Is There a Better Option Than LifeLock?
With over 80 million users across 150 countries, LifeLock has built a strong reputation as a go-to choice for safeguarding sensitive and financial information from identity thieves.
But a recent security breach — along with past fines of over $100 million for failing to secure customer data — and the emergence of more modern competitors raises the question: Is LifeLock still worth it in 2023?
Whether you’re looking for the best identity theft protection for you and your family or are a current LifeLock customer searching for alternatives, it pays to know exactly how LifeLock can (and cannot) keep you safe.
In this guide, we’ll explore LifeLock as a company, its pros and cons, and how LifeLock’s key features stack up against competitors. By the end, you’ll be able to choose the identity theft protection service that’s right for you.
LifeLock Review: What It Is and How It Protects You
Founded in 2005, LifeLock helps protect its customers’ personal information by monitoring their financial accounts and credit scores for signs of fraud.
In 2017, LifeLock was purchased by cybersecurity company Symantec (the makers of Norton), giving customers access to an all-in-one online security service similar to modern digital safety providers like Aura — but at a higher cost.
Every LifeLock plan comes with basic identity theft protection services, including:
- Identity and Social Security number (SSN) alerts. LifeLock monitors your sensitive personal information across multiple platforms, data breaches, and the Dark Web, and alerts you if your data has been leaked.
- Credit monitoring from at least one bureau. All LifeLock plans monitor your credit with Equifax. You’ll need to pay more to monitor your credit with all three bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
- At least $1,050,000 in identity theft insurance. If you become the victim of identity theft, LifeLock will cover up to $1 million in lawyer fees, as well as a minimum of $25,000 each in stolen funds and personal expenses.
- 24/7 live member support. LifeLock’s team of U.S.-based identity restoration specialists can walk you through the steps to take if you become a victim. “Priority” support is only available on the most expensive plans.
- Device security (with the Norton 360 add-on). If you pay to bundle LifeLock and Norton 360, you also get access to a virtual private network (VPN), antivirus software for at least five devices, a privacy monitor and ad-blocker, password manager, parental controls, and at least 100gb of cloud storage (PCs only).
LifeLock’s tiered plans offer varying levels of protection, which increase in price depending on your needs. For example, you’ll need to pay extra for families, three-bureau credit monitoring, Norton 360 digital security tools, home title monitoring, and more.
Here’s a breakdown of LifeLock’s current plans and what they include (prices are as of October 2023):
Who Can Benefit the Most From Using LifeLock?
LifeLock markets itself as identity theft protection for everyone. But the amount of plan options can be overwhelming, often leaving customers with more questions than answers.
For example, many people don’t understand that three-bureau credit monitoring is essential for comprehensive fraud protection, which is only included with LifeLock’s higher-priced plans.
LifeLock’s services could be good for you in the following scenarios:
- If you want insurance coverage against losses from identity theft. LifeLock’s Ultimate Plus plan insures you for $1 million in eligible losses due to identity theft. You could use this insurance to cover passports, personal expenses, and legal fees. But remember, the basic LifeLock Standard monthly plan only includes $25,000 in coverage for stolen funds, which may not be enough for victims of fraud.
- If you’re willing to pay more to monitor your credit at all three bureaus. Not all LifeLock plans monitor your credit score at the three major credit reporting agencies. If you want a comprehensive monitoring service, plus protection on your social media and investment accounts, you need to pay more.
- If you only need to protect yourself (not your family). LifeLock’s family plans hit the bank account hard, even with the company’s promotional price. While you can get good protection on the individual plans, the Ultimate Plus family plan may cost over $700 per year.
LifeLock Features and Pros & Cons
LifeLock makes bold claims about how it can protect you against identity theft, hacking, and fraud. But there are nuances and limitations that you should understand before becoming a paying customer.
Looking at its main features shows how LifeLock protects you — and where it falls short.
Identity monitoring and alerts
The best identity theft protection services monitor your personally identifiable information (PII). By constantly tracking your sensitive data, like your phone number and SSN, digital security providers can alert you to data breaches and suspicious activity that could expose you to fraud.
How LifeLock monitors your identity for fraud:
- Dark Web and data breach monitoring. LifeLock has claimed to scan trillions of data points across the internet, including the Dark Web [*]. If your information is at risk, LifeLock’s Dark Web monitoring should send you a fraud alert.
- Court records scanning. Public court records are under constant watch from LifeLock. If an imposter uses your name to commit a crime (i.e. criminal identity theft), you can quickly find out, and clear your name if you are wrongly linked to arrests or convictions.
