Best Identity Theft Protection Services of 2020

When it comes to identity theft, you don’t want to skimp on protection.
  • Best Coverage
    14-day free trial
    Many alerts about sex offenders
  • Best for Social Media
    Social insight report
    No credit monitoring with lowest tier
  • Best Price
    Medical ID fraud protection
    No credit monitoring
  • Best Antivirus
    Cyber monitoring
    No medical ID fraud protection

Identity theft “protection” is a bit of a misnomer. There’s not much you can do to completely lock down your identity; criminals will always find a way.

But you can monitor your identity through an identity theft protection service so that you know if something untoward happens. And once it does, you can take steps to restore your identity—with the help of your previously chosen service.

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Did you know?
In 2018, identity thieves stole nearly $15 billion from 14.4 million people.¹ That’s over $1,000 per victim.
Best identity theft protection services of 2020
ProviderIdentityForceIdentity GuardZanderMcAfee Identity Theft Protection
Plan price range$17.99–$23.99/mo.$17.99–$23.99/mo.$8.99–$24.99/mo.$6.75/mo.$7.99–$23.99/mo.
Identity theft insurance maximum$1 million$1 million$1 million$1 million
Lost wallet assistance

Yes

No

No

Yes
Credit reports

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes
SSN monitoring

Yes

No

Yes

Yes
Bank account monitoring

Yes

Yes

No

Yes
Medical ID protection

Yes

No

Yes

No
See detailsView PlansView PlansView PlansView Plans

Data effective 03/05/2020. Offers subject to change.

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Experian IdentityWorks exclusion
We wanted to recommend IdentityWorks as a fifth service, but the company’s had a class-action lawsuit against it. For us, major lawsuits are a ding to a brand’s credibility.

IdentityForce: Best comprehensive coverage

IdentityForce offers a little bit of everything, making it one of the most comprehensive identity theft protection services.

Why we chose IdentityForce

We’d recommend IdentityForce to almost anyone because of the massive range of services it offers.

With IdentityForce, you’re alerted anytime someone, like an auto dealer or a mortgage company, requests a copy of your credit report. IdentityForce also monitors online marketplaces for the trading or selling of your personal information. For instance, if someone steals your credit card information in a retail-store hack, IdentityForce will look for its appearance online.

IdentityForce monitors online marketplaces for your personal information.

IdentityForce also offers a ChildWatch service that monitors your children’s names online. ChildWatch is the same service IdentityForce provides adults, just with an emphasis on children. Should your (or your child’s) identity be stolen, IdentityForce offers up to $1 million in identity theft protection insurance.

IdentityForce also monitors a wide range of potential threats beyond credit reports. These threats could include sex offender registries, payday loans, court records, and more. (But take note that some users think IdentityForce’s alerts, including those about sex offenders, are excessive.)

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What do sex offenders have to do with identity theft?
Not everyone who’s arrested gives their real name to police. To keep their own record clean, some predators supply another person’s name and information upon arrest. Sex offender alerts can help you learn if a criminal’s using your identity to obscure their own.

Pros

  • Medical ID fraud protection
  • Junk mail control
  • 14-day free trial

Cons

  • Many alerts about sex offenders

IdentityForce monitoring plans

IdentityForce offers two protection options, either on a month-to-month plan or a year-long contract.

IdentityForce monitoring plan prices and details
SpecsUltraSecureUltraSecure+Credit
Monthly cost$17.99/mo.$23.99/mo.
Credit bureaus checkedNA3
Credit monitoringNoYes
Credit reportsNoYes
See detailsView PlansView Plans

Data effective 03/05/2020. Offers subject to change.

Both IdentityForce plans include medical ID fraud protection, a service we wish more identity theft protection programs would offer. You also get options to opt out of junk mail and spam through the program. And get this: if you wanna just try IdentityForce out, you get 14 days free. (Just make sure you cancel once your trial’s up.)

Starting at $17.99 per month, UltraSecure is IdentityForce’s basic package. If you sign up for a year, you’ll get two months for free for a total expense of $179.90.

UltraSecure+Credit starts at $23.99 per month, and like UltraSecure, you can pay $239.90 for a year and get two months free. UltraSecure+Credit includes all of the services that UltraSecure offers, with some additions, such as the following:

  • Tri-bureau credit reports
  • Tri-bureau credit scores
  • Monthly score tracker
  • Credit score simulator

Identity Guard: Best for social media enthusiasts

Identity Guard is the perfect service for protecting your identity online.

