Best Identity Theft Protection and Monitoring Services for 2024 – CNET

You might never think about having your identity stolen until one day, it happens. And if it does, it can be painful to work through the restoration process on your own. If your identity is compromised, we recommend Aura as the best ID theft protection service to help you restore your data and keep it secure in the future.

There were over 1 million cases of identity theft reported in the US in 2023 alone, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network. Identity theft also accounted for about 20% of all fraud reports filed with the FTC last year.  

If identity thieves get access to your personal identifiable information, such as your name, Social Security number and phone number, they may target you and gain access to your most important financial accounts. They can withdraw funds from your checking account, open new credit accounts, receive medical care or commit crimes in your name. 

“ID theft is the third certainty in life after death and taxes. To an ID thief, we are their day job.”

Identity theft protection services can help monitor your personal data online and on the dark web for signs of fraud and identity theft. Many services also monitor your credit and bank activity to flag any suspicious transactions. The best services will work with you to recover your identity if it’s stolen.

After scouring dozens of the top names in identity theft, we’ve narrowed down the competition to eight top identity theft protection and monitoring services to keep your sensitive information safe.

Best identity theft protection services



Best identity theft service

Aura was founded in 2017 by CEO Hari Ravichandran after his identity was stolen a few years earlier. We believe Aura gives you the most bang for your buck compared with the competition. For a reasonable monthly price, you can get features rival services make you upgrade for. We also appreciate its straightforward pricing model (just three plans to choose from).  

Like most identity theft protection services, Aura scans the dark web for your personal information, in addition to monitoring your Social Security number and criminal record activity for potential signs of identity theft. Aura subscribers also receive identity theft insurance of up to $1 million per adult. 

Each of Aura’s three plans — Individual, Couple and Family — also include perks like a virtual private network, or VPN, email aliases to keep unwanted emails out of your inbox, and antivirus protection on up to 10 devices per adult. We also like that Aura offers three credit bureau monitoring with all plans. Typically, providers only offer three credit bureau monitoring through their most expensive tier. 

  • $9* or $12 per month for Individual plan
  • $17* or $20 per month for Couple plan
  • $25* or $30 per month for Family plan

Annual plans cost $108 for individuals; $204 for couples; $300 for families (five adults and unlimited children) under current promotional pricing.

*billed annually

LifeLock by Norton

LifeLock by Norton

Best identity theft monitoring features

With LifeLock by Norton Standard, the service’s $11.99 monthly base plan, you get the essentials you need in identity theft protection: dark web monitoring, data breach notifications, and Social Security number alerts are all included. Subscribers also get $1 million in identity theft insurance protection, which is the industry standard. LifeLock even throws in an extra $50,000 for stolen fund reimbursements and necessary expenses if you are the victim of identity theft. These payouts go up in value if you opt for Advantage or Ultimate Plus. 

LifeLock’s Advantage or Ultimate Plus plans, which cost $23 and $34 per month, respectively. offer a wider range of features, such as Buy Now, Pay Later plan alerts, social media and phone take over monitoring, fraud alerts for crimes committed in your name as well as credit, checking and savings account activity notifications. 

LifeLock is one of the most expensive identity theft protection services on our list for individuals, couples and families. Thankfully, it also offers a generous 30-day free trial for all of its tiers so you can try it out. 

While researching whether LifeLock’s service is q good fit, you may come across a few scandals in the early years after the company’s founding. In 2010, the FTC accused LifeLock of deceptive marketing practices after promising it could protect subscribers from all kinds of identity theft. According to the FTC, that was incorrect. LifeLock agreed to pay $12 million as a result of the FTC complaint. Five years later, LifeLock was fined another $100 million for failing to comply with the FTC’s previous order. 

LifeLock is now owned by Gen Digital (formerly Symantec), which also owns cybersecurity company Norton 360. You can get Norton and LifeLock protection for $99 the first year today.

  • $12 to $35 per month for individual plans
  • $24 to $70 per month for family plans (two adults)
  • $36 to $80 per month for family plans (two adults + five children)

All plan prices are for only the first year and will renew at a higher price.

Annual plans start at $90 to $240 for individual;  $150 to $396 for family (two adults); and $222 to $468 for family (two adults + five children) under current promotional pricing.



Best value service

TransUnion-owned IdentityForce is the best of both worlds if you’re trying to decide between LifeLock and Aura. You get a good mix of the unique services LifeLock offers but pay monthly or yearly fees that are closer to Aura’s more affordable price point. 

This is particularly true for families. LifeLock by Norton’s family plan costs $80 per month. By comparison, IdentityForce’s family plans won’t run you more than $40 per month.

What makes IdentityForce different from most other companies on our list is that it offers only identity theft protection services with its entry level UltraSecure individual and family plans. Credit monitoring services, including three credit bureau monitoring and quarterly reports, are included in its more expensive UltraSecure+Credit premium plans. Aura’s individual plan, $15 per month, includes both identity and credit monitoring for much less. 

Among its top features, IdentityForce gives you a personal identity safety score and uses it to devise a personalized action plan for you. You even get a VPN, but, unlike Aura, it’s only for mobile. 

IdentityForce also includes investment account alerts, social media monitoring and a password manager. You’ll get $1 million in identity theft protection insurance for UltraSecure plans and $2 million for UltraSecure+Credit plans.

  • $20 to $35 per month for individual plans
  • $25 to $40 per month for family plans

Annual plans range from $200 to $350 for individuals and $250 to $400 for families (two adults and up to 10 children).



Best budget-friendly option

Consider Zander if you want identity theft protection but don’t want to break the bank. The company mainly operates as an insurance broker selling auto and home coverage for carriers like Nationwide, Allstate and Progressive. But it also provides identity theft protection on the cheap. 

With its Essential Plan, you get what we view as the three pillars of identity theft protection: Social Security number monitoring, dark web monitoring and identity theft insurance of up to $1 million for individuals and $2 million for families. Zander’s Essential Plan also includes alerts on significant data breaches that may impact your personal information.

Like IdentityForce, Zander makes you pay for its most expensive tier for credit and transaction monitoring features. Elite Bundle includes everything in the Essential Plan, and adds Experian credit lock as well as bank, credit, loan and retirement account monitoring.

  • $7 to $12 per month for individual plans
  • $13 to $22 for family plans

Annual plans range from $75 to $130 for individuals and $145 to $240 for families (two adults and unlimited children covered for free).

Identity Guard

Identity Guard

Best for families

Identity Guard offers three subscription plans for both adults and families: Value, Total and Ultra. We find that there’s a noticeable jump in coverage between the tiers to justify this.

Value offers services like dark web monitoring and data breach notifications, whereas Total adds credit protection and three credit bureau monitoring. Ultra tacks on social media and bank account monitoring as well as alerts in case your US Postal Service home address is changed without your knowledge, among other features.

The inner workings of Identity Guard are nothing to write home about (the features are pretty standard throughout in the industry) but it could be a good fit for families. Identity Guard’s family plans cover five adults and unlimited children — even if you choose Identity Guard’s cheapest family plan, at $10 per month. 

Aura, which also covers five adults and unlimited children, charges $50 per month under its lone family plan. By comparison, IdentityGuard’s top family plan is only $33.

  • $9 to $30 for individual plans*
  • $15 to $40 for family plans*

*promotional pricing as of May 1

Annual plans range from $90 to $300 for individuals and $150 to $400 for families (five adults and unlimited children).



Best restoration service

For the price, IDShield packs quite a punch. IDShield offers four plans (two for individuals and two for families) that go up in price depending on how many credit bureaus you want monitored — one or all three. Individual plans with one credit bureau monitoring included costs $15. It costs $20 per month to have Equifax, TransUnion and Experian all monitored.

No matter which you opt for, all individual and family plans include dark web, Social Security number and public records monitoring as well as credit freezing and hard inquiry alerts.

But where the IDShield really shines in our opinion is with its identity restoration tools. IDShield works with licensed private investigators that are assigned to your case if your identity is stolen. It also offers identity theft consultation services, unlimited customer support and up to $3 million in identity theft insurance coverage for members to cover lawyers and experts needed to restore identities.

  • $15 to $20 for individual plans
  • $30 to $35 for family plans (two adults and 10 children)

There are no annual plans available.



Best for customization

IdentityIQ isn’t a good fit for families looking for a straightforward plan — there isn’t one advertised on its website. It’s also not ideal for you if paying for add-on services isn’t your cup of tea. But if you’re looking for a plan you can customize to your needs, IdentityIQ might be the right fit.

IdentityIQ offers four plans, ranging from $7 for its Secure Plan to $30 for Secure Max. You can also add antivirus protection and a VPN for an additional fee to any plan. All IdentityIQ plans include credit bureau monitoring, dark web surveillance and up to $1 million in stolen funds reimbursement. 

While IdentityIQ doesn’t offer a designated family protection plan we could find, Secure Max does include $25,000 ID theft insurance for family protection. If you pay for VPN or antivirus protection, any plan will also then include advanced parental controls for internet browsing.

  • $7 to $30* for individual plans
  • No family plans advertised

Annual plans range from $71 to $306 under promotional pricing (without VPN and antivirus protection).

Experian IdentityWorks

Experian IdentityWorks

Best free option

There aren’t many free identity theft protection options. No other companies on our list even offer one. But Experian does.

With Experian IdentityWorks Basic, you get a free Experian credit report, plus monitoring and alerts. You also get dark web surveillance reports and a personal privacy scan. The latter involves Experian searching people finder sites and informing you what personal information is accessible to potential bad actors or robocallers. The free tier also includes a FICO score tracker and FICO score monitoring.

Paid tiers of Experian IdentityWorks include features like three bureau credit monitoring, quarterly credit reports, Social Security number tracing and up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.

Experian IdentityWorks’ Premium and Family plans are nearly identical, with the exception that the Family plan offers child identity monitoring for up to 10 children.

  • Free t0 $25 for individual plan
  • $35 for family plan

No annual plan available.

Identity theft protection services, compared 

Service Dark web monitoring SSN monitoring Identity theft insurance Credit lock Credit monitoring
Aura Yes, with all plans Yes, with all plans $1 million, per adult covered. Yes, Experian credit lock available with all plans. Yes, three bureau credit monitoring with all plans.
Lifelock by Norton Yes, with all plans Yes, with all plans Starts at $1 million for legal costs and $25,000 for personal expense compensation and stolen funds reimbursement; up to $3 million combined with Ultimate Plus plan, per adult. Yes, TransUnion credit lock available with Advantage and Ultimate Plus plans. Yes, one credit bureau monitoring included with base plan; extra cost for remaining credit bureaus.
IdentityForce Yes, with all plans Yes, with all plans $1 million for UltraSecure plans, $2 million for UltraSecure+Credit plans (coverage varies in New York). No Yes, all three bureaus with UltraSecure+Credit plans.
Zander Yes, with all plans Yes, with all plans $1 million, per adult covered Yes, Experian credit lock available with Elite Bundle plan. No
Identity Guard Yes, with all plans Yes, with all plans $1 million for all plans Yes, Experian credit lock available with Ultra plan Yes, all three bureaus with Total and Ultra plans.
ID Shield Yes, with all plans Yes, with all plans Up to $3 million for all plans No Yes, only one included with base plan; premium plan includes three credit bureau monitoring.
IdentityIQ Yes, with all plans Yes, with all plans $1 million stolen funds reimbursement; $25,000 in ID Theft insurance with Secure Max. No Yes, one bureau included in Secure and Seure Plus plans; three credit bureau monitoring available for Secure Pro and Secure Max.
Experian IdentityWorks Yes, but free plan does not offer daily monitoring Yes, for Premium and Family plans. Up to $1 million for Premium and Family plans. Yes, Experian credit lock available for Premium and Family plans. Yes, all three bureaus with Premium and Family plans.

How do ID theft protection services work?

Identity theft protection services monitor your personal identifiable data — such as your name and Social Security number – online and on the dark web to keep your info out of the hands of identity thieves. 

Top-tier services, like those on our best list, also offer additional monitoring options so bad actors can’t commit a crime or rack up debt in your name. Your social media, credit reports, court records and medical records are some examples of information that identity theft protection companies can keep an eye on for you. 

Identity theft protection companies may even sweeten the pot by offering you a VPN, password manager and encrypted digital “vaults” to secure your sensitive online documents. 

In the event your identity is compromised, identity theft protection companies work with you on a recovery plan. It’s also common for identity protection service providers to offer insurance (normally up to $1 million) to help pay for expenses like lawyer fees needed to recover your identity. Some services like LifeLock and IdentityIQ may reimburse you for stolen funds. 

“Make sure the identity theft protection company you choose has fraud resolution experts and an aggressive resolution program,” said Adam Levin, co-host of the podcast, What the Hack with Adam Levin. You don’t just want a list of what you need to do if your identity is stolen; you want someone working with you directly, he added.

Which identity theft service should you choose?

When picking an identity theft service, you should consider both the price and the features you want. Most introductory plans include real-time Social Security number and dark web monitoring. But most charge more for additional features like three credit bureau monitoring, bank account monitoring and home and auto title monitoring. 

With Aura (our best overall pick), you get all of the above services and more included with all plans. But Aura may lack some other features you need. It doesn’t offer monitoring of medical records or BNPL plans. IDShield and LifeLock’s base individual plans also offer more identity theft insurance coverage.

Save up to 68% on annual protection plans with Aura. Includes a 60-day money-back guarantee.

How much does identity theft protection cost?

Identity theft protection costs can range from under $7 to upward of $30 for individuals and more for couples and families, depending on the level of service you want. Typically, features like three credit bureau monitoring, credit locks, social media monitoring and bank account monitoring are included only in identity theft protection providers’ more expensive tiers.