- USPS change of address verification. If LifeLock detects unauthorized changes to your credit file or a United States Postal Service (USPS) address change, you’ll get a notification. This feature helps you combat identity thieves who attempt to steal home titles or intercept your mail.
Is LifeLock’s identity monitoring worth it? LifeLock’s identity monitoring and alerts are similar to those of other identity theft protection options that are definitely worth it. However, the value and purpose of some of LifeLock’s additional services are unclear (such as “fictitious identity monitoring”).
Credit monitoring, alerts, and financial fraud protection
If scammers steal your information, they could apply for payday loans or credit cards under your name. This fraud can damage your credit score and standing with financial institutions. You can order free credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com — so paid credit monitoring tools must be reliable and fast to merit paying for them.
Here's how LifeLock conducts credit monitoring:
- One- or three-bureau monitoring. LifeLock’s Standard and Advantage plans only include credit monitoring with Equifax — leaving you vulnerable to fraud that occurs at the other two major credit bureaus (Experian and TransUnion). You’ll have to pay for the Ultimate Plus plan to get three-bureau credit monitoring with LifeLock.
- Fraud alerts and credit lock. LifeLock will flag and alert you to signs of fraud on your credit report and bank accounts, with “buy now, pay later” services, and even on your investment accounts (Ultimate Plus plan only). Customers on the Advantage plan or higher also get access to “Identity Lock” — essentially just an easy way to lock and unlock your TransUnion credit file.
- Credit scores. With the Advantage plan or higher, you’ll also get access to monthly credit scores from Equifax.
Is LifeLock’s credit monitoring worth it? Unless you pay for the highest-priced Ultimate Plus plan, LifeLock falls short on credit monitoring. For example, every Aura plan includes three-bureau credit monitoring, Experian credit lock, financial transaction monitoring, and much more.
Identity theft insurance
If you fall victim to identity theft, it can cost you a lot of time and money to recover. Without insurance, you could lose your life savings. In the worst-case scenario, you may spend months or years fighting court battles to clear your name with banks and debt collection agencies.
Here’s how LifeLock protects you with insurance:
- $1 million legal support coverage. If you become a victim of identity theft while a LifeLock member, the company provides lawyers and fraud experts to resolve your case.
- $25,000 to $1 million in personal expenses and stolen funds compensation. LifeLock’s lower-tier plans have limited coverage for expense compensation and stolen funds reimbursement — starting at just $25,000 on the Select plan. The more you pay for your plan, the more coverage you receive.
Is LifeLock’s identity theft insurance worth it? While LifeLock offers some of the highest overall insurance plans, the limited coverage for stolen funds and personal expenses on lower-tier plans could raise concerns.
Device and data security
If you bundle LifeLock with Norton 360 (for an additional price), it will protect your smartphones, laptops, tablets, and all of the sensitive information on your devices.
Here are the key features of LifeLock’s device and data security:
- Antivirus software. LifeLock safeguards your phones, tablets, and computers from malicious software designed to steal personal data and take over your accounts. Each plan also includes a “virus protection promise” — if LifeLock’s support can’t remove the virus from your device, you’ll get a refund on the service.
- Secure VPN. LifeLock includes a VPN with some of its plans. With a reliable VPN, you can encrypt your online activity — making browsing, shopping, and banking safer, even on public Wi-Fi.
- Additional privacy and digital security tools. Norton 360 also includes a privacy monitor, password manager, “SafeCam” for Windows PC, at least 100gb of cloud storage, plus phone takeover monitoring (Advantage and Ultimate Plus plans only).
Identity restoration and customer support
Dealing with the impact of fraud is a confusing and stressful process. The best identity theft protection apps ensure that you aren't alone, offering expert guidance to resolve the problem.
Here’s how LifeLocks helps victims of identity theft:
- 24/7 live member support. LifeLock offers 24/7 support with “priority” support for Ultimate Plus plan members. However, while the company advertises U.S.-based specialists, many customers on the third-party review site Trustpilot have complained about sub-par support from seemingly foreign call centers.
- Identity restoration services. LifeLock has a U.S.-based team of fraud restoration specialists. These experts can offer advice and support to help you deal with banks, vendors, and legal counsel when you fall prey to identity theft.
- Stolen wallet protection. You can contact LifeLock if your wallet goes missing. The customer support team will help you quickly cancel and replace credit cards, Social Security cards, driver’s licenses, and more.
Is LifeLock’s customer support and identity restoration worth it? While 24/7 support is a benefit, the complaints about support quality and dropped calls are concerning.
