Aura vs. LifeLock: Which Is Right for You?
In 2021, identity theft impacted more than 2.7 million Americans.[*]
Given the prevalence of identity theft, chances are that you’ve come across two of the leading identity theft protection services—Aura and LifeLock.
In this showdown, we’ll examine the pros and cons of these two identity theft protection services. At the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped to decide which solution is right for you.
Do You Really Need Identity Theft Protection?
Identity theft is when someone fraudulently uses your personal information for their own financial gain.
Identity thieves can manipulate you with phishing scams, hack into your bank accounts, steal your credit card information, apply for loans in your name, get treatment with your health insurance, and even steal your tax refund check.
Identity theft reached shocking new heights last year[*] which means the problem is only getting worse.
So, is identity theft protection worth it? Well, the best offense is a great defense.
And since you’re reading this guide, it’s probable that you’ve experienced some type of fraud, (or you know someone that is a victim of identity theft).
Out of an abundance of caution, you’re doing the right thing by considering a service provider like Aura or LifeLock.
Who Is at Risk for Identity Theft?
In a word, everyone.
Have you ever lost your wallet or driver’s license? Chances are that you have. There are real risks of identity theft associated with losing precious physical documents, which happens all the time.
At one point, identity theft mostly targeted seniors and elders.
But today’s con artists have broadened their reach. In 2021, twenty-something fraud victims were twice as likely to lose money as their sixty-something counterparts.[*]
Even children are at risk. Few parents monitor their children’s credit reports. Kids have clean credit history, making them the perfect targets for child identity theft.
Data breaches are another gateway to identity theft, because you have no control over the companies that store your data.
And those companies are not as secure as you think.
In 2021 alone, hackers stole data from:
- Facebook, revealing the full names, phone numbers, emails, and birthdates of 533 million users.
- Android apps, exposing the emails, chat history, location, and photos of 100 million users.
- LinkedIn, with a hacker selling names, phone numbers, physical addresses, email addresses, locations, and profile information for 700 million users.
- T-Mobile, leaking personally identifiable information on 100 million customers.
And those were just the most significant breaches of the year.
Even trusted financial companies are vulnerable. The 2019 hack of Capital One released Social Security numbers (SSNs), credit scores, and financial account balances of 100 million customers.
The 2017 breach of Equifax exposed the Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, and credit card numbers of nearly 150 million Americans—half the population.
What Can an Identity Monitoring Service Do?
Identity monitoring services like Aura or LifeLock help protect you against identity fraud in three ways:
- Protection. These services help you browse the internet securely, remove harmful software, and more. They help prevent identity theft from happening in the first place.
- Notifications. These services notify you via “fraud alerts” of suspicious activity which could be a warning sign of identity theft. Fast notifications give you valuable time to protect yourself.
- Resolution. If you are a victim of identity theft, identity protection providers offer guidance to resolve the problem, and insurance to cover eligible expenses and losses related to identity theft incidents.
Automated identity theft protection tools are often equipped with artificial intelligence and advanced technology, which is far superior than checking on your identity manually. An identity monitoring solution can scan billions of records every day and send fast notifications.
The faster you learn about potential identity fraud, the better. A 2020 report showed that 40% of account takeovers happen within a day of a criminal getting access to your data.[*]
Identity theft protection offers peace of mind by helping protect, notify, and resolve problems.
Now, let’s look in-depth at Aura.
Aura: Overview, What’s Included: Pros and Cons
Aura was founded in 2014 as an all-in-one, easy-to-use comprehensive security product.
An Aura subscription includes several tools, including:
- Identity monitoring
- Bank account monitoring
- Financial transaction monitoring
- Credit protection and monitoring
- Identity theft insurance ($1 million on every plan)
- Antivirus software
- Password manager
- Virtual private network (VPN)
$1 million in coverage on all plans. Aura offers up to $1 million in identity theft insurance on every plan, even the most affordable.
All-in-one identity theft protection. Aura provides more than just identity theft protection and credit monitoring. Get VPN, Antivirus, Password Manager and more to proactively protect yourself and your entire family.
