How Much Does Identity Theft Protection Cost? [2022 Update]

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Yaniv Masjedi

Organic Growth at Aura

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    Identity theft and fraud protection for your finances, personal info, and devices.

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    Do You Need To Pay for Identity Theft Protection Services?

    After Ohio public school teacher Amy Gray’s purse was stolen in January 2022, she replaced her credit cards and driver’s license and didn’t give it a second thought.[*]

    But four months later, a notice of an outstanding warrant for Gray’s arrest caught her off guard. Someone had given the police her ID after a misdemeanor theft at a local Walmart. Multiple court appearances and $1,500 in attorney fees later, the case was dismissed due to a mistaken identity.

    Research shows that identity theft impacted one in four Americans in 2021.[*] Protecting your identity is a full-time job — few of us check court records for arrest warrants. Identity theft monitoring services can do the work for you automatically and provide insurance, recovery services, and other protection tools.

    Identity Theft Protection Costs: A Top-10 Breakdown

    To understand the cost of identity theft protection, we’ve broken down the plans and features of 10 providers on the market including Aura. Here’s how much you should expect to pay for the best identity theft protection services.

    1. Aura
    2. Identity Guard
    3. IdentityForce (by TransUnion)
    4. IDShield
    5. PrivacyGuard
    6. IdentityIQ
    7. ID Watchdog (by Equifax)
    8. IdentityWorks (by Experian)
    9. myFICO
    10. IDStrong

    1. Aura

    Monthly

    • Individual: $15
    • Couple: $29
    • Family: $50

    Annually

    • Individual: $12
    • Couple: $22
    • Family: $37

    Aura is the #1-rated identity theft protection service, according to digital safety aggregators like IdentityProtectionReview.com and Security.org.

    Research has shown that Aura’s fraud alerts are up to 4x faster than the competition, which makes all the difference when you’re combatting fast-moving identity thieves.

    In addition to Aura’s identity theft protection, all plans come with a suite of tools that help you proactively defend yourself online. These include a password manager, antivirus software, and Wi-Fi protection with a virtual private network (VPN).

    Aura doesn’t use bait-and-switch tactics with pricing. What you pay the first year is what you’ll pay afterward, without the 40 to 70% increases that many other ID theft protection services impose after the first year.

    Aura pros:

    • All-in-one security solution including a password manager, VPN, and antivirus to protect up to 10 devices.
    • 4x faster alerts than competitors.
    • $1 million in identity fraud protection insurance for every adult member on any Aura plan, including reimbursements for lost wages and child/elder care expenses.
    • Complete identity monitoring — including Social Security number (SSN), credit cards, home title, public and criminal records, bank accounts, investment and retirement accounts, and more.
    • Device protection with military-grade encryption, VPN, and Wi-Fi protection. Aura uses the same level of encryption that banks and the U.S. military use. Aura also has the trust of blue-chip partners like Walmart, Bank of America, and Kaiser Permanente.
    • 24/7/365 dedicated White Glove Fraud Resolution team based in the United States.
    • Includes Experian CreditLock, Dark Web monitoring, and parental controls.
    • Data brokers collect and sell your information to advertisers and telemarketers, exposing you to unwanted ads or scams. Aura sends requests on your behalf to remove your data from brokers — reducing the amount of spam and robocalls that you receive.
    • 14-day free trial and 60-day money-back guarantee on annual plans.

    Aura cons:

    • Not all features are available for Macs or Chrome yet.
    • Higher starting prices compared to other identity theft protection services.
    • Only includes access to one annual credit report.

    📌 Did you know? Aura includes a VPN as part of every plan. LifeLock, on the other hand, can only add Norton 360 (their VPN and antivirus) as part of a device security upgrade.

    2. Identity Guard

    Monthly

    • Value (Individual): $8.99, Value (Family): $14.99
    • Total (Individual): $19.99, Total (Family): $29.99
    • Ultra (Individual): $29.99, Ultra (Family): $39.99

    Annually

    • Value (Individual): $7.50, Value (Family): $12.50
    • Total (Individual): $16.67, Total (Family): $25.00
    • Ultra (Individual): $25.00, Ultra (Family): $33.33

    Identity Guard is owned by Aura, which means it offers the same top-level identity protection. Like Aura, Identity Guard touts fast alerts, comprehensive security, and an easy-to-use product interface.