Identity theft service Individual Couple Family
Aura $15 $29 $50
Lifelock by Norton $12 to $35* $24 to $70* $36 to $80*
IdentityForce $20 or $35 N/A $25 or $40
Zander $7 or $12 N/A $13 or $22
Identity Guard $9 to $30** N/A $15 to $40**
ID Shield $15 or $20 N/A $30 or $35
IdentityIQ $7 to $30; VPN and anti-virus cost extra N/A N/A
Experian IdentityWorks $25; free option also available. N/A $35
*First year only **Promotional pricing. All pricing is for monthly plans.

How to know if your identity has been stolen or compromised

There are a few telltale signs that your identity may have been stolen. Identity thieves can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit card or even receive medical care in your name. You might notice some of the below issues: 

  • Unauthorized withdrawals: Banks are diligent about catching suspicious activity on your account. But you should also review your statements to keep an eye out for withdrawals or charges you didn’t make. 
  • Credit report inaccuracies: It’s common to find a small error or two on your credit report from Equifax, TransUnion or Experian. But if you notice new accounts you didn’t open, you may be a victim of identity theft.
  • Calls from debt collectors: If a debt collector calls you about an unpaid balance for a service or product you don’t recognize, your identity may have been compromised.
  • Loan rejections: If you’re unexpectedly rejected for a new car loan or mortgage due to a bad credit score but have historically had good credit, it might be as a result of identity theft.
  • You stop receiving USPS mail: Identity thieves may change your registered home address with the post office so that they receive all your inbound mail and potentially get access to sensitive information.  
  • Your tax return is rejected by the IRS: It’s a good idea to file your tax return as early as possible each year to help avoid your refund being stolen by identity thieves who have already filed by impersonating you. 

If you notice anything off on your credit report, spot a transaction you don’t recognize or receive a bill in the mail for a product or service you didn’t buy, you should immediately report your case to the Federal Trade Commission using the website.

How to prevent ID theft

One in five people has experienced identity theft in their lifetime, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. It happens more often than you might think. But there are some measures you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen. 

  • Sign up for an identity theft protection service: If you have room in your budget, an identity theft protection service can monitor the dark web, credit bureaus and more for any unusual activity.
  • Avoid phishing attempts: Phishing is a common tactic used by identity thieves trying to get access to your personal information. Be sure to read every email or text you receive carefully, and don’t take the bait by clicking any strange links.
  • Check your statements: Get in the habit of checking your bank and credit card statements to make sure they’re accurate.   
  • Check your credit report: You can request a free credit report from each bureau every week at to review your credit history. 
  • Use strong passwords: Use a mix of numbers, letters and symbols when creating your passwords and try your best to have different passwords for different accounts. It’s also a good idea to set up two-factor authentication on all of your accounts. 
  • Guard your Social Security number: You should not carry your Social Security card around with you in public or give out this number on a whim. You may need to provide it to apply for a new credit card or loan. Confirming the last four digits of your SSN is less risky. 

Additionally, you should avoid using public Wi-Fi for anything other than internet browsing and not share sensitive answers when setting up security questions. Identity thieves will learn as much as they can about you to try to crack your password. You can also freeze your credit to prevent fraudsters from opening new accounts in your name. 

How we rate identity theft protection services

CNET reviews identity theft protection and monitoring services by comparing products across set criteria.

We consider the functionality of the identity theft protection software, the user experience, the software interface, and the quality of customer support. We also look for and evaluate specific features, including the quality of a company’s base plans, total value per price, credit monitoring capabilities, identity theft insurance offered and the scope of restoration services.


Identity theft protection monitors your personal identifiable information on the dark web. If your identity is used to open a new credit account or a crime is committed in your name, identity theft services like Aura (our top choice for 2024) will alert you. 

Unfortunately, credit monitoring alerts aren’t as instant because they rely on changes in your credit report. Many identity theft protection services offer credit monitoring, but you can also sign up for separate credit monitoring services (we like Experian’s offering, which won a CNET Editors’ Choice badge this year). You can do this on your own by reviewing your monthly statements and requesting a free credit report each year.

You can sign up for identity theft protection at any time. If your identity is stolen before you sign up, an ID  theft protection service will work with you to restore your identity. However, you may be denied identity theft insurance if your identity is already compromised upon signing up. This means you might be on the hook for legal fees and other restorative expenses.

You can report cases of identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission online at The agency will create a recovery plan for you and pre-fill some forms and letters needed to help retrieve your lost identity.

You should additionally contact any third-party institution where you found evidence of your identity being stolen, such as a bank or credit card issuer. 

Also, be sure to call TransUnion, Equifax and Experian to report a fraud claim to keep scammers from opening any new credit accounts in your name. Fraud alerts stay on your credit report for one year.

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