Do You Need Identity Theft Protection?

Identity theft protection companies pledge to act as guardians of your personal information for a monthly or almanac fee. By and large, they outset with

credit monitoring,

so layer on additional services to alarm y’all to potential issues.

Merely alerts just flag you after the fact; they can’t forbid someone from stealing and misusing your fiscal data. That’southward why NerdWallet advises proactively

freezing your credit

— information technology can forbid the opening of fraudulent accounts.

Consider paying for an identity theft protection service but if:

  • You’re already the victim of

    identity theft

    or at high hazard of it.

  • You are unwilling to freeze your credit reports.

  • You know that you won’t go through the effort of actively monitoring your own credit.

  • You have checked and don’t have acceptable identity theft monitoring

    available for gratuitous equally a do good

    or as a result of a information alienation.

You lot can practise it yourself

You tin perform the basic services offered by these companies yourself, often at no charge:

  • Y’all tin can freeze your credit files at all 3 major credit bureaus —





    — for free, something an identity theft protection company cannot practise for you.

“The get-go thing consumers demand to do if they’re worried about ID theft is just to freeze their credit reports,” says Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney at the National Consumer Police force Middle. “Freeze, freeze, freeze. Everything else is gravy on top of that.”

What identity theft protection companies do

In general, identity theft protection companies offer three main services:

  • Monitoring:

    Identity theft protection firms monitor your credit files and alert you lot most action, such as new accounts opened in your name and credit inquiries received, and then you tin can react quickly.

  • Alerts:

    Notify you of instances where your personal information has been used, similar if someone tries to open a depository financial institution account in your name. This can exist helpful because many people don’t realize identity theft has happened until their credit is wrecked, their banking concern accounts depleted or they suddenly have a lot of new debt in their proper noun.

  • Recovery:

    If someone hacks your information and uses it maliciously, these companies can assist yous recover lost money and assistance disengage the impairment to your credit. Near offer insurance policies of up to $ane million.

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Many also offer tangential services, such every bit alerts nearly identity theft news and local sex activity offender registries. Some monitor nighttime web sites known to traffic in stolen personal and financial data, which is something you can’t do yourself.

Compare identity theft protection services

You may decide you lot want a total suite of safeguards and don’t listen paying for peace of mind. Or you may know you won’t exercise it yourself.

If then, compare prices and coverage details to find a program that fits. Make sure the production you cull monitors credit data at all three credit bureaus; otherwise, yous’re paying for incomplete protection.

Avoid credit monitoring products

from the credit bureaus,

which tend to have less robust coverage and may limit your right to sue them, even if they are the ones that exposed your fiscal data.

Hither’south a look at some popular products in the identity protection industry. This is a pocket-sized sampling; you may observe a dissimilar provider that suits you lot meliorate. If you’ve already placed credit freezes, you lot’ll need to temporarily lift them to allow a provider access to your files for monitoring.



  • The top-tier Norton LifeLock plan,
    Ultimate Plus
    , offers multiple services to aid you detect and recover from identity theft.

  • It includes a countersign manager, web privacy and device security benefits.

  • The company adds value to its packet through additional features, such as a $i million identity theft recovery program and legal assistance.



 Coverage is $29.99 a month for one adult the start year, and then it auto-renews for $34.99 per month. Discounts are available for paying annually.

Best for:

Those who don’t take an entire family unit to protect; those who can beget to spend a petty actress for comprehensive coverage. Read our full

LifeLock review



  • Easy to understand exactly what you lot are getting, because in that location are no tiers, and pricing is articulate.

  • Offers unlimited consultations with identity theft expert.

  • Scans social media posts for reputational risk.


  • Every bit with all services, yous may be tempted to dismiss the importance of adept cyber hygiene practices.

  • Multiple alerts may lead you to dismiss them without reading, missing of import information.


 Monitoring of the three credit bureaus is $17.95 per month for individuals or $32.95 for families (two adults, up to 10 minor children).

All-time for:

Price-sensitive customers who desire to accept their social media accounts scanned as role of a parcel. Read our full

IDShield review



  • IdentityForce offers less expensive three-bureau monitoring than large names like LifeLock.

  • Y’all can get a family plan, which covers 2 adults and any children 25 and under.

  • Offers alerts well-nigh suspected health insurance fraud.



$23.99 a month or $239.90 a year for the

IdentityForce UltraSecure+Credit

plan, which offers monitoring at all 3 major credit bureaus. As noted, though, promotional pricing is often available. Information technology’s smart to look for it.

Best for:

Those who want protection on a upkeep; those who desire medical identity coverage.



  • ID Watchdog keeps credit monitoring, alerts and recovery elementary.

  • I standout feature: It will help you recover from pre-existing identity theft for an additional fee of $79.95 to $279.95, depending on the kind of fraudulent credit line.


  • Equifax bought ID Watchdog in 2017, the aforementioned year Equifax suffered a major data breach that exposed sensitive personal information of nearly 148 million consumers.

  • The visitor’south mobile app and desktop interface provide less information than those of its competitors.

  • ID Watchdog offers fewer monitoring services than other companies.


$19.95 a month or $219 for an almanac plan for

ID Watchdog Platinum
, which offers three-bureau credit monitoring.

Best for:

Those who demand assist recovering from pre-existing identity theft.

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