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Is Identity Theft Protection Really Worth It In 2024?

Is it identity theft protection worth the money? If you’re on the fence about it, here’s everything you should know before making a decision.

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      How Bad Is Identity Theft in 2024? 

      Identity theft occurs when someone uses your information for personal or financial gain. This could include your name, Social Security number (SSN), birthdate, etc.  

      Credit card fraud, medical identity theft, tax fraud, social media account takeovers, and criminal identity theft are just some of the very real risks of identity theft.

      Unfortunately, scammers have figured out more ways than ever to acquire the information they need to steal your identity.

      For one, identity thieves can steal your wallet and gain access to your credit cards, debit card, and ID. They can also dig through your mail for documents that contain your SSN. They might even trick you into giving up sensitive information through phishing emails and scam calls.

      Even worse, scammers can buy your information off the Dark Web for just a few dollars.

      Valid SSNs, health insurance information, and even passports can be found on Dark Web marketplaces for as little as $5 [*].

      These stats are scary. But the truth is that identity theft has become an unfortunate, everyday side effect of our digital lives.

      The average American now has over 100 online accounts and ten connected devices [*]. In addition to a thief stealing your wallet, every account, social media post, and email that you open could allow an identity thief into your life.

      As one former identity thief told The New York Times [*]: 

      “The reason that people aren’t being victimized is because there simply aren’t enough criminals to take advantage of all that information that’s out there.” 
      🛡 Try award-winning identity theft protection — for free. Aura’s all-in-one digital security solution was rated #1 by Money.com, USA Today, Tech Radar, Forbes, and more. Try Aura free for 14 days and secure yourself from scammers.

      Do You Need To Pay for Identity Theft Protection Services?

      The honest answer is no, you don’t necessarily need identity theft protection services.

      Even though identity theft is at its worst recorded level, news and consumer review sites are quick to point out that you can do almost everything an identity theft protection provider does by yourself.

      Most identity theft protection services do two things very well:

      1. Monitoring: Identity theft protection services monitor your online accounts (including your bank account), credit file, SSN, driver’s license, home title, and other sensitive pieces of information for signs of fraud.
      2. Alerts: If anything suspicious is found, the provider will send you a notification so that you can secure your account and shut out the fraudster. Unfortunately, however, not all providers can alert you in time to prevent identity theft.

      While monitoring and fraud alerts are valuable ways to protect your identity, they don’t do anything you can’t do on your own.

      📚 Related: All Of The Ways Identity Theft Can Happen (and How To Protect Yourself)

      10 Ways You Can Monitor Your Identity On Your Own

      1. Get a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com and check for signs of fraud like new credit inquiries or accounts you didn’t open.
      2. Manually check your credit card and bank statements every day for fraudulent transactions.
      3. Manually set up a credit freeze with all three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) to stop scammers from opening new accounts or taking out loans in your name.
      4. Regularly check public records across the country to see if someone has tampered with your home title, committed crimes, or ended up on the sex offender list using your name.
      5. Contact the Social Security administration and IRS to see if someone has taken out benefits in your name or committed tax fraud.
      6. Manually use a Dark Web scanner to check if any of your account passwords or sensitive data have been leaked in a data breach.
      7. Sign up for data breach notifications to see if any company you have an account with has been hacked.
      8. Research and download antivirus software on all your devices.
      9. Always follow best practices to avoid phishing sites and scam emails.
      10. Protect your online accounts by enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) and using a password manager.

      📚 Related: How Long Does It Take To Recover From Identity Theft?

      Why You Should Consider Identity Theft Protection

      Even if you don’t need to pay for identity theft protection, there’s a simple reason why you should still consider signing up: you’re busy.

      In all likelihood, you have countless other tasks, interests, and concerns that take priority over checking your credit, monitoring who’s using your SSN, and securing your online accounts each day.

      An identity theft protection service does all of the work for you.

      But, even if you want to sign up for a provider, which one should you choose? LifeLock? Identity Guard? Aura?

      There are many options to compare and contrast. And when things get complicated, it’s human nature to choose convenience over security.

      For example, one recent survey found that 91% of people know that reusing a password puts them at risk of identity theft. Yet 66% always or mostly reuse the same password [*].

      But if we’re all at risk, why pay for a service that can only alert you about identity theft? Isn’t that like someone telling you you’ve been in a car crash after the crash has already happened?

      The best identity theft protection services also offer generous insurance policies to cover losses from identity theft along with 24/7 support provided by experienced fraud resolution specialists who are able to walk you through an identity theft recovery plan.

