterly reports from all three bureaus. In terms of monitoring, IdentityForce can scan court records and dark web forums for mentions of your name and Social Security number. Alerts arrive via text, email or as a notification in the mobile app when someone opens a credit card or takes out a loan in your name. However, there are also alerts for public record changes and for when a registered sex offender moves within a preset distance from your home.
IdentityForce provides up to $1 million in identity-theft insurance which is half that of Bitdefender and significantly less than what you can get with Aura’s Family plan. Still though, you also get reimbursed for lost work at $2,000 a week and IdentityForce’s lost wallet protection can help you cancel your credit and debit cards to limit any damage caused by identity theft. As for security extras, the service includes a VPN and browser extensions but no malware protection or access to a password manager.
During our three-month testing period, we received just two alerts and one indicated that a registered sex offender had moved in nearby. Canceling our IdentityForce subscription was incredibly easy but it had to be done over the phone. However, it only took a few minutes and we weren’t pressured into staying with a discount. IdenityForce provides a good balance of credit monitoring, identity protection and insurance and unlike Bitdefender, there is a monthly payment option so you don’t have to sign up for a full year’s worth of coverage.
Read our full IdentityForce UltraSecure+Credit review.
Best identity theft protection service for value
IDShield offers one of the least expensive ways to monitor your credit and protect your identity online. While you can save quite a bit with either of the service’s two plans, you are missing out on some essential features others include like two-factor authentication as well as some useful extras like full credit reports and credit simulators to help you improve your credit over time.
With IDShield, you get monthly VantageScore 3 figures from TransUnion and the service monitors activity at all three major credit bureaus. Although the company prioritizes TransUnion, during an identity theft the company works with all three bureaus to create a merged report in order to diagnose the problem and help fix it.
IDShield’s Individual and Family plans both include up to $1 million in identity-theft insurance as well up to $1,500 per week in lost salary for when you’re dealing with an identity crisis. There’s also lost wallet protection to help you replace any documents or payment cards. If you have a large family, IDShield’s Family plan can cover up to two adults as well as an unlimited number of children living at home if they’re under 18. However, full-time students up to 26 years old are also covered. As for extra security goodies, IDShield includes malware defenses from Trend Micro as well as a VPN and password manager.
During our three-month testing period, we received five alerts from IDShield with no false alarms. The service sends out alerts when it finds your personal data on the dark web as well as when a sex offender moves in nearby. Canceling IDShield was easy enough and can be done over the phone or by email. However, we didn’t receive any confirmation that our account was closed and needed to call the company to confirm. If you’re after a real bargain when it comes to securing your identity online, IDShield should be at the top of your list, granted you don’t need full credit reports or an instant credit freeze button.
Read our full IDShield review.
Best identity theft protection for features
LifeLock is the perfect choice for those looking for the most comprehensive identity theft protection with a wide variety of plans and subscriptions to choose from. However, none of them include credit simulators and add-ons like malware protection and VPN access can get expensive. Still though, if you want to secure your entire digital life with one service LifeLock is the best choice.
When it comes to credit scores, LifeLock does a better job than the competition with daily squires from Equifax and monthly ones from both TransUnion and Experian if you sign up for the service’s top-of-the-line Ultimate Plus plan. It also checks for suspicious activity on your credit cards, bank and investment accounts and can even look at payday loan companies. LifeLock even includes dark web monitoring to see if your personal information is already in the hands of hackers. The service also stands out when it comes to identity-theft insurance as it doesn’t use an insurance company and provides up to $1 million on its own. There’s also an additional $1 million to cover stolen funds and the limit can rise all the way up to $3 million with a family plan.
As for security, LifeLock Ultimate Plus can be bolstered with Norton 360 malware coverage and additional extras like a firewall, parental controls and a VPN but these do cost extra. Fortunately, adding antivirus protection to your identity theft plan comes at a steep discount. LifeLock also now includes a Phone Takeover feature that monitors your smartphone and SIM card for signs of abuse and the sex offender alert lets you know if anyone you need to be cautious of has moved into your area.
During our testing period, we received four alerts from LifeLock which were mostly for inquiries made to our credit history. Likewise, canceling the service was easy enough and we were able to go through the entire process right from LifeLock’s mobile app on our Android smartphone. LifeLock may be expensive depending on the plan you pick but you’re getting excellent identity theft protection and security extras for the price.
Read our full LifeLock Ultimate Plus review.
Best identity theft protection service for families
McAfee+ is another new entrant to the world of identity theft protection from the antivirus maker McAFee. One thing that really sets it apart from the competition is the fact that the service includes malware protection for an unlimited number of users along with its Protection Score which shows you useful steps you can take to further protect your identity online.
If you sign up for McAfee+’s Advanced plan you only get credit scores from a single bureau while the more expensive Ultimate subscription we tested gives you access to all three while also including an easy way to lock your TransUnion account in an emergency. This plan also includes access to your VantageScore 3.0 which can let you know if you’re ready to apply for a new loan or mortgage.
Like many other identity theft protection services, McAfee+ uses AIG for its identity-theft insurance with up to $1 million in coverage. However, the Ultimate plan also throws in $25,000 to help you deal with the fallout from a ransomware attack which no other service does. As for security extras, you get access to the company’s malware defenses and an unlimited VPN.