Why we chose Identity Guard

Identity Guard is especially geared toward folks who love the interwebs.  It provides a suite of cyber-related services that work alongside its monitoring plan to help protect your identity online. These services include an anti-phishing app, a safe browsing extension, and social media reports.

In other words, if you’re constantly visiting Snapchat or buying collectibles online, Identity Guard protection is a perfect match to help secure your identity.

While Identity Guard doesn’t cover all the must-haves, it earns its high-ranking place on the list partly because of its use of IBM’s Watson (a super-intelligent AI). The intelligent nature of this protection makes Identity Guard a force to be reckoned with.

Pros

  • Monthly credit reports
  • Anti-phishing mobile app
  • Social insight report

Cons

  • No medical ID fraud protection
  • No credit monitoring with lowest tier

Identity Guard monitoring plans

Identity Guard provides three identity theft protection plans: Value, Total, and Premier. If you sign up for services for a full year all at once, you get a nice 17% discount.

Identity Guard monitoring plan prices and details
SpecsValueTotalPremier
Monthly cost$8.99/mo.$19.99/mo.$24.99/mo.
Credit bureaus checkedNA33
Credit monitoringNoYesYes
Credit reportsNoNoYes
See detailsView PlansView PlansView Plans

Data effective 03/05/2020. Offers subject to change.

The Value plan is $8.99 per month. This plan doesn’t provide credit monitoring, unlike the other two tiers, and it’s not the best value compared to other brands’ similarly priced plans.

Total Protection is $19.99 a month. In addition to monitoring the basic channels, the Total Protection plan also monitors public records for mentions of your information and provides antivirus software and an anti-phishing app. The Total Protection plan also gives you access to credit monitoring from all three agencies.

If you get a Premier plan for $5 more a month, you’ll also regularly get a credit score, credit report, and social insight report. (The social insight report pulls from your social media.)

All of Identity Guard’s plans are also available in a more expensive family option.

Zander: Best price

Zander doesn’t have credit monitoring, but it does have super-low prices.

Why we chose Zander

As we said, identity theft “protection” is really more of a restoration. But Zander takes this attitude one step further by not including credit monitoring at all. In Zander’s eyes, credit monitoring isn’t worth the hassle.

We’re not 100% convinced; as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But we are convinced of Zander’s awesome prices.

For $6.75, you get tons of basic identity theft services plus a little extra. And just like the other companies we recommend, Zander provides up to $1 million towards expenses to help you restore your identity. With that in mind, we recommend Zander for the budget-conscious user.

Pros

  • Extremely affordable
  • Medical ID fraud protection

Cons

  • No credit monitoring

Zander monitoring plans

Zander (which is primarily an insurance company) only dabbles in identity theft protection. It has just one monitoring plan. You can get it for an individual at $6.75 or for a family with minors at $12.90.

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Why a family plan?
Identity thieves want to steal a person’s identity for personal gain. They don’t care if that person is a child. In fact, thieves have been known to target a child’s social security number because they know the activity’s likely to go unnoticed for years.

Because of this, we recommend getting monitoring services to protect your child’s identity. We especially recommend this if you have a deceased child, because unfortunately, they’re even more likely to become a victim of identity theft.

But whichever you choose, the features and services are the same. You’ll get alerts and services to guard against the following forms of ID theft:

  • Financial fraud
  • Medical ID theft
  • Tax fraud
  • Criminal ID theft
  • Social security fraud
  • Child ID theft
  • Benefits and employment fraud
  • Title fraud

McAfee Identity Theft Protection: Best antivirus

Similarly to Identity Guard, McAfee offers extra online protection in addition to restoration services.

Why we chose McAfee Identity Theft Protection

While Identity Guard is an identity theft protection service that includes antivirus software, McAfee is an antivirus software that includes identity theft protection. Antivirus software is one of the few ways you actually can protect parts of your identity, so McAfee’s tech-first approach makes sense.

So if you’re looking for antivirus and want some identity theft protection thrown in, look no further. McAfee’s here for you.

With McAfee, you get all the basics plus cyber monitoring and social media monitoring.

Pros

  • Cyber monitoring
  • Social media monitoring
  • Hefty first-month discount

Cons

  • No medical ID fraud protection

McAfee Identity Theft Protection monitoring plans

McAfee’s plans are priced similarly to IdentityForce’s, although they’re nowhere near as comprehensive. They don’t have medical ID fraud protection, junk mail control, or a credit score simulator.

