Our life doesn't belong to just us anymore. Anyone can have access to it nowadays, because we mostly live it online. The internet plays a huge role in our lives and we are connected to it on a daily basis. Our lives have been significantly improved by technology and we can now solve a lot of annoying routine chores on the internet, which offers us more leisure time. We can pay or bills, plan our holidays, shop and communicate through the internet.
However, all this exposure can leave us vulnerable to ID thieves who also know how to take advantage of the internet. All the data, personal and financial information we input on all the websites we visit is up for grasp, if we don’t protect it. Data breaches are common issues nowadays and cyber criminals target individuals and organizations alike. Hackers have their clever schemes and ways to get into your device and the consequences are never pleasant.
What happens when your ID gets stolen?
The possibilities are endless for ID thieves who steal your identity. They can do anything from emptying all your bank accounts, to even getting rid with murder by using your name to get rid of accusations. ID theft can affect you in more ways than you can imagine: thieves can buy things with your credit cards, they can apply for loans, they can get medical assistance using your name, they can obtain new credit cards, your driving license, passport or other important documents.
Should you sign up for an identity theft protection service?
Identity theft protection services can’t really protect you from having your ID stolen, that’s a true fact and it’s why some people are skeptical about using them. Moreover, everything an ID protection service does can be done by you, too. However, it takes a lot of time and will to monitor all your information on a 24/7 basis and few have the time and energy to do it. An identity theft protection service is valuable because it monitors all your information and immediately alerts you in case of any suspicious activity.
These services notify you via email, phone or SMS and can help you take action before too much damage is done. A lot of these services also monitor your credit in addition to your identity, which is a big plus.
Another benefit of using an identity theft protection service is the insurance policy offered by most of these services, which goes as high as $1 million in most cases. ID theft protection services offer restoration services in case your identity is stolen and they assist you throughout the entire process.
LifeLock Identity Protection
LifeLock is a service provided by LifeLock Inc., an American company that was acquired by Symantec in 2016. The company had somewhat of a controversial history, being sued multiple times for false advertising. Despite all difficulties, LifeLock remains a popular ID protection service.
LifeLock offers 3 plans: Standard, Advantage and Ultimate Plus.
The Standard membership is $9.99/month for the first year and protects for up to 5 devices with Norton. It offers up to $1 million coverage for lawyers and experts in case your ID gets stolen, up to 25,000 as personal expense compensation and up to $25,000 stolen funds reimbursement.
With this plan you also get one-bureau credit monitoring, SSN and credit alerts, data breach notifications and dark web monitoring.
Advantage is the next available plan and it is billed at $19.99/month for the first year. With this plan you get up to $100,000 stolen funds reimbursement, all the benefits in the standard plan plus alerts on crimes in your name and bank & credit card activity alerts.
The most expensive type of membership you can opt for is Ultimate Plus. It is billed at $29.99/month. With this plan you get up to $1 million stolen funds reimbursement, 3-bureau credit monitoring with annual 3 bureau credit reports and credit scores, monthly credit score tracking for one bureau (based on Equifax data), 401(k) investment activity alerts, sex offender registry reports, priority live member support and more.
You can also choose between signing up for LifeLock protection and LifeLock with Norton, which is a new added feature. Norton can scan up to 5 devices and protect them from various online threats.
You also get a 60-day money back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with their service.
So, as you can see, LifeLock monitors pretty much everything related to your identity and data, from credit cards and bank accounts to personal information, SSN and information present online, including on the dark web. It is a comprehensive service and it also offers mobile support. The mobile app is compatible with iOS and Android devices and includes alerts on your phone in case of suspicious activities. You can also respond to those alerts with the app, see your credit scores and access customer support.
Customer support is accessible on a 24/7 basis for all paying customers.
Experian it is mainly renowned for being one of the three major credit bureaus, along with Equifax and TransUnion. However, the bureau also offers an identity protection service called IdentityWorks.
Unlike LifeLock, Experian also offers a free 30-day trial that can help you try out their service before signing up for a plan.
The trial does require credit card information from customers. After the trial expires, you’ll be charged according to the plan you decide to sign up for.
Experian has only 2 plans: IdentityWorks Plus and IdentityWorks Premium.
IdentityWorks Plus is $9.99/month and includes just ID theft protection. You get alerts and an insurance of up to $500,000.
IdentityWorks Premium costs $19.99/month and includes a more comprehensive protection than the Plus plan. You also get payday loan monitoring, social network monitoring, identity validation alerts and more. In addition to ID protection, the Premium plan also includes credit monitoring for all 3 bureaus, as supposed to just one bureau (Experian), which is the case for IdentityWorks Plus. You also get 3-bureau FICO scores with the Premium plan. The insurance is also more generous with IdentityWorks Premium. This plan offers an ID theft insurance of up to $1 million.
These prices are for only one adult, although Experian also gives you the opportunity to sign up for one adult plus up to 10 children, or for 2 adults and up to 10 children. For 2 adults and up to 10 children, the price is $19.99/month for Plus and $29.99/month for Premium.
You can also opt for annual billing with any of the plans and save 17% annually.
Other features included in both plans are:
- FICO score simulator
- Score tracking
- Real-time alerts on attempted credit inquiries
- Social Security Number monitoring
- Lost wallet assistance
- Dark web surveillance
Experian also has a mobile app that can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store or Google Play.
LifeLock is a bit of a controversial service, it is more expensive than Experian and doesn’t offer child protection or a free trial. On the other hand, it does a 60-day money back guarantee and a better, more reliable customer support. In terms of features, both services offer dark web monitoring, credit monitoring and a mobile app, so that’s a tie.
Experian is a more affordable service and has plans that include more than one adult and protection for your children (up to 10 children!), which is something LifeLock is missing. There is also a 30-day free trial available. Feature-wise, both services offer pretty much the same advantages, so that’s a tie. Customer support is limited with Experian, as supposed to LifeLock, where you get 24/7 assistance. Overall though, aside from customer support, Experian seems to have more going on its favor.