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      Do You Really Need Identity Theft Protection Services?

      Advertiser disclosure You’re our first priority. Every time. We believe that everyone should be able make financial decisions with confidence. Although our website does not feature every company or financial product available on the market We’re pleased of the advice we provide as well as the advice we offer and the tools we develop are impartial, independent simple, and free. So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we write about (and where they are featured on our website), but it does not affect our advice or suggestions, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Our partners are not able to be paid to ensure positive reviews of their products or services. .

      Do You Really Need Identity Theft Protection Services?
      Pay for a service only when you’re at risk, don’t want to block your credit, or will not monitor your personal data.
      By Sean Pyles Senior Writer | Personal finances, credit, and personal finance Sean Pyles leads podcasting at NerdWallet as the host and producer of NerdWallet’s “Smart Money” podcast. The show “Smart Money,” Sean talks with Nerds from the NerdWallet Content team to answer listeners’ personal finance questions. With a focus on shrewd and practical advice on money, Sean provides real-world guidance that will help consumers improve the financial situation of their lives. In addition to answering listeners’ financial questions on “Smart Money,” Sean also interviews guests outside of NerdWallet and produces special segments to explore topics like the racial inequality gap as well as how to get started investing, and the history for student loans.
      Before Sean lead podcasting at NerdWallet, he covered topics related to consumer debt. His writing has been featured in USA Today, The New York Times as well as other publications. When Sean isn’t writing about personal finance, Sean can be found working in his garden, going on runs and taking his dog for long walks. He is based within Ocean Shores, Washington.

      and Bev O’Shea personal finance writer | MSN Money, Credit.com, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Orlando Sentinel Bev O’Shea is a former NerdWallet authority on consumer credit, scams and identity theft. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Auburn University and a master’s in education from Georgia State University. Prior to joining NerdWallet, she worked for newspaper publishers, including daily ones, MSN Money and Credit.com. Her work has been featured on The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, MarketWatch, USA Today, MSN Money and other publications. Twitter: @BeverlyOShea.

      Jan 25, 2022

      Editor: Kathy Hinson Lead Assigning Editor Personal finance, credit scoring, debt and money management Kathy Hinson leads the core personal finance team at NerdWallet. In the past, she worked for 18 years at The Oregonian in Portland in positions such as copy desk chief and team leader for design and editing. Her previous experience includes copy editing and news for several Southern California newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. She received a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and journalism in The University of Iowa.

      A majority of the products we feature are from our partners, who pay us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product is featured on the page. However, it does not affect our opinions. Our views are our own. Here’s a list of and .

      Security companies for identity theft promise to safeguard your personal information for the cost of a monthly or annually. They typically begin by adding additional services that will warn you of potential issues.
      But alerts just flag your account after the fact, they can’t prevent someone from stealing and misusing your financial information. That’s the reason NerdWallet advises proactively to prevent the opening of fraudulent accounts.
      Consider the cost of an identity theft security service only if:
      You’re already a victim or at risk of being the victim.
      You’re not willing to freeze your credit report.
      You are sure that you will not undertake the task of continuously monitoring your own credit.
      You’ve checked and do not have adequate monitoring of identity theft or due to a data breach.

      You can make it by yourself
      You can perform the basic services offered by these companies yourself, often at no charge:
      You can and track your via a variety of personal finance websites, like NerdWallet as well as a handful of creditors of credit cards.
      You can and follow no-cost recovery pathways that are provided by the federal government at .
      You can block your credit files at the 3 major credit bureaus- – and — for free this is something that an identity theft protection company cannot do for you.

      “The first thing that consumers have to do if they’re concerned over ID theft is to freeze their credit reports,” says Chi Chi Wu an attorney on staff at the National Consumer Law Center. “Freeze, freeze, freeze. Everything else is gravy on top of that.”
      >> MORE:
      What companies for protection against identity theft do?
      In general Identity theft protection companies provide three primary services:
      Monitoring Identity theft protection companies monitor your credit files and inform you of changes, such as the creation of new accounts opened under your name, or credit inquiries received to ensure you are able to respond swiftly.
      Alerts: Inform you of instances where your personal information was utilized, for example, if someone attempts to establish a bank account in your name. This can be helpful because most people don’t know that the identity theft occurred until their credit is wrecked, their bank accounts depleted or they are suddenly lots of new debts on their account.
      The Recovery: When someone steals your data and misuses it the companies may help you recover the money lost and repair the damage to your credit. Most offer insurance policies of up to $1 million.

