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 biggest targets for criminals is your credit history and the personal information it contains. You might feel that you don’t have much to steal, but criminals can get big returns out of the smallest amount of information.
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 two in particular stand out in the marketplace: LifeLock and IdentityForce. 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.
Is LifeLock Worth It?
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.
LifeLock offers the following features:
- LifeLock Identity Alert System
- Black market website surveillance
- Reduced pre-approved credit card offers
- Online access to credit scores and credit reports
- Lost wallet protection
- Address change verification
- $25,000 stolen funds replacement
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.
How much does LifeLock cost?
Like many subscription services, LifeLock is available in a range of prices that will depend on your requirements. They are:
- LifeLock Standard — $9.99/mo
- LifeLock Advantage — $19.99/mo
- LifeLock Ultimate Plus — $29.99/mo
- LifeLock Junior — $5.99/mo
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.
Common LifeLock Reviews
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.
- Price: LifeLock is one of the more affordable of identity protection services, with prices starting at just $5.99 for protection for a child and $9.99 for an adult.
- Features: LifeLock offers a range of features, including instant notifications, bank account monitoring and also sex offender register alerts on the Ultimate Plus plan. LifeLock is not able to monitor all transactions, but they are clear about this on their website and in their terms and conditions.
- Cancellation: Users can cancel at any time by calling the customer service number or canceling through their LifeLock portal.
- Reputation: LifeLock is considered one of the leading identification protection companies by its users, but has only been awarded 3.5 stars by the Better Business Bureau.
- Guarantee: LifeLock offers a full 60-day money back guarantee.
- Customer Service: The general consensus is that LifeLock customer service is good. There is also good evidence of LifeLock responding quickly to negative reviews and offering to find solutions for its customers.
Common LifeLock Complaints
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.
Common IdentityForce Reviews
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.
- Price: IdentityForce offers two plans priced at $17.95 and $23.95 a month. While these plans may be more expensive than LifeLock’s offerings, each plan does include protection for children in the form of ChildWatch.
- Features: IdentityForce offers credit monitoring, legal protection, internet scanning and complete financial, medical and criminal identity recovery services. They also offer a Delete Now feature that allows users to see what personal information is being displayed about themselves online and to delete information immediately.
- Cancellation: With IdentityForce, there are no contracts to worry about, but if you cancel in the middle of your subscription month, you will not be refunded the unused portion of that month’s subscription. Cancel by calling a dedicated customer service line.
- Reputation: IdentityForce has been awarded 4.5 stars by the Better Business Bureau, although users have been slightly less generous with their personal reviews.
- Guarantee: There is no money back guarantee with IdentityForce. However, new users are offered a 30-day free trial.
- Customer Service: Customer service is good, with customer complaints in reviews being responded to almost immediately.
Common IdentityForce Complaints
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.
IdentityForce Is Better ID Theft Protection for Your Family
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.
LifeLock Has the Longer Free Trial
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.
LifeLock Has Better Credit Report Monitoring Services
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.
Both Offer Specific Features, So Choose Wisely If You Are Picky
Here are IdentityForce’s special features:
- Insurance records
- Vehicle registration monitoring
LifeLock’s basic plan has basic features, but LifeLock’s Ultimate plan offers these extra features:
- Surveillance of unregulated global networks and file-sharing sites
- Checking and savings account application alerts
- Will remove you from mailing lists
So Which One Is Best?
Both services have their benefits, so it depends on what you are looking for when deciding on which one to choose. If you want to take a deeper look at either service or sign up for for the free trials, click the links below.