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Best identity theft protection and monitoring services for 2021

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It’s important to protect your personal information, but it’s not always easy to determine the best way to do that. Bigger data breaches are hitting victims with increasing regularity, so you might want to start using an identity theft protection and monitoring service soon, if you don’t already. Fortunately, our selections for the best identity theft protection and monitoring services can help safeguard your identity, proactively monitor suspicious activity and assist with recovery if you become a victim of a data breach.
Identity theft is a serious and growing problem. If the current trends are anything to go by, ID theft protection is only going to become more essential. In 2019 alone, there were more than 13 million US identity fraud cases, with victims losing nearly $17 billion, not to mention untold damage to credit reports. The 2017 Equifax breach was the icing on a nasty cake — one that got even worse in the following years. One of the biggest 2020 data breaches was the Marriott hack, which impacted over 5 million customers. That followed an earlier breach of Marriott’s Starwood reservation system, in which the personal information of more than 380 million guests was compromised, including more than 5 million passport numbers.
Best identity theft protection and monitoring services for 2021 - CNET

IMAGE CREDIT: GOOGLE

In this directory, we’ll look at some of the best identity theft protection service options for helping you manage and protect your identity at various price points. We’ll also help you learn the difference between an identity theft protection company and a credit monitoring service (though they might have overlapping services). Before we get started though, we should tell you that you don’t necessarily have to spend $10 to $30 a month for the best identity theft protection service. The US government offers identitytheft.gov, an identity restoration service that can help an identity theft victim report and recover from identity theft.
We’ll jump straight to the top choices for the best identity theft protection service options for ID monitoring, credit monitoring and more, but read to the end to see additional important information and facts about identity theft and ID protection. The list is updated frequently.
LifeLock has come a long way since the days when it was subject to multiple Federal Trade Commission investigations (settled in 2015) and various lawsuits from customers and credit reporting agencies. In 2017, it became a subsidiary of Symantec, purchased for $2.3 billion.
You may recall the ads where LifeLock’s founder posted his Social Security number everywhere, as a statement in his confidence about LifeLock’s protection services. While he did experience numerous instances of identity theft based on those Social Security number postings, LifeLock’s theft protection services helped him recover.
The company offers a wide range of identity monitoring service and protection options, including stolen wallet protection, ID verification monitoring, home title monitoring and checking/savings account application alerts.
LifeLock’s protection services range from $9 a month to $26 a month the first year. Terms apply. Reimbursement of $25,000 to $1 million is available, depending on the monitoring plan. The lower-priced protection services monitor credit only from one credit bureau. The $26-a-month identity theft protection plan monitors all three major credit bureaus. You can pull credit reports once a year, but the service will provide you with a credit score monthly, based on Experian data.
Top Identity Theft Protection Services in 2021: Reviews of Fraud Protection  Tools Online | Observer

IMAGE CREDIT: GOOGLE

SSN and credit alerts, dark web monitoring, alerts on suspicious activity like crimes committed in your name and credit card activity and fraud alert services are all marks in LifeLock’s favor, despite its past stumbles. Base price: $107.88 a year or $9 a month after 25% discount.
IdentityForce offers two tiers of service: UltraSecure and UltraSecure Plus Credit, the latter of which includes credit reports and scores. We liked how the credit score monitoring not only watches all three reporting agencies but provides a visual tracker that lets you examine your credit rating over time.
IdentityForce identity theft protection monitoring includes quite a lot beyond credit information. It checks for public information record changes, address changes, court and arrest records, payday loan applications, and checks for identity information on a variety of illicit identity-sharing websites to act as a guard dog from identity thieves. The company also monitors sex offender registries to see if your name is associated with such things. We also like that it tracks SSNs for new usages or associations with new names.
Its mobile app has been updated with a feature called Mobile Attack Control. This monitors your smartphone for spyware, insecure Wi-Fi locations, as well as “spoof” networks (networks that act as if they’re legitimate connections, but they’re not). Additionally, the phone app will present alerts if there are security issues monitored by IdentityForce that need immediate attention.
The company did not disclose frequency of service monitoring (beyond credit reporting agencies). That said, we liked how the company has an interesting credit score simulator which can help you understand how different balances, payments and balance transfers might have an impact on your credit score. IdentityForce offers a 14-day free trial version.
Right now, the UltraSecure program is $100 per year ($9 per month, with two free months). UltraSecure Plus Credit for individuals is usually $287.88 per year ($24 per month), but through the end of August 2021, CNET readers can get it for $179.90 per year ($18 per month). Base price: $100 a year or $10 a month.

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