4x faster alerts than competitors³ (ath Power Consulting, 2018) Third-party research has shown that Aura notifies you up to four times faster than the competition.
Comprehensive family plan. Aura offers family identity theft protection for up to 5 family members, including children.
Honest, transparent pricing. Pay the same price each year. No hidden or skyrocketing renewal fees.
Simplified pricing model. Aura’s customers can enjoy the ability to select a pricing plan based on the number of family members (individual, couple, or family). No matter which plan you choose, you get everything Aura has to offer - no complexity, no upgrades or add-ons required.
For example, Aura’s individual plans start at $15 (if you choose the month to month billing option), compared to LifeLock’s individual plans which start at $10 per month.
But, the kicker is that Aura’s prices DO NOT INCREASE IN YEAR TWO.
The price you get when you sign up for Aura, is the price you will get forever.
Whereas with LifeLock, costs can add up quickly with all the required upgrades (especially because your subscription auto-renews), which can be a nuisance, according to NerdWallet.
Now, let’s dive deeper into LifeLock.
LifeLock: Overview, What’s Included: Pros and Cons
LifeLock was founded in 2005, making it one of the longest standing identity theft protection services.
Symantec, the creator of Norton Antivirus, acquired LifeLock in 2017. The acquisition prompted Symantec to change its name to NortonLifeLock, Inc.
- Identity theft monitoring
- Identity theft insurance ($25,000 or more, depending on the plan)
You can also add Norton 360 to your LifeLock subscription. This includes:
- Antivirus software
- Virtual private network (VPN)
A household name with a long history. LifeLock is well-known and has been a name brand for decades, in large part due to early marketing and publicity stunts.
Built-in connection with Norton. Like LifeLock, Norton has been a household name for decades.
Trillions of data points are scanned daily. According to LifeLock, the software scans trillions of data points every day to find leaked data.
Wide-ranging monitoring and alerts. If you don’t want to monitor your own credit and other accounts for suspicious activity, this is useful.
Most expensive solution. LifeLock is one of the most expensive solutions for identity theft protection. After the first year’s promotional price, the subscription price can increase by 30-45%, and even higher.
According to Security.org - "LifeLock’s most elite individual plan has a one-year promotional price of $24.99 per month but renews at $29.16 per month. The top-level plan for families with kids is $40.99 per month for the first year. It renews for $68.33 per month, a monthly increase of over $25."
"Once LifeLock’s one-year promotional period expires, prices go up significantly."
Misleading marketing. In 2010, LifeLock paid $12 million in a settlement with the FTC over inaccurate marketing claims. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said that the security LifeLock provided “left enough holes that you could drive a truck through it.”
Unsecured user data. In 2015, the FTC filed a second suit against LifeLock for failing to secure user data. LifeLock paid $100 million in fines, the largest fine ever at the time. LifeLock’s poor data protection came to light again in 2018, when a flaw allowed any internet user to collect all LifeLock customer emails from the website.
Security Expert Brian Krebs said the creators of LifeLock “lacked a basic understanding of website authentication and security.”
Publicity gimmicks. LifeLock’s most famous publicity stunt involved CEO Todd Davis announcing his own Social Security number in TV commercials. Despite relying on LifeLock protection, hackers stole Davis’ identity 13 times. In at least one instance, he didn’t know about the theft for over a year.
Norton crypto mining. In 2022, Norton came under fire for installing crypto mining software by default on users’ computers. This kind of software runs energy-intensive processes in the background and is a common feature in modern malware. Norton has included it by default on every machine—and collects a 15% commission on earnings.
Aura vs. LifeLock Compared
Savvy consumers want to understand each feature before buying. So, how do Aura and LifeLock stack up?
Identity monitoring notifications are one of the best ways to protect your identity because you can act quickly in the event of fraud.
This service works by tracking your identity to check if it’s been leaked online. You can monitor several types of personal data including your name, phone number, address, usernames, passwords, Social Security number (SSN), health insurance data, passport number, and more.
Aura offers dark web monitoring services, which can scan known data breaches, public records, and information on the Dark Web.
Identity monitoring may also include home title monitoring and alerts about USPS address changes that could be signs of a change of address scam.