    Identity Guard is one of the most affordable services but still offers $1 million in identity theft insurance on even the lowest-tier plan. The service also has excellent reviews, including a rating of A+ from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and 4.5 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot.

    Identity Guard pros:

    • All plans come with an online identity dashboard, Dark Web monitoring, data breach alerts, and a risk management report.
    • Comprehensive financial fraud protection includes three-bureau credit monitoring, transaction monitoring, security freeze assistance, and more.
    • Affordable plans and pricing.
    • $1 million identity theft insurance with reimbursement for stolen funds.
    • U.S.-based customer service and White Glove Concierge services.
    • Social media monitoring reports to help manage and safeguard your social media accounts.
    • Mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
    • Generous family plans and protection that covers an unlimited number of adults and children in the same household.

    Identity Guard cons:

    • Features for child identity protection only include Dark Web alerts and SSN monitoring.
    • Credit report monitoring is only available on the higher-tier plans — Total and Ultra.
    • White Glove Concierge is limited to the Ultra plan.
    • Identity Guard no longer uses IBM Watson artificial intelligence to power predictive alerts.

    3. IdentityForce (by TransUnion)

    Monthly

    • UltraSecure: $17.95
    • UltraSecure+Credit: $23.95

    Annually

    • UltraSecure: $14.95
    • UltraSecure+Credit: $19.95

    IdentityForce is one of the oldest businesses in identity protection, dating back to the 1970s. In 2021, credit bureau TransUnion acquired IdentityForce, making it the last of the three major credit bureaus to offer identity protection.[*]

    Despite being owned by a credit bureau, IdentityForce doesn’t offer credit monitoring on the most basic plan, so there is no free credit report from the parent bureau.

    Since credit monitoring services are one of the most important tools to counter identity theft, this is an important omission to keep in mind.

    IdentityForce pros:

    • The UltraSecure plan offers a 30-day free trial.
    • Alerts are available for change of address, court records, sex offender registry, medical records, and account numbers.
    • Some notable features include a password manager, mobile apps, and a junk mail opt-out service.
    • IdentityForce provides family plans with a two-month discount on annual plans.
    • Social media monitoring and $1 million in identity theft insurance are available across plans.

    IdentityForce cons:

    • The UltraSecure plan doesn’t include any credit report monitoring or protection.
    • No refunds or cancellations.
    • Expensive compared to other competitors.

    4. IDShield

    Monthly

    • 1 Credit Bureau (Individual): $14.95
    • 3 Credit Bureau (Individual): $19.95
    • 1 Credit Bureau (Family): $29.95
    • 3 Credit Bureau (Family): $34.95

    Annually

    • 1 Credit Bureau (Individual): $14.74
    • 3 Credit Bureau (Individual): $19.66
    • 1 Credit Bureau (Family): $29.95
    • 3 Credit Bureau (Family): $34.95

    IDShield falls under LegalShield, a multi-level marketing company that sells prepaid legal services. In addition to identity protection, they also provide reputation management services that scan social media and data broker websites.

    IDShield offers two kinds of plans, each with an individual and family option. As the name suggests, the 1 Credit Bureau plan scans your TransUnion credit report, while the 3 Credit Bureau plan reviews reports from all three agencies (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax).

    IDShield pros:

    • Includes a 30-day free trial with a basic plan that includes all protection features.
    • Family plans cover two adults and dependents under the age of 18.
    • Victims of identity theft are assigned a licensed private investigator.
    • Offers notifications for participant information on unlawful telecom accounts and rent-to-own applications, among others.
    • IDShield can also monitor social media accounts for reputational risks. Outside of exposed personal information, IDShield also looks for foul language, drug references, or discriminatory terms related to participant accounts.

