Best identity theft protection services 2024

Best identity theft protection services 2024

Get alerted when a criminal opens up an account in your name

by Kurt Knutsson

We receive many messages from people with tragic stories about how they’ve been scammed.  Worse, the scammers got into their bank accounts and steal before anyone knows what happened.

Just recently, Esther H shared this email:

“I almost got scammed over the phone by people posing as Social Security and the Drug Enforcement Agency. I am now in the market for the best identity theft protection.  Can you advise, please? – Esther H.”

It seems inevitable to get a plain envelope from some company —you’ve worked for, frequented, or purchased from—announcing another data breach. Somewhere someone screwed up, or they got hacked, and now data about you is floating around the internet, and god knows where else.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft increased from 4.87M in 2020 to 5.74M in 2021 (last year’s 2022 report will be coming out soon). The FBI reported that internet crime went from 791k reports/4.2B in losses in 2020 to 847k reports/6.9B in losses in 2021. While we await their official reports for 2022, we can see the upward and anticipated trend is apparent.

Jump down to my top Identity Theft protection picks

 


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Hands folding a clip board with 'Scam' written over a document

 

Cybercriminals are getting more crafty at stealing more

Hackers are targeting healthcare establishments, financial firms, manufacturers, utility companies and individuals.  It’s hard to avoid being in the cross-hairs of these cybercriminal attacks.

Why not protect yourself from the get-go, so you’re not reacting to these types of letters or worse financial repercussions such as random charges to your account or weird accounts being opened and closed in your name with your information?

Jump down to my top Identity Theft protection picks

 

Why is fraud protection vital to you?

The saying an ‘ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ can not be more fitting than when thinking about fraud protection.

When you think about fraud, you might think about fraudulent credit card charges. However, fraud covers a whole lot more than most people realize.

Though most banks and credit card companies will issue you a refund or recoup some of the verifiable fraud charges on your account, as well as replace your credit card if it was lost or stolen, they will very rarely assist you in more complex matters listed (but not limited to) below:

  • Stolen social security numbers
  • Credit score fluctuations because of accounts opened or closed under your information
  • Negative credit reports from major credit bureau
  • Prevention of further abuse of your financials with security freezes or account locks
  • Reimbursement of stolen funds
  • Scanning the dark web to alert you if your information is being bought or sold

Certainly, you can hope for the best and eventually be contacted by an organization you interacted with a scary letter informing you that your private data has been leaked.

The alternative is getting a fraud protection service, which will likely alert you sooner and help you deal with the repercussions.

With a fraud protection service, you will know who to call or what to do next as soon as you get an alert or letter about suspicious activities. While it is great to simply have a service that will alert you of problematic activity, some services guide you step-by-step when a suspicious activity or cybercriminal activity impacts you.

Jump down to my top Identity Theft protection picks

 

What to look for in Fraud Protection services

While the inherent value of fraud protection services is understood, the number of options offered by different companies can feel both overwhelming and confusing.

Below are the top options to look for in fraud protection:

  • Social Security alerts – For better or worse, so much of your life is tied to your social security number, especially governmental, medical, and financial services. However, what happens if your social security number gets leaked in a data breach? If you get alerts about where your social security number is being used, you can make sure that it is being used correctly and only by you.
  • Identity alerts – See if and where your name, birth date, contact information as well as other personal information are being used.
  • Credit Score Monitoring – While a credit card company might credit those charges or issue a replacement credit card, what happens if a cybercriminal opens and closes multiple lines of credit using your leaked information? You depend on high credit scores to secure optimal lending offers. It impacts whether you are even a candidate for certain purchases or investments such as apartments, homes, or vehicles. By monitoring your credit score, you can keep track of your overall financial health.
  • Credit Report Monitoring  Though average Americans are granted free credit reports every 12 months from the three major consumer reporting companies, culling through these reports can be cumbersome, and difficult to spot potential fraud. These fraud protection services can help you more easily access these credit reports, identify fraudulent charges, as well as go through the credit reports with a specialist.
  • Identity restoration help – Many fraud protection services actively work with you to restore your identity by dispensing experts to work with credit agency, government agencies, etc.
  • Dark web monitoring – The dark web is where cybercriminals sell & buy private information online. Many services monitor these sites and alert you if your information shows up.
  • Family Plan options – As children have clean credit history and relatively unattached social security numbers, they can become easy targets for cybercriminals. Many services allow multiple family members in certain plans, so the whole family stays safe.
  • Value – Fraud protection should not be just for the super-rich, and not every person needs the maximum level of protection. Many services now offer monthly subscriptions vs. just annual, as well as different tiers of services.
  • Reimbursement of stolen funds or identity theft insurance: Some companies reimburse stolen funds, which can provide relief as fraud investigations can take 30 to 90 days.
  • Transaction Monitoring – You’re able to connect all your financial accounts into one dashboard (banks, investments, 401ks). You’re also able to set alerts based on transaction amounts, so it helps catch unusual transfers of money or withdrawals.
  • Security Freeze – Connects with establishments that offer free security freezes.
  • Wallet Protection – If your wallet is stolen, customer service will help cancel your debit and credit cards.  If you forget some, customer service will pull your credit report to see any active credit lines.