      This means you'll find out faster if you're a victim; and if you are, you can count on the dedicated assistance of experts to help you recover your identity.

      🥇 Don’t settle for second-best protection: If scammers have your personal data, they could take out loans in your name or empty your bank account. Try Aura’s #1-rated identity theft protection solution free for 14 days to protect your finances.

      Here’s How To Know If You Need Identity Theft Protection

      1. You think you or your family are already at risk. You could be at high risk if you have a lot of online accounts, haven’t established daily practices to protect your sensitive information, or have noticed warning signs of identity theft. Younger people are also frequently targeted by identity thieves. If you have kids who are online regularly or are going off to college, they can benefit from family identity theft protection.
      2. You’ve already been the victim of identity theft. According to recent studies, 50% of identity theft victims are repeat victims [*]. If you’ve already been a target once, there’s a good chance you’ll be targeted again.
      3. You know you won’t go through the effort to monitor or freeze your credit. Credit monitoring is an essential part of identity theft prevention. If you know you don’t have the time to scrutinize every transaction, you might want to sign up for identity theft protection services.
      4. You want to protect your assets (home, savings, credit score) with identity theft insurance. The more assets you have, the more you become a target for identity thieves.
      5. Your information is already available to hackers on the Dark Web. Use a free Dark Web scanner to see if your information was leaked in a data breach and is putting you at risk.

      📚 Related: How To Avoid Refund & Recovery Scams — Don't Get Scammed Twice

      What Do Identity Theft Protection Services Actually Do?

      All providers offer some combination of monitoring and alerting features.

      But modern tools are moving from purely reactive measures — alerting you after identity theft has happened — to proactive ones that help prevent theft in the first place.

      Identity theft monitoring

      • Dark Web monitoring: Discover if your sensitive information was leaked in a data breach and is for sale on the Dark Web.
      • Sex offender list: See if a criminal has taken over your identity and committed sex crimes.
      • Home title: Check homeowner registries to see if someone is trying to alter your home title and commit deed fraud.
      • Criminal and court records: Check across the country to see if anyone has used your identity during a traffic stop or when committing a crime.
      • Payday loan applications and wire transfers: Receive alerts if your identity is being used for high-risk transactions such as payday loan scams.
      • Change-of-address: Find out if someone is trying to change your address with USPS. (Scammers do this to gain access to your mail and steal your sensitive information —  and unfortunately it’s easy for them to do by simply filling out a Change-of-Address form.)
      • Data broker lists: Get removed from lists that brokers sell to telemarketers and scammers. This can help reduce the number of spam emails and robocalls you receive.

      Identity monitoring is often your first line of defense against fraudsters. The sooner you can catch them misusing your identity, the quicker you can shut them down.

      📚 Related: How To Find Out If Someone Is Illegally Using Your Name

      Credit monitoring

      Credit monitoring can help detect:

      • Changes to your credit reports or credit limits.
      • Fraudsters applying for free credit in your name.
      • Fluctuations in your credit scores.
      • Unauthorized transactions or transfers made if scammers have your bank account numbers.
      • Hard inquiries from lenders that you didn’t request.
      • Fraudulent credit accounts opened in your name.
      • Unauthorized loans or credit card applications made in your name.

      In 2020 — the latest year where data was available — 67% of Americans said they didn’t monitor their credit reports [*]. A credit monitoring tool can help you stop scammers before they take hold of all of your assets.

      Antivirus and network protection

      All-in-one identity theft protection services like Aura come with device security tools, including:

      • Antivirus software. Protect your devices from malware and other viruses that can steal your personal information.
      • Virtual Private Networks (VPN). Secure your networks from hackers spying on you or intercepting your data on sensitive sites. (Wi-Fi networks, both at home and in public, are notoriously easy to hack.)
      • Phishing alerts. Get alerted if you’re entering a “spoofed” site that could potentially steal your credentials or install malware on your device.
      • Password manager. This tool generates unique passwords for your accounts and then stores all of them in a secure place (so you don’t have to worry about forgetting them). A password manager will also alert you if any of your passwords are at risk from hackers, and can even auto-update your old passwords on some sites.

      📚 Related: Is a VPN Worth It? What To Know Before You Use One

      Family protection (child identity theft, elder fraud, etc.)

      People of all ages are at risk of identity theft. More than one million children were victims of child identity theft, while older Americans (60+) lost $1.7 billion to fraudsters last year alone.