During our evaluation period, we received five alerts from McAfee+ which ranged from info about credit inquiries to data breaches. There’s no way to outright cancel the service online and instead, we just canceled the auto-renewal process. McAfee+ is a good first effort but if investment monitoring and credit simulators is something you’re interested in, you’ll need to look elsewhere. However, if you need to protect an unlimited number of computers along with your identity, McAfee+ might be the perfect service for you.
Read our full McAfee+ Ultimate review.
Best identity theft protection service on a budget
Identity Guard provides solid identity theft protection at a fair price with an excellent variety of plans to choose from. These plans also include access to a password manager but you won’t find malware protection or a VPN here. Still, Identity Guard’s thorough social media monitoring and identity insurance make it a great pick for those on a tighter budget.
Regarding credit monitoring, Identity Guard’s cheapest Value plan doesn’t show any of your credit scores while its mid-range Total plan adds single bureau credit scores updated monthly from Equifax with monitoring at all three credit bureaus. Meanwhile, the Ultra plan shows scores for all three bureaus and includes credit reports, though they only arrive annually. It’s worth noting that IdentityGuard’s parent company is Aura and you might be better off with them if you want access to a VPN along with malware protection from Avira.
As for identity-theft insurance, Identity Guard includes $1 million to cover fraud and to help you recover your identity. Another nice thing about this service is that a single agent handles your claim from start to finish and there’s also an Experian credit lock to make it dead simple to freeze your credit during an emergency.
During our three-months of testing, we received four alerts from Identity Guard which covered several large payments as well as an IRS identity verification that many other services missed. Cancellation was easy enough but it did have to be done entirely over the phone instead of online. Identity Guard does the basics of identity theft protection extremely well and the lack of some security extras helps keep the annual cost of the service down.
Read our full Identity Guard review.
Best identity theft protection service for credit scores
MyFICO is an excellent choice if you want to protect your identity but your main focus is on carefully monitoring your credit. Unlike other identity theft protection services that use the VantageScore 3.0, this one gives you access to your actual FICO scores which are what loan officers use to determine your creditworthiness — perfect for those looking to take out a new loan or mortgage.
Besides your FICO scores, MyFICO also gives you access to your credit scores from all three bureaus depending on which plan you choose. The Basic plan included Experian credit scores and reports as well as your main FICO score while the Advanced plan adds scores and reports from all three bureaus. Upgrading to the top-tier Premier plan gives you scores from all three bureaus monthly as opposed to quarterly. Unfortunately though, there’s no family plan nor do you get a discount for paying annually.
All of MyFICO’s three plans include up to $1 million in identity-theft insurance to pay for consultants, investigators, lawyers and other experts to help you recover your identity. One interesting thing that sets this service apart from the competition though is that lost wages are covered with no limit while other services stop at around $7,500. There aren’t any security extras though which means you won’t get access to a VPN, password manager or malware protection.
During our testing, we got a startling 32 alerts though most of these were for changing bank balances. The alert threshold can be turned down though if you want to receive fewer alerts when moving money between your accounts. Canceling MyFICO can be done by phone, email or on the company’s website. If you want to get to the bottom of why your credit scores are the way they are, MyFICO is an excellent choice but you will have to supplement your plan with malware protection and other security features from a different provider.
Read our full MyFICO review.
How to protect your identity for free
Any of the services detailed above are well worth paying for if you know your personal information was compromised as the result of a data breach or data leak. However, you can also take several steps on your own that won’t cost you a thing to protect your identity and monitor your credit.
- Frequently check both your bank and credit card statements
- Go to annualcreditreport.com for free yearly credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion
- Ask the credit-reporting agencies to put a free credit freeze on your files
How to choose the best identity protection service for you
The services we’ve reviewed in this guide have a lot in common. All of them monitor your files with all three of the major credit bureaus and let you know when something alarming has shown up. All watch the dark web and other places cybercriminals frequent for mention of your name, Social Security number and credit card and bank account numbers.
Additionally, each of these services sends you alerts via email and text messages and all of them have mobile apps for Android and iOS.
If your identity is stolen while paying for one of these services, each will spend up to $1 million or more to help restore your good name and credit, including reimbursement for stolen funds and lost wages.
However, the best identity theft protection services differ in how often you’ll get credit reports and scores as well as when it comes to which bureaus you’ll get credit scores from. Not every service monitors your bank, credit card and investment accounts.
Last but not least, not every one of these services offers two-factor login authentication (2FA) to protect your account. This makes sense considering the sensitive nature of the information they handle. It would be pretty ironic to have your identity stolen from an identity theft protection service.
How we test and rate the best identity theft protection services
Our testing and analysis of the best identity theft protection services focuses on how well each one monitors credit information, financial activity and personal information. We also rated each service for how frequently it provides credit reports and credit scores not including free annual credit reports.
We gave extra weight to the services that offer tools to help improve your credit score and penalized any services that do not give you credit reports from all three credit bureaus.
At the same time, we also rated each service for the number of credit cards, debit cards and bank accounts they monitor. We paid close attention to whether or not a service provides email or SMS notifications for large changes to an account balance or large expenses on a credit card.
We penalized services that didn’t allow us to add personal information beyond our Social Security number, such as our driver’s license number, phone number or multiple email addresses. Each of these numbers can also be used to steal your identity. We also gave extra points to services that detected any compromised personal information.
To see which identity theft protection service is truly the best, we spent three months trying out all of the services on this list. During this testing period, our reviewer used his credit cards and bank accounts as usual to look for signs of identity theft. However, he also opted into email, SMS and phone alerts (when available) from the services while regularly checking his credit reports to monitor for any changes.