 

 

CyberGuy’s Top Choices for Fraud Protection

Top Choice: Identity Guard

Identity Guard logo with adult male in glasses and button down shirt

Credit: Identity Guard

Identity Guard uniquely boasts the use of Watson, IBM’s artificial intelligence, which means your data is being constantly scanned for by AI that adjusts to new threats or information consistently.

Some highlights of its services include:

  • Get alerts if your identity or online accounts are compromised
  • Identity theft insurance: Backed by $1 million identity theft insurance to cover losses, legal fees, and more
  • Excellent customer service with a US-based restoration specialist for all plans

Pros:

  • Identity Guard has many services under its plan where you only have to pay 1 subscription fee to keep your identity and finances safe.  Plus, there is one-on-one customer service to help you with every step of the way to resolve identity theft.
  • 3 tiers of service (Value, Total and Ultra), as well as individual and family plans
  • All plans alert you of high-risk transactions, which prevents you from putting your information and self at risk (prevention)
  • Monthly credit score updates (1 bureau) as well as credit monitoring (3 bureaus) for the 2 higher priced tiers
  • Online dashboard and app & dark web monitoring included in all plans
  • Most notable features:
    • Identity theft insurance: Backed by $1 million identity theft insurance to cover losses, legal fees, and more
    • Dark web monitoring: Identity Guard will monitor personal information like your Home title (with Ultra plan), Social Security Number (SSN), phone number, and email address and alert you if it is being sold on the dark web or being used to open an account.
    • White Glove Fraud resolution team:  This service provides a US-based White Glove case manager to help you recover your identity should it be stolen.  You can work with this case manager to recover any losses associated with the identity theft you experience.

Cons:

  • Previously we would have said the interface needed a redesign, but the company just made a nice update.

 

How does Identity Guard work if your identity is stolen?

If your identity is stolen, here is what happens if you are a member of Identity Guard.

  1. You first would receive an alert that someone has opened an account in your name.
  2. In the Identity Guard dashboard, you will see an alert. If you don’t recognize the institution, you will be prompted to call Identity Guard’s customer service team.
  3. The Identity Guard team will open a case and ask them more questions.
  4. Based on what they learn, our team will recommend a set of actions to take (Credit Lock, Security Freeze, Fraud Alerts, etc)
  5. The case will stay open for a set of time, and our team will continually follow up and see if there are any more instances of fraud.

Out of the top 3 fraud protection services, the company that rises to the top is Identity Guard.  Identity Guard gets the edge on its competition because of how comprehensive its offerings are for the price with our exclusive deal and variety of packages it offers. Not only does it have multiple options at different price points, yet it optimizes AI technology of IBM’s Watson to keep your data safer and abreast of the latest breaches.

Fortunately, taking advantage of stellar fraud protection from Identity Guard is even more affordable with exclusive CyberGuy savings (up to 51% off).

Plans include:

Value Planwhich includes a US-based Customer Care team, data breach notification, dark web monitoring, high-risk transaction monitoring.

    • Individual plan – $6.67/month (save 25%, billed annually)
    • Family plan – $10.00/month (save 33%, covers 5 adults, unlimited kids, billed annually)

Total Plan  – which includes a US-based Customer Care team, data breach notification, dark web monitoring, high-risk transaction monitoring, bank account monitoring, standard credit protection (3 bureau credit monitoring, monthly credit score).

    • Individual plan – $9.79/month (save 51%, billed annually)
    • Family plan – $14.59/month (save 51%, covers 5 adults, unlimited kids, billed annually)

Ultra Plan  – includes the 3 bureau credit monitoring, credit report, Experian credit lock, monthly credit score, credit and debit card monitoring, 401k and investment monitoring, home title monitoring plus more.