LifeLock is one of the oldest brands to offer identity monitoring. The LifeLock Ultimate Plus plan also includes social media monitoring. Its service integrates with NortonLifeLock AI company Javelin Networks.
Credit monitoring reviews your credit report and notifies you of any suspicious activity.
This could include new accounts or credit applications you didn’t submit. You can also set up a credit lock to prevent future credit applications.
With credit monitoring, you can also check your credit score, which is calculated based on the history in your credit file.
Aura offers comprehensive credit monitoring across all three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
In addition to three bureau credit monitoring, you’ll get an update on your monthly credit score.
Aura is as close to near real-time monitoring as you can get, with alerts up to 4x faster than competitors³ (ath Power Consulting, 2018).
LifeLock offers credit monitoring services on all plans, but only at one bureau.
For three-bureau credit reporting, you’ll need to upgrade to the most expensive premier protection plan.
LifeLock offers a monthly credit score on the LifeLock Advantage and Ultimate Plus plans.
Financial Account Monitoring
Financial monitoring notifies you about any warning signs or suspicious activity with your finances.
You can monitor your bank account, credit card, investments, and even retirement savings. Stolen wallet protection provides guidance in case you lose your wallet or purse.
Aura offers financial monitoring for credit cards and checking and savings accounts. You’ll get notified of any high-risk transactions commonly used by identity thieves, like wire transfers, tax refunds, or payday loans. You can also add 401(k) and investment accounts.
LifeLock offers financial monitoring on its Advantage and Ultimate Plus plans. Similar to Aura, you’ll get notified about any potentially fraudulent activity. You can also add retirement and investment accounts.
Criminal Record Monitoring
Few records can be as damaging to your reputation as an arrest record or listing on the national sex offender registry.
But criminals have been known to give false identities upon arrest, leading to innocent people appearing on these lists without even knowing it. This service typically includes monitoring national and state databases of court records, arrests, and sex offender lists.
Aura offers criminal and court monitoring on all plans.
LifeLock offers crime monitoring on the Advantage and Ultimate Plus plans.
Identity Theft Insurance
If your identity is stolen, getting life back to normal can be expensive—not to mention the huge sums thieves can steal before you fix the problem. Identity theft insurance provides funds you’ll need to help you pay for recovery and to recoup what you’ve lost.
Aura offers up to $1 million in personal expense compensation insurance on every single plan. You'll get up to $1 million for identity restoration, so you can rest assured you’re covered in the event of fraud.
LifeLock offers $1 million for lawyers and experts on all plans. But when it comes to stolen funds reimbursement, LifeLock only provides $1 million of insurance on the most expensive Ultimate Plus plan. The Standard plan includes up to $25,000 in insurance, and the Advantage plan includes up to $100,000 in insurance.
Wi-Fi Security & VPN
It’s easy for a thief to intercept and steal your data when you use public Wi-Fi like at a coffee shop or airport. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to use a virtual private network, also known as a VPN. This software scrambles your data and makes it worthless for a hacker.
Aura includes a VPN as part of every plan.
LifeLock can add a VPN as part of its device security upgrade. This upgrade includes Norton 360 and costs a few extra dollars per month.
Antivirus software can help find and eliminate malware on your computer before it does damage. Most kinds of malware, including keyloggers and ransomware, act behind the scenes and are invisible to the user.
Aura offers professional antivirus software for Windows and Mac with every plan.
LifeLock offers an upgrade to Norton 360, the current version of Norton antivirus software. This security upgrade costs a few extra dollars per month.
If you’re creating strong and unique passwords for every account (and you should be), it can be hard to remember them all. A password manager is a securely encrypted tool for keeping your passwords safe.
Aura comes with a built-in password manager with every plan. It integrates with the rest of the Aura suite of tools.
LifeLock does not include a password manager. However, you can download the Norton Password Manager for free, though it isn’t integrated into the LifeLock suite of paid monitoring tools.
Ease of Setup
An effective identity protection tool is easy to use and works on all your devices. The learning curve for a piece of software is subjective, but we’ve read third-party reviews to provide a better picture of how Aura and LifeLock stack up.