    IDShield cons:

    • No device protection is included with the service.
    • Little or no discounts are available on annual plans.
    • Not all features are active automatically — you’ll need to turn on the features you want once you've purchased a plan.
    • The customer service hours are limited unless you have an emergency.

    📌 Like Aura, LifeLock also offers a 60-day money-back guarantee with annual plans. However, they do not not offer a free trial. See how Aura compares against LifeLock’s Standard, Advantage, and Ultimate Plus plans →

    5. PrivacyGuard

    Monthly

    • Credit Protection: $19.99
    • Identity Protection: $9.99
    • Total Protection: $24.99

    PrivacyGuard has been around since 1991.[*] The company offers three straightforward plans: one for credit protection, one for identity protection, and a plan that includes both. Credit protection plans contain reports from all three credit bureaus.

    PrivacyGuard and its parent company —  Trilegiant Corporation — have a wobbly legal history with ​​multiple class-action lawsuits against them. Trilegiant faced legal action in 47 states and paid millions in monetary relief for unfair billing and unlawful retention practices.[*]

    Added to that, PrivacyGuard is not BBB accredited and only scores 2 out of 5 stars on ConsumerAffairs.[*]

    PrivacyGuard pros:

    • À la carte-style plans let you choose credit monitoring, identity protection, or both as needed.
    • Dedicated fraud resolution teams.
    • Text and email alerts on all plans.
    • Mobile app available for iOS and Android devices.
    • Reporting from all three credit bureaus.
    • Credit protection plans include credit scores.

    PrivacyGuard cons

    • 14-day trial period costs $1.
    • No annual payment option.
    • Doesn’t track suspicious activity on bank accounts, credit cards, or investment accounts.
    • No compensation coverage in the event of identity theft.
    • No credit protection at all on the cheapest plan (Identity Protection).
    • No family plans available.
    • Doesn’t offer two-factor authentication (2FA) to protect your account.

    6. IdentityIQ

    Monthly

    • Secure: $6.99
    • Secure Plus: $9.99
    • Secure Pro: $19.99
    • Secure Max: $29.99

    Annually

    • Secure: $5.94
    • Secure Plus: $8.50
    • Secure Pro: $16.99
    • Secure Max: $25.50

    IdentityIQ is best known for having the lowest-priced plan on the market at under $6 per month. They also receive consistent praise for their clear product walkthroughs and user guidance.

    While the company doesn’t offer dedicated family plans, the Secure Max plan offers family protection. The basic plans don’t include software protection, but IdentityIQ lets you add on Bitdefender antivirus and VPN for $2 to $3 per month.

    IdentityIQ pros:

    • Entry-level plan has one of the lowest prices on the market.
    • $1 million insurance policy.
    • Offers comprehensive user education resources to help you learn how to protect your identity.
    • Can be bundled with Bitdefender Total Security antivirus and VPN add-ons.
    • Daily credit report monitoring from one bureau.
    • Identity restoration team based in the United States.
    • Family protection is built-in on the Secure Max plan.
    • Scans for synthetic identity theft.

    IdentityIQ cons:

    • No mobile app available.
    • No family protection on lower-tiered plans.
    • No free trial available.
    • No social media monitoring.
    • Does not offer complete identity restoration services.
    • Standard hours for customer support — not 24/7/365 service.
    • Lacks standard identity theft monitoring features that track medical records, investment accounts, payday loans, and property title changes.

    7. ID Watchdog (by Equifax)

    Monthly

    • Select (Individual): $14.95
    • Premium (Individual): $21.95
    • Select (Family): $23.95
    • Premium (Family): $34.95

    Annually

    • Select (Individual): $12.50
    • Premium (Individual):$18.33
    • Select (Family): $20.00
    • Premium (Family): $29.17

    ID Watchdog is an identity theft protection service that was acquired by the credit bureau Equifax in 2017. It’s more family-oriented than other plans, with extra features focused on protecting children. It also includes tools like a VPN and password manager on the Premium plan.

    More than half of the features are only available on the more expensive Premium plan. The Select plan mainly offers credit monitoring on your Equifax credit report.