      Family identity theft protection plans help you monitor the more vulnerable members of your family. You can track your child’s SSN for signs of identity theft and monitor the credit of your elderly parents or grandparents.

      📚 Related: Understanding Spousal Identity Theft and How It Happens

      Identity restoration and fraud resolution

      Many providers include 24/7 U.S.-based support teams and White Glove Fraud Resolution specialists that can help you by:

      • Providing guidance on how to recover from fraud.
      • Facilitating a three-way call with bank or government agencies to help you navigate identity theft recovery.
      • Sending identity theft reports to creditors on your behalf.
      • Disputing fraudulent accounts and charges on your accounts.
      • Recovering lost documents or IDs (such as when your wallet is stolen).

      📚 Related: Is McAfee Identity Theft Protection Worth It in 2024?

      Identity theft insurance

      Identity theft insurance provides coverage and reimbursement for costs associated with identity fraud. Providers offer a wide range of coverage, from a few thousand dollars to $1 million or more. Identity theft insurance typically covers:

      • Legal fees
      • Stolen funds
      • Lost wages
      • Travel expenses
      • Elder care, spousal care, and child care
      • Certified public accountant costs

      You may have identity theft coverage as part of a general insurance policy (such as Allstate). However, identity theft insurance coverage is usually more comprehensive.

      Take action: Protect yourself from the risks of identity theft and fraud with Aura’s $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance. Try Aura free for 14 days to see if it’s right for you.

      What Identity Theft Protection Can’t Do

      Identity theft protection can help protect your family’s online and financial accounts, PII, device security, and cover losses due to fraud. But no provider can prevent all types of identity theft and fraud.

      In fact, in 2015, LifeLock — one of the largest providers of identity theft protection services — entered into a $100 million settlement with the FTC over deceptive claims about its ability to protect its customers’ identities [*].

      📚 Related: How To Protect Your Identity Online in 2024

      How Much Does Identity Theft Protection Cost?

      Total costs vary for identity theft protection services. But many providers offer an entry-level package that costs around $10–$12 a month. This should include key features such as identity monitoring, credit monitoring, and $1,000,000 in insurance coverage.

      Many providers also offer a free trial period and a money-back guarantee to allow you to try out their services and see if they’re right for you.

      For a limited time, you can save 60% on Aura — meaning an individual membership is just $6/month.

      The 5 Top-Rated Identity Theft Protection Services of 2024

      1. Aura
      2. Identity Guard
      3. IdentityForce
      4. LifeLock
      5. ID Watchdog

      If you’re ready to consider an identity theft protection service, there are more options than ever to choose from (including ones not on this list, such as Zander and ProtectMyID). However, some don’t offer the same levels of protection and monitoring as others.

      Here’s our list of the 5 top-rated identity theft protection services from sites like Security.org, U.S. News, IdentityProtectionReview.com, and more.

      1. Aura

      Aura has been rated as the #1 identity theft protection service by major publications including Money.com, Forbes, Tech Radar, USA Today, and more.

      Here’s what the reviewers at Security.org wrote about Aura:

      “One of Aura’s real strengths is that it draws information from so many different sources in order to keep your identity safe. Aura is constantly checking Dark Web sites, data broker lists, public records, and new account records, looking for your name, Social Security number, address, and other identifying information. You can be certain that if someone has hijacked your identity, Aura will catch them.”

      Aura pros:

      • Highest-rated identity monitoring and protection that covers your PII, credit cards, home title, SSN, bank and investment accounts, payday loans, IDs, and more.
      • The industry’s fastest fraud alerts (up to 250X faster than the competition).
      • Proactive identity theft protection features including a password manager and auto-update on some compromised passwords.
      • Three-bureau credit monitoring with a one-click credit lock of your Experian credit file. 
      • Device and network protection against malware and hackers through advanced antivirus software along with a military-grade VPN (Virtual Private Network). 
      • Affordable pricing plans (starting at $12/mo).
      • No feature differences across plan types. Every Aura member gets the same high level of protection.
      • Simple and easy-to-use interface that works on all your devices (desktop and mobile app).
      • Family Plans cover up to five family members including children and adults.
      • 14-day free trial and 60-day money-back guarantee.
      • $1 million identity theft insurance coverage (for every adult member included on your plan) and 24/7 access to a team of U.S.-based White Glove Fraud Resolution specialists. 