Aura works on all your devices. Desktop applications work on Windows and Mac, and mobile apps work for iOS and Android. Aura is considered very easy to use in most user reviews.
LifeLock and Norton 360 also work across devices. You can install the software on a Windows or Mac computer and the mobile apps on iOS or Android devices. LifeLock isn’t hard to use per se, but some reviewers say it’s not as user-friendly as they’d like.
Customer Support & Case Management
One of the most important parts of identity theft monitoring is a team to support you. Monitoring services offer two kinds of help—everyday support and dedicated case managers in case of identity theft.
Aura offers 24/7/365 support. All agents are US-based. To resolve identity theft, Aura offers white-glove case managers on every plan. The average case manager for Aura has resolved thousands of fraud incidents.
LifeLock also offers 24/7/365 support, but agents are based overseas. Many reviewers write about frequent misunderstandings between agents and subscribers. Ultimate Plus users are also guaranteed “priority” support—a tacit confirmation that other subscribers have long wait times. Like Aura, LifeLock’s case managers are all based in the U.S.
User Data Security
Identity monitoring services are only as secure as its own treatment of customer data. Aura and LifeLock both need to know your personal information to monitor it. So, how do they protect it?
Aura uses the same level of encryption as banks and the U.S. military. It also has the trust of blue-chip partners like Walmart, Bank of America, and Kaiser Permanente.
LifeLock has been fined twice by the FTC for its failure to protect user data. In the words of FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez during the agency’s second suit against Lifelock, “the fact that consumers paid LifeLock for help in protecting their sensitive personal information makes the charges in this case particularly troubling.”
Third-Party Ratings & Reviews
Don’t just take our word for it. What are other users saying about Aura and LifeLock?
LifeLock also has a rating of A+ at the Better Business Bureau but scores a dismal 1.09 of 5 stars based on hundreds of customer complaints. At Trustpilot, LifeLock has just 1.4 out of 5 stars, earning it a grade of “bad.”
Most customer reviews complain that customer service is poor or nonexistent. Some say they’ve become victims of identity theft because they never got an alert. Others express frustration that LifeLock found exclusions to deny promised insurance. Many also say that LifeLock’s quality has plummeted after the Norton acquisition.
Pricing & Plans
Finally, let’s compare the pricing of Aura vs. LifeLock. Both offer three pricing tiers, but the similarities end there.
Aura offers a simplified pricing model so it's easy to protect yourself and your loved ones without all the guesswork of which features you need.
- You can choose an individual plan, couple plan or a family plan for up to 5 members.
- Each plan comes with a two-week free trial, and if you purchase a year at a time, there's a 60-day money-back guarantee. Aura doesn't have promotional prices for the first year—the rate is the same for new and long-term customers.
- Aura is an all-in-one solution and doesn't have add-ons or upsells.
LifeLock offers Standard, Advantage, and Ultimate Plus plans. You can choose an individual plan or two types of family plans, one for two adults and another for two adults and up to five children. You can add additional children to any plan with a separate subscription to LifeLock Junior.
LifeLock also offers a 60-day money-back guarantee with annual plans but does not offer a free trial. All prices listed on the LifeLock website are promotional for the first year only and increase by 30-45% when you renew.
LifeLock offers Norton 360 device protection and VPN for an extra charge each month.
We’ve broken down what each brand offers. Now let’s put it all together for a final decision.
Aura vs. LifeLock: You Decide
Choosing an identity protection service is a personal decision that only you can make. But there are a few key factors to consider as you decide between Aura and LifeLock.
The main difference between Aura and LifeLock is that Aura offers a comprehensive, all-in-one solution, whereas LifeLock requires several upgrades and add-ons to reach the same level of coverage.
Aura also has enhanced features where it matters most. Identity theft protection needs to be comprehensive, fast, and helpful. Aura sends alerts up to 4x faster than the competition(ath Power Consulting, 2018).
And finally, you need a partner you can trust. LifeLock has been in trouble with the FTC in the past.
Aura, meanwhile, has been consistently rated by third parties as one of the best identity theft protection services.