    On the heels of the ID Watchdog acquisition, Equifax itself was responsible for perhaps the most devastating data breach in U.S. history — leaking the personal information, driver’s license data, and SSNs of about 143 million people.

    The Apache Software Foundation confirmed that Equifax could have avoided the data breach had they installed a security patch flagged two months before the breach.[*]

    ID Watchdog pros:

    • $1 million in identity theft insurance.
    • Mobile app available for iOS and Android devices.
    • Extensive feature set available on the Premium plan.
    • Designed with several features built to protect children and families.

    ID Watchdog cons:

    • Equifax has an inconsistent security record.
    • Family plans only allow for four kids.
    • Financial account, social media account monitoring, credit report lock, account takeover alerts, VPN, password manager, account takeover alerts, subprime loan monitoring, and other features are only available on the Premium plan.

    📌 Did you know?  Equifax agreed to a global settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for up to $425 million to help identity theft or fraud victims of the breach. According to a September 2022 update from the FTC, you can still file a claim for expenses incurred between January 23, 2020, and January 22, 2024 due to the breach.[*]

    8. IdentityWorks (by Experian)

    Monthly

    • Plus (1 Adult): $9.99
    • Premium ( 1 Adult): $19.99
    • Plus (1 Adult + Kids): $14.99
    • Premium (1 Adult + Kids): $24.99
    • Plus (2 Adults + Kids): $19.99
    • Premium (2 Adults + Kids): $29.99

    Annually

    • Plus (1 Adult): $8.33
    • Premium ( 1 Adult): $16.67
    • Plus (1 Adult + Kids): $12.50
    • Premium (1 Adult + Kids): $20.83
    • Plus (2 Adults + Kids): $16.67
    • Premium (2 Adults + Kids): $25.00

    IdentityWorks offers two tiers of plans, each with different levels of family coverage: for one adult, one adult and up to 10 children, or two adults and up to 10 children.

    IdentityWorks offers fairly complete coverage and includes credit reports from all three bureaus as well as a credit score simulator.

    IdentityWorks pros:

    • Offers a 30-day free trial.
    • Family plans cover up to 10 children.
    • Includes Experian CreditLock, which lets you lock and unlock your credit report with a single tap.
    • $1 million compensation insurance on the Premium plan.
    • Provides daily FICO reports and a credit score simulator.
    • Monitors payday loan attempts, court records, and file sharing networks on the Premium plan.

    IdentityWorks cons:

    • The product interface shows paid ads promoting credit offers, even if you’re on a paid plan, according to SafeHome.org.[*]
    • Customer service follows strict hours and is not available 24/7/365.
    • Identity theft insurance is limited to $500,000 on the Plus plan.
    • Limited ID theft monitoring on the starting plan.
    • Will only lock your Experian credit report, but leaves Equifax and TransUnion reports unlocked.

    9. myFICO

    Monthly

    • Basic: $19.95
    • Advanced: $29.95
    • Premier: $39.95

    myFICO is the consumer branch of FICO — the company that pioneered the credit-scoring model, FICO® Scores, that most lenders use to date. 

    myFICO offers three plans: Basic includes monthly Experian reports, Advanced includes quarterly reports from all three bureaus, and Premier includes monthly reports from all three.

    The company also offers one-time packages to get your report from a single credit bureau (for $19.95) or all three credit bureaus (for $59.85). Unless you need your official FICO score, we don’t recommend the one-time package since you can request these reports for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.

    As you might expect from FICO’s business model, the plans favor monitoring and managing your credit score over identity theft prevention. The basic plan, for example, doesn’t include identity monitoring. myFICO’s packages are best suited for those looking to improve their credit or work toward future credit goals.

    myFICO pros:

    • Follows the industry-leading FICO credit scoring model.
    • Provides a simulator that lets you explore how different credit actions could improve (or worsen) your credit score.
    • Offers regular updates on any credit score fluctuations.
    • A mobile app is available for both iOS and Android devices.
    • Choose from a subscription or single-purchase option.
    • Provides 24/7 identity restoration services.

    myFICO cons:

    • Expensive plans, especially considering the limited feature set.
    • No identity monitoring on the Basic plan.
    • No protection for financial accounts, investment accounts, home titles, and medical records.