Child identity theft is a growing problem that can stop innocent victims from getting credit, cars, or jobs when they reach adulthood. LifeLock offers several family and child-focused features to help keep your family safe.
Here are the key family protection features of LifeLock:
- Child identity and SSN alerts. Fraudsters can exploit a minor's clean record and rack up debts for years. LifeLock helps protect your children's most valuable information.
- Phone takeover monitoring. Kids are at risk of having their phones hacked when using apps or social media. This feature will stop crooks from taking control of your phone — although the details are unclear.
- Child credit file detection. Children shouldn’t have credit files until they’re older. If scammers have used your child’s identity to take out loans or open accounts, LifeLock will alert you.
Is LifeLock’s family protection worth it? LifeLock offers industry-standard protection for families. However, its family plans are expensive and somewhat limited. For example, Aura’s family plans cover up to five adults (in different households) and unlimited children. Try Aura free for 14 days and see if it’s right for you.
What Are the Downsides of Using LifeLock?
Despite its reputation as a leader in identity theft protection, LifeLock is not without its shortcomings. If you’re wondering if LifeLock is worth it, consider these seven potential drawbacks:
- Delayed fraud alerts. Speed is the most crucial factor when it comes to fraud alerts. Unfortunately, some LifeLock customers on Trustpilot report that LifeLock often doesn't alert them until weeks or even months after the fraud has occurred [*].
- Expensive plans with sky-high renewal rates. LifeLock is one of the most expensive products in this market. The first-year promotional prices are tempting, but these plans increase by 30-45% or more when you want to renew.
- Limited coverage on lower tiers. The lower-tier plans offer limited insurance and reimbursement in the wake of fraud. If thieves steal more than $25,000, you could be left with little support.
- Poor customer support. Inconsistent quality in customer support is a common complaint from LifeLock customers, which contradicts the company’s claims of 24/7 availability.
- Data protection controversies. In 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined LifeLock $100 million for failing to secure user data [*]. LifeLock's poor security practices surrounding customer data came to light again in 2018 when a website bug exposed LifeLock customer emails.
- 2023 security breach. Despite the previous fine and warnings, LifeLock's data protection woes continue today. In early 2023, hackers breached the platform, compromising sensitive information from 6,450 LifeLock customers [*].
- Questionable publicity stunts. CEO Todd Davis announced his SSN publicly on the company’s website and billboards in an effort to convince people of LifeLock’s reliable protection. However, hackers stole Davis’ identity 13 times as a result [*].
Why You Should Consider Aura as a LifeLock Alternative
So, is LifeLock worth it? Or is there a better alternative?
While LifeLock has been around for many years, there are numerous LifeLock alternatives that offer similar or better protection — without the downsides. Aura has quickly become a popular choice.
With advanced features built for the digital age, Aura has been rated as the #1 choice for modern identity protection by Money.com, TechRadar, USNews.com, Forbes, and more.
Here’s a comparison between LifeLock and Aura:
When it comes to all-in-one protection, Aura offers more features and better protection at a more affordable price (that won’t increase after your first year).
Here’s why you should choose Aura over LifeLock:
- Faster fraud alerts. Speed is critical when stopping identity thieves. In a 2022 mystery shopper survey, Aura’s credit fraud activity alerts were found to be the fastest in the industry — 250x faster than competitors such as LifeLock3.
- Stronger online security. Aura prioritizes online security, offering strong protection against cyber threats like phishing, fake websites, and cryptocurrency scams.
- More comprehensive family protection. Aura's family plans extend identity protection to family members in multiple households. Aura offers a more comprehensive and cost-effective solution for large families, helping protect the young, old, and vulnerable — such as aging grandparents, college students away from home, and children who are not yet cognizant of internet dangers
- Better support (that’s available when you need it). Aura offers 24/7 support from a dedicated team of U.S.-based White Glove Fraud Resolution Specialists to provide help when you need it most.
- Better value and no price increases. With Aura, you get simple, transparent pricing — with no unwelcomed price hikes after your first year.
- Parental controls including screen time limits, content filters, chat monitoring, and real-time alerts. You can also receive analytics about your child's gaming activity.
The Bottom Line: LifeLock Isn’t Always Worth It
LifeLock’s identity theft protection services may be well known, but there are some serious drawbacks that you shouldn’t overlook in 2023.
For better protection, comprehensive support, and more value for your money, consider signing up for Aura.
Aura’s award-winning identity monitoring tools track more of your sensitive information and can alert you about fraud in near real-time. Plus, you get three-bureau credit monitoring with the industry’s fastest fraud alerts, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered digital security tools, a $1 million identity theft insurance policy for every adult on your plan, and more.