McAfee Identity Theft Protection monitoring plan prices and details
SpecsStandardPlusPremium
Monthly cost$7.99/mo.$15.99/mo.$23.99/mo.
Credit bureaus checked113
Credit monitoringNoYesYes
Credit reportsNoYesYes
See detailsView PlansView PlansView Plans

Data effective 03/05/2020. Offers subject to change.

Some of McAfee’s standout features include the following:

  • Cyber monitoring
  • Social media monitoring
  • Court and criminal records monitoring
  • Sex offender monitoring
  • Credit card application monitoring
  • Payday loan monitoring

While the plans normally range from $7.99 to $23.99 a month, you can pay as little as $0.99 for your first month with McAfee. You’ll also get a 22% discount if you pay for a year up front.

Recap

It never hurts to have identity theft protection. Take a look at the companies on this list and the services they offer and decide which one is right for you.

  • IdentityForce: IdentityForce has the most comprehensive recovery services.
  • Identity Guard: If you spend a lot of time online, try Identity Guard.
  • Zander: Zander Insurance has the most budget-friendly identity theft protection service.
  • McAfee Identity Theft Protection: When protecting sensitive electronic info from hacking is your number-one priority, McAfee’s here to help.

Identity theft FAQ

How does identity theft happen?

identity theft affidavit

Identity thieves strike in a variety of ways. They might steal your wallet to hijack your credit card and driver’s license. They might buy your login info online after your details are retrieved in a data breach. They might even be a close family member using your name and social security details to buy land or conduct sketchy business.

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Protect your identity online
To protect yourself from online thieves, create unique passwords and change them frequently. Also, use two-factor authentication for all your accounts to make access more difficult.

A 2014 report from CNN Money states that identity fraud hits a new victim every two seconds.² That’s 43,200 victims per day. Alarming, no? While we couldn’t find an updated version of those stats for a more recent year, MarketWatch suggests those numbers are increasing. In 2017, 1 in 15 folks were subject to identity theft versus 1 in 20 in 2016.³

What are the signs of identity theft?

Are you getting packages that you didn’t buy? A pre-approved credit card that you didn’t apply for? Did you get an email stating that someone tried to change your driver’s license mailing address? Or did your credit report recently take a hit? These can all be signs that someone is out there pretending to be you.

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Getting law enforcement involved
If you’re a victim of identity theft, you want to reach out to the police ASAP. Depending on how drastically the thieves affect your credit, you might need to show your police report to the major credit bureaus. Even if things don’t get that bad, though, it’s important to have documentation.

You want to get notified immediately when someone’s using your identity. You can take independent actions, like getting a credit freeze or setting a fraud alert on your credit report. But for more comprehensive monitoring, it’s easier to work with an identity protection service.

What are the benefits of identity protection services?

Most identity theft protection companies can’t stop someone from stealing your identity.

We’d like to emphasize again that most identity theft protection companies cannot stop someone from stealing your identity. Instead, they look for suspicious activity to determine that theft has occurred, then alert you before too much damage occurs. They also help you restore your name and credit after the fact.

How do I choose an identity theft protection service?

When choosing the best identity theft protection, make sure the company monitors the use of your personal information, including your name, Social Security number, address, and credit inquiries. Some companies will run your credit without your knowledge or permission, and an identity theft protection company can help catch that.

An identity theft protection company might offer other services, such as the following:

  • Notifications when money is withdrawn from your bank account
  • Notifications when your Social Security number is used to file a tax return
  • Notifications when your name is used to create a social media account

Combining these services ensures that no one else can use your identity without you knowing.

What about LifeLock?

LifeLock used to be our #1 recommendation. But we have to be honest, we don’t feel comfortable recommending LifeLock these days since it uses Equifax. (Remember Equifax? It was the victim of at least five separate breaches in 2017.) We think our readers should stay far, far away from Equifax for the foreseeable future. Once bitten, twice shy. Five times bitten, get the heck out of Dodge.

What’s lost wallet assistance?

If you lose your purse or your wallet, some identity theft protection services will help you take actions such as the following:

  • Canceling your debit and credit cards
  • Replacing your driver’s license
  • Freezing your credit

This’ll prevent anyone from taking advantage of the contents of your wallet.

While a good Samaritan may find your lost items and return them, it’s better to be safe than sorry.