Identity theft is on the rise and in response, the president/CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center states: “I am convinced that 2016 will see more massive public and private sector takedowns, hacks, and exposure of sensitive personal information.” Looking into identity protection is a must, but with so many companies available, it is tough to know who is best and which package to choose.
LifeLock was founded in 2005 and has been helping to protect people from identity theft for over 10 years. After being in the industry so long, it's no surprise that it won the International Stevie Award for its work with the FBI in 2010. There are many packages available through this company, but we'll be looking at the top-tier LifeLock Ultimate Plus membership to determine if it's worth the money.
- Top Tier Protection: Ultimate Plus is LifeLock's most comprehensive protection, and it includes: monitoring your identity, scanning for threats real time, responding to identity theft, guaranteeing their services for members, and, finally, tracking your credit score.
- Patented LifeLock Identity Alert system: Unlike many of its competitors, LifeLock provides additional services with the LifeLock Ultimate Plus membership including bank account takeover alerts, investment account activity alerts, and credit inquiry alerts.
- Total Service Guarantee: The assistance guarantee for every plan is $1 million, but the LifeLock Ultimate Plus membership offers an additional $1 million for reimbursement, which covers any expense you incur while recovering your identity and any funds you may have lost.
- LifeLock Junior: Criminals are targeting children more often than ever, so it's important to protect your kids. Thankfully, LifeLock allows you to do just this for an additional $5.99 per month per child in addition to any level of LifeLock protection. Other companies, like Identity Guard, charge up to $9.99 per month per child. With this, your child will have the same protection with LifeLock's $1 million total service guarantee.
- Excellent Customer Service: According to Consumer Affairs, LifeLock has excellent customer service. With over 1,000 reviews, the company has a near-five-star rating with their clients stating representatives were helpful, kind, and patient. If there is an issue, you can contact LifeLock agents, available 24/7 for phone and email support.
Overall, LifeLock helps to protect its members using the proactive protection plan and communication with the FBI. You can get alerts by phone, email, or text to verify whether the suspicious activity is fraudulent and potentially stop identity theft before it happens. Customers can feel more at ease if their identity is stolen with LifeLock’s Stolen Funds Reimbursement, which will reimburse members dollar for dollar -- up to $1 million for Ultimate Plus members. This plan is great for anyone who has a high-net-worth or a 401(k) retirement fund.
The LifeLock Ultimate Plus protection costs $29.99 per month or $329.89 annually. With the plan, you’ll also receive benefits such as three yearly credit history reports, monthly credit monitoring, web surveillance (including Black Market surveillance), data breach notifications, address change verification, and so much more.
- Pricier than Other Plans: When it comes to price, $29.99 is higher than many of LifeLock’s competitors. For example, Identity Fraud charges $15.95 and Identity Guard’s top-tier package is $24.99. However, LifeLock’s Ultimate Plus membership offers more for the price. Both Identity Fraud and Identity Guard lack features such as investment account activity alerts and credit inquiry alerts.
- No Computer Protection: If it’s important that you have keyboard encryption software or an anti-virus through your identity theft company, you’ll be disappointed to hear that the Ultimate Plus Package lacks this type of protection.
- No Family Plan: While you can insure your children for an additional $5.99 per month per child, LifeLock doesn’t offer any sort of family plan. If you want to get identity protection for your spouse, they'll have to get a plan of their own. Over time, these add-ons can become quite expensive.
- No Daily Credit Monitoring: Many companies choose to monitor your credit daily through all three major credit reporting bureaus. However, LifeLock does monthly tracking with only one bureau. While monthly may be sufficient for some, daily would give clients a better peace of mind.
- Lawsuit in 2015 (Resolved): In 2015, LifeLock was involved in a lawsuit against the FTC involving deceptive advertising. In December 2015, the company settled for $100 million.
There’s no doubt that LifeLock Ultimate Plus is one of the pricier options available on the market at $29.99, and if you need to help protect the identities of everyone in your family separately, the cost of protection can become quite costly. The lack of computer security is something that can be provided by another company through software, but cyber theft is a major concern for many people. Thankfully, LifeLock does offer web surveillance, but no keyboard encryption software or antivirus is disappointing. Daily credit monitoring is another benefit that other companies provide, but is not included in the LifeLock Ultimate Plus membership. Ultimately, LifeLock has hurt its reputation with the lawsuit against the FTC, which may influence some customers.
Overall, helping to protect your identity is incredibly important. Even with the few features that LifeLock lacks, it offers so much more in alerts and monitoring. These services help protect you from criminals before they have the chance to cause significant damage to your identity. The price of $29.99 per month versus the features included is comparable, and it seems that it's worth the price. In the future, it would be beneficial for LifeLock to offer a family plan and computer encryption software to help further protect their customers.
The lawsuit is another concern for many potential customers, but this isn’t the first company that came back strong after a claim. LifeLock seems to have learned their lesson and is actively working toward providing customers with top-notch care. Forbes reports on the subject by saying, “LifeLock appears to have learned its lesson from the FTC settlement, and is poised to build upon its current base of members.” If you ever do have a problem, you can rest assured that the customer service is there to help you night and day. In the end, $29.99 doesn't seem too high for the services offered in the Life LockUltimate Plus membership.
Disclaimer: No one can prevent all identity theft.