    • Individual plan – $14.99/month (save 50%, billed annually)
    • Family plan – $19.99/month (save 50%, covers 5 adults, unlimited kids, billed annually)

The savings of the packages are great especially for the Total and Ultra packages when you select “Family” 5 adults, unlimited kids).

EXCLUSIVE CYBERGUY DEAL – Save up to 51%

 

See this video below to walk you through how to navigate the many features to protect yourself, then read below for our breakdown.

More:

 


 

LifeLock

Though LifeLock came under extreme scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), it was overhauled when it got purchased by security giant Symantec in 2017.

Lifelock logo with a hand holding a cellphone with the lifelock app open

Credit: Lifelock

Some highlights of its services include:

  • Starts at $7.50 per month (when paid annually) or $8.99 per month for the first year
  • Starts with $25,000 of stolen funds reimbursement
  • Starts with up to $1 million for lawyers and experts to help fix identity theft

Pros:

  • Has tiered plans for both individuals and families
  • Most expensive plan pays stolen funds reimbursement of at least $1 million on the individual plan and $1 million per adult and $25,000 per child on the family plan
  • All three tiers of service include 24/7 live member support
  • All three tiers of service include US-based identity restoration specialist
  • All three tiers of service include dark web monitoring
  • All three tiers of service include stolen wallet protection, which means if your wallet is stolen, LifeLock will help cancel or replace credit cards, driver’s licenses, social security cards, insurance cards, etc.
  • All three tiers of service include 24/7 live member support

Cons:

  • Only Identity & social security number alerts and one bureau credit monitoring in the basic plan, but you get free credit monitoring every 12 months for free from 3 of the top credit monitoring bureaus.
  • Credit, Checking and Savings Account activity alerts are only available on the more expensive tiers of service
  • Identity Lock, which locks your accounts and prevents accounts from being opened under your name, is only available on the more expensive tiers of service

 


 

IdentityForce

IdentityForce is a TransUnion brand, which is one of the major credit monitoring agencies. This company offers very streamlined services, so it is very simple to pick from if you’re picking a personal (vs. business) plans.

IdentityForce website front page

Credit: IdentityForce

Some highlights of its services include:

  • Two tiers
    • 17.99/month per member ($179.90/year)
    • $23.99/month per member ($239.90)
  • Starts with $1 million identity theft insurance
  • Monitors your personal information 24/7 with alerts if you’re compromised

Pros:

  • Offers a free 30-day trial so you can try before you commit to a plan
  • Includes a mobile app so you can access protection on the go
  • Base level plan is pretty comprehensive
  • Includes Social Media Identity Monitoring so your social media accounts are monitored for inappropriate activity or posts that could against the terms and service agreements of most platforms
  • Unique services such as Sex Offender monitoring, which allows in-depth search of sex offender registries to see if they are using your information fraudulently. It also alerts you of registered sex offenders are living in your neighborhood or move into your neighborhood.
  • If you do get the UltraSecure+Credit, it includes credit monitoring from all 3 bureaus as well as quarterly credit scores and reports from all 3 bureaus

Cons:

  • Only 3 tiers of service: UltraSecure, UltraSecure+Credit, and ChildWatch
  • ChildWatch, is a great service that monitors your child’s identity with identity monitoring, social security tracker, social media identity monitoring site, restoration support, and $1 million dollars in identity theft insurance, can only be an add-on to the existing service tier $18.99 per month for UltraSecure+Credit.  Costs $2.75/month per child.
  • UltraSecure doesn’t include credit score and report monitoring
  • More expensive option than Identity Theft options mentioned above.

 

 

Why should I consider Fraud protection?

Of course, paying regularly for fraud protection services may seem like an unnecessary expense when you’re not presently dealing with identity or credit issues. Yet, the likelihood of being a part of a data breach is high. With a subscription to a fraud protection service, you can focus on your present moment instead of worrying about what a cybercriminal is up to. If something does happen, you have people in your ‘corner’ to help you through the process. Peace of mind, after all, is priceless.

Have you guys been a victim of a data breach? Stolen identity or theft? If so, how did you deal with the repercussions? If you do use a fraud protection service, which one and why? We love hearing from you!

 

More ways to protect yourself

 

Copyright 2024 CyberGuy.com.  All rights reserved.  CyberGuy.com articles and content may contain affiliate links that earn a commission when purchases are made.


   

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