      A lot of companies also provide tangential service, such as alerts about identity theft news and local sex offender registries. Some monitor dark web sites that are known for transferring stolen financial and personal data that you’re not able to do by yourself.
      Find identity theft protection solutions that are comparable.
      You may decide you want a full suite of safeguards and don’t mind paying for peace of mind. Or you may know you can’t do it all by yourself.
      If so, compare prices and coverage details to find a plan that is suitable for you. Make sure the product you select is monitoring credit data at the three credit bureaus, otherwise you’ll be paying for a lack of protection.
      Beware of credit monitoring services that tend to have less extensive coverage, and could restrict your rights to pursue them even if they’re the ones that have exposed your financial information.
      Here’s a look at a few popular products in the identity protection industry. This is a small sampling and you might choose a different service which is better suited to your needs. If you’ve already put in the credit freezing, then you’ll need temporarily lift them in order to let a service access to your files to check on them.
      The highest-end Norton LifeLock plan, , provides a variety of services to help you detect and recover from identity theft.
      It also includes an online password manager, web security and privacy benefits for devices.
      The company adds value to the package by offering additional options, such as the $1 million identity theft plan, as well as legal assistance.

      The most expensive plan is priced at $48.99 and especially for a family. The coverage for two adults and up to five children is $48.99 a month in the beginning, and after that it renews automatically at a higher cost.
      As of 2015 LifeLock paid $100 million to resolve the Federal Trade Commission charge that it violated the terms of a Federal court order regarding the security of consumers’ personal information and avoiding misleading advertising.

      Cost: The coverage is $29.99 per month for an adult the first year, and it automatically renews for $34.99 monthly. Discounts are available for paying annually.
      Best for: Those who don’t have a large family to cover; who are able to afford a little extra for comprehensive coverage. Read our full .
      2. IDSHIELD
      It is simple to comprehend precisely what you’re getting, because there aren’t any tiers and pricing is clearly stated.
      Unlimited consultation with identity theft expert.
      Scans social media for reputational risk.

      As with all services it is possible to ignore the importance of following good cyber hygiene.
      Multiple alerts could cause you to dismiss them without reading, leaving out important information.

      Cost: Monitoring of 3 credit bureaus costs $17.95 per month for singles as well as $32.95 to families (two adults and up to 10 minors).
      The best option for price-sensitive clients who would like the social accounts of their customers checked in a set. Read our full .
      IdentityForce offers cheaper monitoring with three different bureaus than major brands like LifeLock.
      You can purchase an entire family plan, which covers two adults and any children aged 25 or under.
      Provides information about the possibility of fraudulent health insurance claims.

      The process of signing up is lengthy, requiring you to input details multiple times.
      Family plans aren’t accessible on the site and you may need to call for it.
      Pinning down the lowest price can be tricky, since prices differ based the method you choose to sign up online or over the phone.

      Cost: $23.99 per month, or $239.90 annually for the plan, which includes monitoring at the 3 major credit bureaus. However, as mentioned, discounts are usually available. It’s smart to look for it.
      Best for: Those who want protection on a budget; those seeking medical identity protection.
      ID Watchdog keeps credit monitoring, alerts and recovery simple.
      One of the most notable features is that it will help you recover from pre-existing identity theft for an additional fee of $79.95 up to $279.95 dependent on the type of fraudulent credit line.

      Equifax purchased ID Watchdog in 2017, in the same year Equifax suffered a major data breach that revealed sensitive personal data of more than 148 million consumers.
      The mobile app and desktop interface offer less details than its competitors.
      ID Watchdog offers fewer monitoring services than other companies.

      Price: $19.95 a month or $219 for an annual package for , which offers three-bureau credit monitoring.
      Best for: Those who need help getting back their identity after a previous identity theft.
      Do you need a credit report review?
      Register for an account and get your credit report free and score available every day.

      About the authors: Sean Pyles is the executive producer and host for NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast. His writing has appeared on The New York Times, USA Today and elsewhere.

      Bev O’Shea is an ex-credit writer at NerdWallet. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, MarketWatch and elsewhere.

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