Best Identity Theft Protection Service: I Review Every One

The best identity theft protection all comes down to good monitoring and excellent threat resolution.

Then you just have to find the right balance of a comprehensive package and a reasonable price.

I’ve used 7 of these identity theft protection companies, and right now, Aura is the best one. They’re absolutely crushing it.

But whichever company you choose, check out my links—not only to save some coin, but also to see my latest recommendations.

Why Do I Need An Identity Theft Protection?

I always imagined Identity Theft Protection as some kind of snake oil, you know, you don’t really need it and they’re just kind of pulling money from you every month.

But I see now it’s kind of a no-brainer if want to level up your safety online—or, if you’ve already been burned, then I guess to avoid being burned again.

You can even protect your parents, your in-laws, and your kids. And yes, kids are targeted by identity thieves, sadly. They’re kinda like a blank slate.

While dark web monitoring is important, there’s a bit more to the story than that.

It is difficult to compare these Identity Theft Protection Companies without actually using them because they tend to have all these different tiers and a lot of the benefits are locked within that structure.

With Aura and also CompleteID it is simple—you get all the features on every plan and what you pay just changes based on how many people you’re covering.

However, with the others, it gets complicated—but don’t worry, I got you. I’ll break it all down for you in this review.

Quick Overview on Customer Service

Like snowflakes, Identity Theft Protection Companies are not created equal. One quick example, with Norton’s LifeLock their customer support is just terrible.

And when you’re calling up an Identity Theft Protection company a lot of times you’re having a rough day and, trust me, you want to be working with a company that has your back.

Every time I call LifeLock it’s like pulling teeth, and at the end of the call I’m just wishing I had my time back.

I’m sure the LifeLock agents are nice enough people but they’re not based in the US, they’re reading off scripts, and they just don’t really understand you as a customer.

With all the other companies I’ve had really great experiences with their support teams, LifeLock’s the standout in that regard and really, their poor customer support is just the tip of the iceberg.

Setting Up Your Identity Theft Protection

So how these Identity Theft Protection solutions work is that you input your personal information, things like your name, email addresses, phone numbers, on and on, and they monitor the dark web.

When they find your personal information just waiting to be exploited by identity thieves they’ll send you an alert that tells you what information was found, where it was found, and usually they’ll provide some suggestions to rectify the situation.

Now, there are a three things to watch out for here.

1. How many information are you allowed to monitor?

The first is that some of these Identity Theft Protections solutions are a little restrictive with the amount of information they allow you to monitor. For instance, LifeLock only allows you to monitor 5 email addresses and CompleteID only allows you to monitor 4, which isn’t really enough for me. 

So if there is something in particular you want to monitor, make sure the Identity Theft Protection you choose allows you to do it. Aura’s pretty good in that regard.

2. Any additional monitoring?

The second thing to watch out for is that you want to make sure they’re doing additional monitoring. For example, they should be monitoring the public web and proactively submitting opt-out requests with data brokers on your behalf. This helps knock down robocalls, junk mail, those kinds of things.

Aura and Identity Guard both do this. LifeLock kind of offers it, but if you want them to submit opt-out requests on your behalf you have to pay extra.

They should monitor your credit records across all three bureaus—more on that in a minute—and they should monitor utility accounts so if, for example, someone tries to open a credit card in your name or an account with an electric company, you’ll get an alert.

They should also be monitoring public records so if someone tries to add their name to your home deed or they put your name down during an arrest, you’ll get an alert.

I know, it’s crazy! But it happens.

3. Is the monitoring actually any good?

The third thing you want to watch out for is whether or not the monitoring they offer is actually any good. Does it actually find stuff, or do they just say it does?

Lucky for me, across all 7 companies I’ve only dealt with dark web alerts so far, typically login credentials from sites like Adobe, Myspace, or Dropbox. Although one of my gmail accounts got leaked, that was no fun.

I’ll show you what the different companies turn up on the dark web for me in just a bit here. 

But a word of caution, I haven’t seen any Identity Theft Protection solution with bulletproof dark web monitoring. Even the ones that turn up the most hits aren’t necessarily finding everything the others are showing.

The Dark Web is huge—about the size of the clear web depending on the numbers you use, but I won’t get into the technicalities here—and of course, the dark web’s intentionally hidden. It’s nearly impossible to crawl through it all definitively and offer that service at a price that is approachable to consumers like you and I.

But what you do see with these Identity Theft Protection solutions is examples of poor monitoring juxtaposed against examples of good monitoring. I’m excited to show you that.

But before I do, I want to circle back to the important feature comparisons. 

Feature Comparisons

Credit Monitoring

I think it’s important to have credit monitoring and it should be across all three bureaus. 

Identity Theft Protection reviewer Zach Lovatt explains the credit monitoring.

To make things even more useful, you should also be getting monthly VantageScores and annual credit reports from all three bureaus, and all of that should be pulled right into your dashboard.