      Aura cons:

      • Some features aren’t yet available for Mac desktop or Chrome users.
      • Only monthly credit scores (VantageScore).

      Ready to get started? Sign up for your free 14-day trial of Aura today →

      2. Identity Guard

      Identity Guard is another highly-rated identity theft protection service that is now owned by Aura. Together, the two brands offer some of the most comprehensive, advanced, and user-friendly identity theft protection on the market. 

      While Aura offers all-in-one protection — including antivirus and device protection — Identity Guard focuses on protecting your identity from existing and new threats.

      Identity Guard differs from other providers in its use of artificial intelligence (AI), enabling it to constantly search for new threats against your identity.  

      Identity Guard pros:

      • Trusted brand name and reviews. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) rates Identity Guard an “A+,” while Trustpilot gives it a 4.4.
      • Comprehensive protection of your credit card, SSN, bank and investment accounts, and Dark Web monitoring.
      • Predictive risk alerts based on advanced machine learning, powered by the artificial intelligence (AI).
      • Some of the most affordable pricing plans
      • Dedicated fraud resolution specialists and premium-level customer service.
      • Social Insight Reports that help you manage your social media accounts.

      Identity Guard cons: 

      • Only customers on the higher-tiered plans get access to credit report monitoring.
      • No free trial.
      • No three-bureau credit agency reporting with the basic plan.

      📚 Related: The Top 5 Identity Theft Protection Apps (iOS & Android)

      3. IdentityForce

      IdentityForce has over 40 years of experience defending against identity theft and is available for both individuals and businesses.  IdentityForce combines many of the top features of other providers, including identity monitoring, insurance coverage for  financial losses, and identity recovery services. 

      IdentityForce pros:

      • 14-day free trial with their starting plan, UltraSecure.
      • Family Plan options.
      • Near real-time alerts for fraudulent activity.
      • $1 million insurance coverage.
      • Excellent social media monitoring.

      IdentityForce cons:

      • Expensive starting plan compared to most providers (and only two plan options are offered).
      • No refunds for cancellations.

      📚 Related: IdentityForce vs. LifeLock — Which One Is Right For You?

      4. LifeLock

      LifeLock by Norton is one of the more popular identity theft protection services. After being acquired by Symantec (the makers of Norton), LifeLock became an all-in-one digital security solution that includes antivirus software and a VPN. But is LifeLock worth it

      Unfortunately, LifeLock has had its fair share of bad press lately. LifeLock’s digital security features can cause serious device slowdowns. But even worse, LifeLock recent disclosed that it was hacked, with sensitive information from thousands of customers — including passwords —  being compromised [*].

      LifeLock pros:

      • Antivirus software and a secured VPN (Virtual Private Network) to protect your devices from malware.
      • Dark Web monitoring to identify vulnerable accounts.
      • ID verification monitoring.
      • Payday loan monitoring. 
      • Sex offender registry monitoring.
      • $1 million insurance coverage (for lawyers and experts to help with your case only) if you’re the victim of identity theft.

      LifeLock cons:

      • $100+ million FTC lawsuit: LifeLock was the subject of multiple FTC lawsuits for deceptive marketing claims [*].
      • Sky-high renewal costs: After your first year as a LifeLock customer, the cost of an annual plan jumps anywhere from 40–70%.
      • Family Plan pricing: LifeLock’s Family Plans cost an extra $5.99 per child, which could add up quickly if you have a large family.

      📚 Related: Aura vs. LifeLock: Which Is Right For yYou?

      5. ID Watchdog

      ID Watchdog is a more family-oriented identity theft protection provider owned by Equifax.

      ID Watchdog claims to offer protection beyond credit card fraud to include tax-related identity theft, child identity alerts, and social account monitoring to help prevent cyberbullying. The company claims to monitor "across billions of data points" to search for signs of potential fraud. 

      ID Watchdog Pros:

      • Child-specific identity protection with family-focused features.
      • Access to dedicated resolution specialists.
      • $1 million in identity theft insurance.
      • The mobile app offers more control and convenience.
      • Plans can be customized for consumers and businesses.

      ID Watchdog Cons:

      • Only two available plans.
      • The family package covers only four kids.
      • You have to upgrade to a Premium plan for social media and financial account monitoring.
      Ready for ironclad identity theft protection? Try Aura 14-days free.

      Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you to increase awareness about digital safety. Aura’s services may not provide the exact features we write about, nor may cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat discussed in our articles. Please review our Terms during enrollment or setup for more information. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime.

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