Lifelock vs. Experian vs. Identity Guard: It’s a fact that identity theft is a growing problem. According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft complaints have increased by 47 percent since 2014. One of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your confidential data is to subscribe to one of the many identity theft protection services that are now available. There are a number of companies offering these services, but three in particular stand out in the marketplace: LifeLock, Experian and Identity Guard. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of each so you can make the best decision about how to protect yourself and what matters the most.
LifeLock offers proactive protection by monitoring credit applications in your name and file sharing networks that you use. There are effectively three layers of protection: detect, alert and restore. The service looks for any suspicious activity during which your identity is used to obtain credit, loans or services under your name. The moment any potentially fraudulent activity is detected, you will be sent a notification by email, text or phone. LifeLock also operates a restore facility to help customers restore their identity should it ever be compromised.
While it may be true that you could do a lot of what LifeLock has to offer for yourself, do you really have the time to set protective measures in place and actively monitor your credit reports and other channels on a regular basis? Would you know what to do if your identity was compromised? These are questions worth asking yourself when weighing DIY tactics against an automated service.
Like many subscription services, LifeLock is available in a range of prices that will depend on your requirements. They are:
If you are wondering about a LifeLock family plan, there isn’t one in the true sense, but they do offer the LifeLock Junior plan, which allows children under the age of 18 to gain access to the same protection as their parents. Criminals can often resort to targeting a child’s personal records and information, and so LifeLock Junior is a good way for parents to gain peace of mind. For a family of four with two children under the age of 18, the LifeLock family plan cost would be $31.96.
The consensus with the majority of LifeLock users is that the service is very good, with many saying the service gives them peace of mind and that they have received fast alerts when their identity was compromised. It seems users also appreciate the 24-hour support line and the bank account monitoring option, with many users giving instances of how LifeLock alerted them to fraudulent activity on one of their accounts.
Complaints about LifeLock have noted difficulties in canceling subscriptions and that there is no fixed LifeLock cost for family. Some business owners have also complained that certain fraudulent business transactions have not been flagged by the system.
Other complaints referenced the lengthy setup process and outdated website. If you want to know more, check out our full Lifelock review.
Experian has an advantage over other identity theft protection services in that it is one of the main three credit bureaus that need to be monitored to avoid identity theft. Since credit is it’s business, you also get a lot of extra benefits from the service, including ability to dispute items on your credit report directly from the Experian website. It also helps that Experian has direct access to one of your credit reports, so it can be alerted to any fraudulent activity immediately instead of going through a third party. Here’s a full review of Experian’s identity theft protection service, called IdentityWorksSM:
One of the main things that makes Experian stand out is its engrained knowledge of credit reports and identity theft. Since it is already one of the three credit bureaus that compiles credit reports, it only made sense for the company to expand into identity theft protection services.
Another thing that makes Experian stand out is the wide range of things that it monitors to help protect against identity theft. The IdentityWorksSM Premium plan, which is cheaper than Lifelock’s highest plan, monitors everything from black market website activity, social security trace activity, change of address, court records, non-credit loan alerts and other areas that have the potential to alert you to identity theft, many that other identity theft protection services do not monitor.
Experian is fairly new to the identity theft protection game, and it has been operating as a credit bureau business for decades, so it is difficult to differentiate the credit bureau reviews from the identity theft protection reviews. For example, Experian has an A- from the Better Business Bureau, but that score is mostly reflective of its credit bureau business, so there is no way to tell how that relates to IdentityWorksSM, although if there were any major problems with its identity theft protection service, it would drag the overall grade down much further.
Most other online Experian reviews of IdentityWorksSM give it fairly high marks, which is a good sign for the service. There are few actual consumer reviews of the service, which makes it difficult to determine just how happy actual customers are. Overall, though, from the professional reviews, it seems like Experian’s IdentityWorksSM does a good job at identity theft protection.
Identity Guard is one of the most respected identity theft and fraud security companies in the world. Given its prominence, it makes sense that so many people choose Platinum as their Identity Guard Family Plan. It offers practically everything you could want in a family plan. When you think about Identity Guard versus Lifelock or IdentityForce, you have to consider Identity Guard’s affordable price and long list of services. Assuming that the company successfully protects you from identity theft, you won’t have to worry about your plan’s lack of victim assistance services.
Identity Guard gets positive reviews from practically everyone who uses the service. Clients like that the company has joined forces with IBM Watson to provide a higher level of identity protection. They also appreciate the Identity Guard $1 million guarantee that applies to every plan. Considering the Identity Guard price, technology and comprehensive monitoring services, it’s easy to see why so many people prefer Identity Guard.