The cherry on top is that they should offer a credit lock so that you can prevent unwanted inquiries with the click of a button, rather than heading over to the bureaus directly to issue a freeze.

Now, the identity theft protection companies are all over the board with this, and I find it a bit frustrating.

The only companies that offer all of this standard are Aura and CompleteID. With the others, it is all locked in their tiered structure so if you want it, you’re paying more. And in some cases, a lot more.

Additionally, with CompleteID, you have to be a Costco Member. So that’s something to consider.

Transaction Monitoring

Almost all of these companies offer transaction monitoring so that you can link bank accounts or credit cards and get alerts of any charges over a specified threshold. The only one that doesn’t is IdentityIQ, and I found that a little weird.

Extra Protection Features

A lot of these companies are going to offer other bells and whistles like a VPN, password manager, antivirus—Aura definitely does.

A screenshot for Aura website showing their VPN & Online Privacy, Password Manager, & Smart Vault extra protection features.

I think you can get better solutions for those elsewhere, but if you don’t have them already these companies can get you started

Dark Web Monitoring

Now I’m going to share with you my experience with these companies, so you know how each of them performs in reality.

So I track the same personal information in all seven of these Identity Theft Protection solutions. In the cases where the companies don’t allow me to monitor all of my email addresses—that is, LifeLock and Complete ID—I leave out email addresses that don’t turn up hits across any of the platforms.

What does bad monitoring look like?

Well, IdentityIQ so far has turned up zero dark web hits. They claim to be a 24-hour automated identity monitoring service, yet I signed up with them a month ago and I’ve yet to receive any dark web alerts.

What does good monitoring look like?

Well, IdentityForce turns up the most dark web hits for me. With them I get 20 total alerts and 10 unique alerts. The remaining 10 alerts are from compilations, where basically someone puts a huge master file on the dark web with all the login credentials that they can scrape up.

Identity Theft Protection reviewer Zach Lovatt compares the number of Dark Web Alerts from Identity Force, Aura, and Identity Guard.

Tied for a close second are Aura and Identity Guard—they’re using the same technology so they give the same results. Aura and Identity Guard turn up 18 total dark web hits, 9 of which are unique.

And I’d also say that CompleteID’s monitoring is pretty good, they find a total of 14 dark web hits, 8 of which are unique.

Then we have IDShield. They could be reasonable, but my biggest beef with them is I can’t go back and see my past alerts. I know I’ve had at least 17 total dark web alerts, but I can’t say how many definitively and I can’t say how many are unique.

IDShield has a bit of a clunky interface in general. It’s broken up into these different portals and you keep having to sign in over and over again. I think it could be decent, but the interface needs some work.

And last but, thanks to IdentityIQ, not quite least we have Norton’s LifeLock. LifeLock turns up a total of only 8 dark web alerts and although they are all unique they completely miss hits associated with one of my email addresses that most of the others found.

So, my recommendation is to avoid IdentityIQ and avoid LifeLock. Regardless of other shortcomings, to me their monitoring is just not sufficient.

I can’t really vouch for IDShield either in this regard, and CompleteID is kind of borderline.

But really, Aura, Identity Guard, and IdentityForce find the most and as I mentioned earlier, it is not perfect crossover. Aura and Identity Guard are finding things that IdentityForce is not, and vice versa.

That’s why it’s also important to consider threat resolution.

Threat Resolution

No matter which company you choose you need a restoration team that really has your back. Aura has what they call a white glove fraud resolution team to hand-hold you through the process and ease the pain as much as possible in the event that you are a victim of identity theft.

And if my experiences with their support team are any indication, they are just really thorough, really understanding of your situation. And don’t just take it from me, you can check out their reviews on Trustpilot. They have a lot of really happy customers.

Moreover, across all of these companies a minimum of $1M in Identity Theft Insurance is standard. With Aura you get $1M per adult, which is up to $2M on their couple plan or up to $5M on their family plan.

The only other company that offers more than a million in Identity Theft Insurance is LifeLock, and again that’s tied to their tiered structure. And with LifeLock you’re dealing with a lackluster support team, subpar monitoring, all the types of things you’d kind of expect from an outdated industry incumbent.

Conclusion

So all things considered to me Aura really is the most comprehensive and robust Identity Theft Protection out there. Most of the others have some good things about them, but especially when you start looking at price Aura really is just, to me, the best value by far.

A screenshot from Aura's website showing their Family, Couple, and Individual Plans.

You can get the individual plan right now for just $12/mo or the family plan for $37/mo which offers full accounts for 5 adults and sub accounts for unlimited children. And that’s before you apply my discounts, which can really solidify this decision as a no-brainer.

But look, even if you don’t choose Aura I hope this gives you a better idea of what you should be looking for in Identity Theft Protection, and also what you should avoid.

And remember to check out my links here for my latest deals and recommendations, I’ll always keep that up to date.


Posted

in

by

Tags:

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *