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Is McAfee+ Identity Theft Protection Worth It? (2024)

Is McAfee’s new identity theft protection solution enough to keep you safe? Here’s everything you need to know about McAfee+ before signing up.

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      Can McAfee Keep You Safe From Identity Thieves?

      Overall cases of identity theft and fraud may have dropped slightly in 2023, but losses from cybercrime have continued to skyrocket

      According to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) latest data [*]:

      Americans lost over $6.25 billion to fraud in the first 9 months of 2023 – putting this year on pace to be one of the worst ever recorded.

      It’s the threat of losses like these that propel millions of Americans to look for identity theft protection options, including the latest tools from McAfee.

      But while McAfee is a household name when it comes to antivirus and digital security, it’s not as well known for its newer identity theft protection service

      In this guide, we’ll examine the company’s identity theft protection plan, “McAfee+ Total Protection” — including its features, pros and cons, pricing, and customer reviews. We’ll also compare McAfee+ to some of the best identity theft protection providers in 2024, so that you can make an informed decision about which product is best for you and your family.

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      What Is McAfee Total Protection? What Does It Include?

      McAfee has offered antivirus and digital security products for more than three decades — but the company made a massive shift in September 2021 when it moved into identity theft protection. 

      According to the company’s press release, the goal was to create “a single, intuitive solution that protects you and your families’ personal data and privacy, everywhere you go” [*].

      But what does that mean to you as a potential (or current) McAfee customer?

      Depending on the plan level you choose, here are some of the features you can expected to get with McAfee Total Protection:

      Antivirus and other online safety tools

      McAfee started out as an antivirus solution and still leans heavily on these services. Depending on which plan you choose, you'll get antivirus protection for anywhere from one to unlimited devices. You’ll get access to a suite of online safety tools, including a password manager, VPN, and Wi-Fi scan — all summarized with a Protection Score.

      McAfee Scam Protection

      This feature scans your incoming text messages for potential phishing links and can also block dangerous websites that are linked to from emails, text messages, and social media. It's important to note that, unlike Aura, McAfee doesn't protect against phone scams.

      Identity monitoring (Dark Web only)

      McAfee says that it monitors up to 60 unique types of personal info, such as your Social Security number (SSN), address, phone number, passport number, etc. However, its identity monitoring service seems to only include the Dark Web.

      Dark Web monitoring is important, especially if your SSN or other sensitive information is leaked in a data breach. However, only monitoring the Dark Web misses all the other places where your data could appear (and warn you of identity fraud) — such as in public records or on social media.

      One- or three-bureau credit monitoring

      Credit monitoring alerts you to changes in your credit report or drops in your credit score — for example, if a criminal tries to open a new account in your name. Unfortunately, McAfee only begins to offer one-bureau credit monitoring (TransUnion) on its Advanced plan. To get three-bureau credit monitoring (which also includes Experian and Equifax), you’ll have to pay for the much higher-priced McAfee+ Ultimate plan. We always recommend opting for three-bureau credit monitoring because you could miss early signs of fraud if you only monitor one bureau.

      Transaction monitoring

      McAfee allows you to view your transaction history on your linked bank accounts (debit, savings, credit card, etc.) to see if there’s any suspicious activity. It’s unclear from the company’s FAQs whether or not McAfee will send you alerts about suspicious transactions, or merely give you a list view of your latest purchases. To see your investment and loan accounts, you’ll need to upgrade to the Ultimate plan.

      Personal data and online accounts cleanup

      McAfee helps you clean up your digital life by scanning data broker lists and monitoring old online accounts to see if they're leaking personal information. McAfee scans up to 40 high-risk data broker sites for your personal information to let you know who has a file on you. If you want help removing your data from these broker lists, you’ll need to pay for the Advanced or Ultimate plans.

      Family plans and protection

      For an additional fee, you can cover two adults and up to four children under the age of 18 under a McAfee+ family plan. These plans includes parental controls as well as additional insurance coverage. It's important to note that McAfee's main features will only protect the adults on your plan.

      Identity theft insurance

      McAfee offers $1 million in coverage on its Advanced plan and up to $2 million on its Ultimate plan, to cover costs associated with identity theft, such as lawyer fees, stolen fund reimbursement, and more. This is a standard amount for the industry, but lower than other solutions like Aura or LifeLock. Identity theft insurance covers lost funds and costs associated with restoring your identity. 

      Along with identity theft insurance, McAfee also offers up to $25,000 in protection against ransomware, a type of malware — but only on the Ultimate plan.

      It’s important to note that McAfee’s features and levels of protection differ, depending on the plan you choose.

      For example, the Premium plan — which is its most basic offering — only includes basic identity monitoring, a password manager, and online security tools. 

      The bottom line: McAfee can offer a similar level of protection to other identity theft protection services — but at a higher cost. For the best protection, you’ll want to opt for the Ultimate plan, which starts at $199.99/year for individuals and renews at $279.99 after the first year. 

      🏆 Get award-winning security for as low as $6/month. Aura’s all-in-one identity theft protection solution has been rated #1 by Money.com, USA Today, Forbes, and others. For a limited time, get up to 60% off Aura when you sign up today.

      McAfee ID Theft Protection Pros and Cons

      Experts and users give mixed reviews about McAfee’s services and customer support, but many praise the company for its years of high-level device security.

      If you’re on the fence, here are some key pros and cons to consider:

      McAfee Pros
      McAfee Cons
      Well recognized antivirus software, with a mobile app available on both iOS and Android devices
      Auto-renewal is required to access many digital security features (VPN, password manager, etc.)
      Monitors up to 60 unique types of personal information — but only on the Dark Web
      Only checks 40 data broker sites
      Up to $1 million in identity theft insurance for each adult
      Three-bureau credit monitoring is only offered on the most expensive plan
      $25K ransomware coverage on the Ultimate plan
      Prices increase substantially for subscribers after the first year
      30-day money-back guarantee
      No free trial

      💡 Related: Do You Actually Need Antivirus Software? [Answered]

      How Much Does McAfee Identity Theft Protection Cost?

      Identity theft protection costs vary greatly across companies and plans. McAfee offers three individual plans, as well as three tiers of family protection. Its least expensive plan offers basic identity monitoring and online safety tools, while its most expensive plan includes features more in line with competing identity theft protection providers.

      McAfee’s renewal pricing system means you’ll receive a hefty discount in the first year that you sign up. But after your first year of service, the annual cost can increase anywhere from $80 to $175. This is a considerable increase that may greatly impact your budget.

      In addition, auto-renewal is a requirement to access many features. And, since you’re not given the option of paying monthly, signing up for McAfee entails a significant up-front investment.

      Here are McAfee’s plans and pricing as of January 2024: 

      • McAfee Basic: $29.99/year ($89.99 after the first year)
      • McAfee Essential: $39.99/year ($119.99 after the first year)
      • McAfee Premium: $49.99/year ($149.99 after the first year)
      • McAfee Advanced: $89.99/year ($199.99 after the first year)
      • McAfee Ultimate: $199.99/year ($279.99 after the first year)

      Family plans cost extra and can get quite expensive after your first year intro pricing runs out. Here are McAfee's family plans and pricing as of January 2024:

      • McAfee Premium: $69.99/year ($169.99 after the first year)
      • McAfee Advanced: $119.99/year ($269.99 after the first year)
      • McAfee Ultimate: $249.99/year ($424.99 after the first year)
      🛡 Try award-winning identity theft protection — for free. Aura’s all-in-one intelligent safety solution is the #1 pick on Money.com, Forbes, USA Today, Security.org, and more. Try Aura free for 14 days and protect yourself and your loved ones from online threats.

      What Are Customers Saying About McAfee ID Theft Protection?

      As of January 2024, McAfee has an average rating of 1.2 stars on Trustpilot [*] from over 2,000 reviewers. Before you consider purchasing the service, here are excerpts from real customer reviews:

      • Incompatible with many devices: “Despite having ‘Total Protection’ for 3 devices I could not install McAfee on my tablet because it is Android 7 — contrary to the information on the product packaging.”
      • Annoying pop-ups and slow virus scans: “Everytime I download a file a large pop-up window appears from McAfee saying it’s scanning my file, except it covers a chunk of my screen and freezes there, with no way to get rid of it.”
      • Buggy software that’s frustrating to use: “After using McAfee for a few years I have to say I am not happy with the recent changes to the application. The software now contains a self-clean system which keeps wiping session history from my applications despite me asking for it to be switched off on multiple occasions in the settings.”
      • Not-so-great customer service: “I’ve been trying to get into my account the past 3 days. At first the online chat tech put me through to a phone call which I could not understand, she then put me through to another technician. Day 2 I tried and the same thing happened, again I was over an hour trying to get through and was cut off.” 
      • Overly difficult to cancel: “I called to cancel the subscription and ask for a refund. It was almost impossible. She just kept arguing with me.”

      💡 Related: The 7 Best McAfee Alternatives in 2024

      Who Should Choose McAfee Identity Theft Protection?

      McAfee’s identity theft protection offers multiple features with flexible plans, depending on your needs. But that flexibility can also mean that you’ll be left unprotected or paying too much for services that you don’t need. 

      Before you choose McAfee as your identity theft protection provider, make sure you fall into one of its key use cases:

      • You already know and trust McAfee’s antivirus or digital security tools. McAfee is known for its digital security tools — but users still have mixed reviews about how well these tools work and how easy they are to use. If you’ve been a long-time McAfee user and are happy with the service, McAfee+ could be a good choice for you.
      • You want protection against ransomware. McAfee is one of the only identity theft protection companies to offer insurance specifically against ransomware attacks. While hackers rarely target individuals with ransomware (they’re more interested in large companies with deep pockets and massive data reserves), this can still be a selling point for some customers. 
      • You have a large number of devices that need protection. McAfee offers “unlimited” device protection on every plan. If you have many connected devices and want to protect them all, McAfee could be a good choice for you.
      • You’re on a budget and only want basic identity monitoring. McAfee’s Premium plan starts at $49.99/year and offers just basic identity monitoring and digital security tools. But, be warned that this budget plan renews at $149.99/year after your first year of service. 

      💡 Related: The 8 Best Anti-Tracking Tools To Protect Your Privacy in 2024

      McAfee vs. Aura Head-to-Head: Which Service Is Better?

      McAfee isn’t the only option available for identity theft protection. There’s a host of alternatives to consider, including Identity Guard, Wells Fargo, IdentityForce, Norton Lifelock, and others.

      Aura is a McAfee alternative that offers award-winning all-in-one protection that’s rated #1 by Money.com, Security.org, Forbes, and more.

      If you’re not sure what to look for in an identity theft provider, it might seem like these two services offer the same features. While similar, there are some key differences that you should be aware of.

      The main difference between Aura and McAfee is that:

      • McAfee is well known for online security and antivirus software. If you’re primarily concerned about protecting yourself from malware and other viruses, McAfee could be a good choice for you. That said, McAfee only began offering identity theft protection services in 2021, so its features aren’t as robust as more established competitors.
      • Aura offers more protection when it comes to identity and credit monitoring. Aura was built from the ground up to deal with many of the issues that legacy companies like McAfee face when trying to protect consumers against identity theft. If you’re looking for identity theft protection for the whole family, Aura has you covered.

      Here’s a closer look at how the services compare:

      McAfee
      Aura
      Identity monitoring
      Monitors for your sensitive personal information on the Dark Web
      Monitors for your sensitive personal information on the Dark Web, in public records (home title, criminal and sex offender registry, etc.), and online
      Credit monitoring and protection
      One-bureau credit monitoring with the Advanced plan:
      • Three-bureau monitoring is only available with the most expensive plan
      Three-bureau credit monitoring on all plans:
      • Aura’s credit fraud alert notifications are up to 250x faster than the competition
      Online safety
      Antivirus, VPN, and password manager, with limited identity and credit protection
      Antivirus, VPN, password manager, Anti-Track, email aliases, and Safe Browsing tools included in all plans:
      • Aura also offers an AI-powered call and text assistant to help block common phone scams
      Family protection
      Coverage for up to 2 adults and 4 children
      • No additional identity theft protection for children (only parental controls)
      Coverage for up to 5 adults and unlimited children
      • Parental controls include content filters and screen time limits
      • Safe Gaming features can warn parents of cyberbullies or online predators
      Identity theft insurance
      Up to $2 million
      • $1 million per adult on Advanced and Ultimate family plans
      Up to $5 million
      • $1 million per adult on family plans (up to 5 adults; can be in different households)
      Cost
      Starts at $49.99/year for individual plans
      • Subscription price increases significantly in the second year
      Starts at $6/month for individual plans using this special offer
      • No price increase on subscription renewals
      Customer support
      24/7, but does not disclose location of support
      24/7 access to U.S.-based Fraud Resolution Specialists
      Free trial
      No free trial
      14-day free trial and 60-day money-back guarantee on all annual plans
      Ratings
      1.3 stars on Trustpilot [*]
      4.7 stars on Trustpilot [*]

      What Are Customers Saying About Aura?