The only serious complaint about Identity Guard is that it doesn’t offer victim assistance. Even if you have an Identity Guard Family Plan, you will have to put your life back together without professional help from Identity Guard.
Lifelock, Experian and Identity Guard are some of the top names in identity theft protection, but there are other options if you are not satisfied with any of those. Here are some lesser-known names in identity theft protection that might help you make the right decision.
If you’re comparing Identity Guard versus IdentityForce versus Lifelock, then you will have a difficult decision to make. All three companies offer good services that protect clients from identity theft and fraud. At $23.95 per month, though, you may find that IdentityForce charges too much for the services it provides. Considering that other companies provide extensive features that check black market websites and protect you from lost wallets, you may want to avoid IdentityForce unless you want a simple, straightforward approach to keeping your identity secure.
IdentityForce doesn’t offer as many identity theft guard services as other companies, but it has an affordable price that makes it appealing to people who want basic coverage. Overall, clients appreciate that the company gives them dedicated case managers, comprehensive monitoring services and strong customer service. When comparing Identity Guard versus IdentityForce, some people fall on Identity Guard’s side because the company offers more plans. Those who like to keep things simple, however, often prefer IdentityForce.
IdentityForce has a strong following and maintains contracts with a number of government agencies, including the FAA and the FBI. Overall, user reviews are positive, with many verified users citing the company’s outstanding customer service and the speed with which restoration and protection services were implemented.
One of the top complaints among IdentityForce users is that there is no mobile app. Alerts are sent through as text messages or emails, but users would also like to have an app they can use to check information live and contact the IdentityForce team.
There are also only two plans, with features varying quite significantly between the two. A number of users and prospective users have said they would prefer a third plan that offers features and pricing that sits somewhere in the middle of the two plans currently offered.
TrustedID is actually owned by Equifax, and considering its recent issues with identity theft, it seems like it might have some issues when it comes to reputation when dealing with identity theft protection. Nevertheless, we have done an in-depth look at TrustedID to give you a better understanding of how the identity theft protection service works.
TrustedID is much like Experian’s IdentityWorksSM in that it is owned by one of the three credit bureaus, Equifax, so it has a knowledge of credit reports and identity theft. Unlike IdentityWork, TrustedID was an independent identity theft protection company before it was bought by Equifax, so it combines its own knowledge of identity theft with Equifax’s knowledge of credit.
The other thing that makes TrustedID stand out is its family plan. You can add everyone within your immediate family to your plan for just $29.99, which is a great deal for larger families. If it’s just you and your spouse, other service provide better discounts for spouses and significant others.
TrustedID tends to get mixed reviews, both from professionals and actual consumers. TrustedID reviews from professionals do tend to be more positive, but generally top out at 4 out of 5 stars, making it second to heavy hitters like Lifelock and Experian. TrustedID also does not have a rating from the Better Business Bureau, so there is no way to compare it to other identity theft protection services in that field.
Consumer reviews of TrustedID tend to be a little more harsh, although most online company reviews do tend to skew more toward angry customers as opposed to happy customers. A combination of reviews on Yelp and other consumer sites talked about how TrustedID’s customer service was good, but what the service offered was often confusing, and some complained about being charged more than they originally agreed to.
It really depends on the service. Each identity theft protection company offers pros and cons, so it depends on what you are looking for. Here are some of the pros for each service:
IdentityForce offers a great add-on to their standard service for your children. Child Watch monitors your child’s information for fraud or identity theft, and also offers the same $1 million in insurance that you get with the standard plan. For only $2.75/month for an add-on, it’s a pretty good deal.
LifeLock doesn’t have a family plan, but if your family is only you and your spouse, you can get their basic plan for both of you for less than $20 with our 10 percent discount.
If you are looking for an identity theft service that you can try out for longer, LifeLock offers a 30-day free trial. That way you can try out the service before you decide to buy it. IdentityForce’s free trial is only 14 days.
If you choose the LifeLock Ultimate plan ($26.99/month), you get monthly updates about your TransUnion credit score and reports. IdentityForce monitors all three of your credit bureau scores (as does LifeLock), but only gives you access to your credit scores once a year. For someone who wants to monitor their credit as well as protect their identity, this can be a huge drawback.
Here are IdentityForce’s special features:
LifeLock’s basic plan has basic features, but LifeLock’s Ultimate plan offers these extra features:
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