    📚 Related: How To Remove Hard Inquiries From Your Credit Report

    10. IDStrong

    Monthly

    • Standard: $15.00
    • Comprehensive: $20.00

    IDStrong is one of the smaller players in identity protection but offers comprehensive coverage with two simple, easy-to-understand plans. Standard includes identity monitoring, and Comprehensive adds credit reports and monitoring from all three bureaus.

    A noteworthy addition here is that IDStrong is affiliated with InfoPay — a company that partly owns Staterecords.org. Staterecords.org provides information gathered from over one billion public records, including criminal records, names, addresses, IP addresses, and more.

    A proposed class action from December 2021 claims that the operators of StateRecords.org have used consumers’ identities without their consent.[*]

    IDStrong pros:

    • Free tools, including a data breach scan, password generator, and password checker.
    • Affordable plans.
    • Live support.
    • Comprehensive identity monitoring.

    IDStrong cons:

    • Possible conflict of interest since IDStrong.com is registered as a data broker site with the Attorney General of California.
    • Basic plan doesn’t include credit report monitoring.
    • Identity theft insurance is only available on higher plans.
    • No mobile app or family plans are available.

    To Monitor Your Identity Yourself, Follow These Steps

    Even if you’re undecided about identity protection services, there are still things you can do to safeguard yourself from identity theft.

    Protect your credit

    • Review your credit file regularly for suspicious activity, and check for any new accounts or incorrect balances on your credit or debit cards.
    • You can request a free credit report from each bureau once every year at AnnualCreditReport.com. For extra protection, consider setting up a fraud alert or credit freeze.

    Protect your accounts

    • Every account you have, from e-commerce sites to social media, is a target for hackers. Use strong, unique passwords on each account — a password manager can help you remember them.
    • Set up two-factor authentication (2FA) on all eligible accounts, and immediately change the password on any account that is compromised in a data breach.

    Protect your devices

    • The best way to protect your devices from malware and other cybersecurity threats is to keep the software up to date.
    • Activate automatic updates, if possible. Install an antivirus, back up your data regularly, and avoid public Wi-Fi whenever you can.

    Protect yourself

    • Learn to recognize the signs of a phishing email, be wary of phone calls from unknown numbers, and ignore text messages unless you know the sender.
    • Also remember to never share personal information over the phone unless you can confirm the identity of the caller.

    Here’s When Identity Theft Protection Makes Sense

    Even with personal precautions, there are instances in which it makes sense to invest in an identity theft protection service.

    • If you’ve already been a victim, you’re at greater risk of having your identity stolen again. Fraudsters may have already verified your identity and legitimate credit history or other assets that are worth exploiting.
    • You’re busy: Most of us know we should use strong passwords, check our credit card statements every month, and request a free credit report a few times a year. But few of us take those steps as often as we should. Identity theft protection manages these on autopilot so that you can have peace of mind.
    • You need or want more comprehensive protection: Identity theft services offer more protection than any one person could manually set up. Most protection services offer real-time notifications of fraudulent activity and scan billions of data points that no human would ever have the time to review.
    • You want to be prepared in case of fraud: Recovering from identity theft is laborious, stressful, and costly — taking hundreds of hours to resolve. With Aura’s White Glove Fraud Resolution and identity restoration, receive step-by-step guidance from vetted experts in the remediation process.
    See if Aura is right for you. Sign up for a 14-day free trial. →

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    1. Financial identity theft and fraud
    2. Medical identity theft
    3. Child identity theft
    4. Elder fraud and estate identity theft
    5. “Friendly” or familial identity theft
    6. Employment identity theft
    7. Criminal identity theft
    8. Tax identity theft
    9. Unemployment and government benefits identity theft
    10. Synthetic identity theft
    11. Identity cloning
    12. Account takeovers (social media, email, etc.)
    13. Social Security number identity theft
    14. Biometric ID theft
    15. Crypto account takeovers