      With an average rating of 4.7 stars on Trustpilot as of January 2024 [*], it’s clear that Aura’s identity theft protection is a solid product from a reputable company. 

      Here’s what customers are saying about using Aura:

      • Exceptional customer service: “Service is over and beyond what I expected. With one phone call, my Aura rep called each creditor and checked my credit reports and offered great follow-up advice. If you want peace of mind, you need Aura.”
      • Helpful representatives that walk with you step-by-step: “They got the credit card company on the line and assisted me to shut down a fraudulent cash advance credit card application filed under my credentials. Afterwards they stayed on the line to help me take more steps to protect me from future fraud attempts.”
      • Fraud alerts that are fast and reliable: “I received a message from Aura first thing this morning about a new credit inquiry that I knew was not me. My Aura rep went above and beyond and contacted the bank where the inquiry was made. She verified my identity and stayed on the line with me while the bank took care of the fraud report.”
      🥇 Try Aura’s award-winning protection — for free. Get access to every Aura feature, including 24/7 Fraud Resolution Specialists, free for 14 days to see if Aura is right for you.

      Is Aura a Better Option Than McAfee ID Theft Protection?

      Deciding on the best identity theft protection service for you and your family comes down to your needs and personal preferences. But whatever your situation, Aura is a strong contender to consider.

      Here are a few reasons we think Aura outshines McAfee:

      • Three-bureau credit monitoring with faster fraud alerts. Every Aura plan includes credit monitoring with all three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax). McAfee only includes this level of protection on its highest-priced plan. An independent study also found that Aura provides faster and more reliable fraud alerts than other providers.
      • Higher-rated (and more comprehensive) identity monitoring. Aura was built specifically to address issues and provide stronger protection than its competitors, while McAfee has only been offering identity monitoring since 2021. That’s why Aura is rated #1 by the teams at Forbes, Tech Radar, Money.com, Security.org, and more.
      • Simple pricing with no sky-high renewal rates. With Aura, you know exactly what you’re getting with each plan, and you don’t have to worry about renewal increases because pricing stays the same in the first year and beyond.
      • Better protection for families. If you’re looking for a solution for the whole family, Aura covers up to five adults and an unlimited number of children on its plans. McAfee’s plans only offer coverage for up to two adults and four children. Aura’s family plans also come with parental controls, Safe Gaming tools, and child identity theft protection. 
      • Full suite of digital security tools included. Along with robust identity and credit monitoring, Aura offers a suite of tools that help you proactively protect you from hackers and warn you if someone is scamming you online. This includes online safety features such as a VPN, password manager, malware and antivirus protection, AI-powered scam call and text protection, and Safe Browsing tools.
      • Better customer support and fraud resolution. While both McAfee and Aura offer 24/7 customer support, Aura representatives are all U.S.-based. McAfee doesn’t disclose the location of its support team.
      • Free trial and 60-day money-back guarantee. Aura’s 14-day free trial (plus 60-day money-back guarantee) beats McAfee, which only offers a 30-day money-back guarantee with no free trial.
      • Up to $5 million in identity theft insurance. With Aura, each adult is covered by up to $1 million, with a total of up to $5 million on family plans. This is a $3 million increase from McAfee’s $2 million insurance coverage.
      • Higher ratings from users and critics. If you’re still on the fence, the reviews speak for themselves. Aura has a 4.7-star rating on Trustpilot compared to McAfee with just 1.2 stars.
      The bottom line: When compared to McAfee, Aura provides more features, stronger protection, faster fraud alerts, and more ways to keep your entire family safe. Try Aura free for 14 days and secure yourself and your family against scammers.

      Our Final Recommendation: Choose Aura for Peace of Mind

      Identity theft is on the rise, but investing in a provider like McAfee or Aura can help shield you and your loved ones.

      While McAfee is more expensive and lacks features in some areas, Aura offers award-winning, comprehensive coverage. With 24/7 Dark Web monitoring, online safety tools, and three-bureau credit monitoring, you can rest assured that your data, devices, and finances are safe.

      In the event that you do become a victim of identity theft, you’ll be well taken care of by Aura’s empathetic Fraud Resolution Specialists and $1 million insurance policy.

      McAfee can’t keep up. Try Aura free for 14 days

      Award-winning identity theft protection with AI-powered digital security tools, 24/7 White Glove support, and more. Try Aura for free.

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