We’ve all heard about a new service and thought to ourselves, “That’s interesting, but I have no idea if it’s truly useful or not.” We’ll help with that problem in our comprehensive reviews that cover specific digital services, how they work, and if they’re worth it.
Today, we’re tackling the identity theft prevention service called LifeLock.
LifeLock has been around for a while – but what does it offer today’s complex data world, and can you trust it? Here’s our review.
LifeLock is essentially an identity monitoring service. The same way an alarm system monitoring company watches your home security and contacts authorities if necessary, LifeLock looks at your personal and financial information and watches for signs that someone is stealing or using it.
They also offer insurance options, some credit management services, and a few other additional services for more precise protection. All of this is managed through an app that you can download on a variety of devices (or sign in with the web interface).
While what you actually get varies by plan (we’ll explore that below), standard features for a LifeLock policy include:
- An assigned case handler if your identity is compromised, who will contact all the necessary credit bureaus, etc. and deal with the fallout for you.
- Up to $1 million in insurance for damages suffered because of identity theft.
- Lost wallet plans so you can get credit cards, drivers licenses, etc. replaced quickly.
- Reduces “pre-approval” credit card marketing and other annoying spam.
- Easy opt-outs for online sites that may be using your information.
- Monitors your personal data like SSNs, name, address, date of birth, and so on, to see if it’s being used suspiciously online,
- Address change verification.
- 24/7 support.
More advanced services are a bit esoteric but can help people in specific situations. These higher tier services include things like:
- Monitors arrest records to see if you’re in danger of being confused with someone else with a criminal record.
- Monitors large company data breaches to see if they may have exposed your data.
- Monitors bank accounts and investment accounts to watch for suspicious activity.
- Monitors social media to see if someone else is using your name or other personal information.
As you can see, the core services are useful if you have a complicated financial situation with quite a few different accounts, and you want to hand off the chore of policing all of your information to better safeguard your identity and private data.
The sort of identity theft LifeLock is best at protecting against is relatively rare (it doesn’t protect against malware and hacking, either), and many of these services are already offered by banks and other financial management apps.
LifeLock User Interface
LifeLock is set up a bit like an email client, except you only receive emails and notifications about monitoring or ongoing cases. It’s nothing fancy, but it does get the job done, and navigation is easy. If you’ve used antivirus software in the past, the interface bears some resemblance to that software as well (although, again LifeLock doesn’t protect against viruses).
Pricing and Plans
LifeLock offers three different plan tiers.
- The first standard plan includes only basic services and stolen fund coverage up to $25,000 and costs just $10 a month (with a discount for purchasing by the year).
- The second tier costs $20 per month, but ups the policy coverage to $100,000 and adds in extra monitoring and alerts.
- The third tier costs $30 per month, but includes all possible monitoring, and $1 million coverage for not only lawyers and experts but also for stolen funds reimbursement and personal expense compensation.
LifeLock doesn’t have a lot of competitors when it comes to the breadth of services they offer, but some other identity theft protection companies have become more popular in recent years. That includes IDShield, which offers similar services and licensed private investigators, as well as Identity Guard (which kicks in some native anti-phishing software) and IdentityForce (a lighter and cheaper option).
Privacy and Integrity
When it comes to online services like this, we also like to look at their privacy policies to recognize any red flags. And since LifeLock needs to get involved in essentially all of your sensitive information to work, privacy is even more of an important consideration. Unfortunately, the company has a poor track record here.
In 2010, LifeLock paid $11 million dollars in fees to the FTC for false advertising about their data security claims and inadequate data protection. In 2015, they had to pay $100 million to consumers for contempt charges after violating the same deceptive advertising laws again. Although that was half a decade ago. The company has seemingly changed its ways, and its integration into Norton Antivirus may help with other shortcomings. In 2020, we think LifeLock is certainly worth a try.
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