If you’re concerned about data breaches and protecting your identity, you may be considering paying for LifeLock, an identity theft protection service. But before you shell out any money, it’s good to know exactly what you’re purchasing, what exactly LifeLock claims to do and if there are any alternatives out there.
In this article, we’re going to explain what LifeLock offers and whether money expert Clark Howard thinks it is worth the cost.
LifeLock ID Theft Protection: Is It Worth the Cost?
Theft protection services have risen in popularity with the increase in data breaches and cybersecurity incidents over the past several years. LifeLock, based on Tempe, Arizona, is one of the companies reaping the benefits of the increasingly dangerous digital world.
The company not only claims to help consumers before their identity is stolen, they also advertise their services to victims of data breaches.
LifeLock: Table of Contents
- How Much Does LifeLock Cost?
- LifeLock’s Plan & Pricing Comparison
- What is LifeLock With Norton?
- LifeLock’s Troubled Past
- Alternatives to LifeLock
- Final Thought
If you’re thinking about subscribing to LifeLock for identity theft protection and more, here’s what you should know before you sign up.
How Much Does LifeLock Cost?
- $9.99/mo plan: This plan goes up to $14.99 a month after the first year. That makes it $180 a year.
- $19.99/mo plan: This plan goes up to $24.99 a month after the first year. That’s $300 annually.
- $29.99/mo plan: This one costs $34.99 a month after the inaugural year. That’s $420 a year.
3 Plans: LifeLock Price Comparison
||Ultimate Plus Plan
|$25K stolen funds reimbursement||$100K stolen funds reimbursement||$1 million stolen funds reimbursement|
|SSN and credit alerts||SSN and credit alerts||SSN and credit alerts|
|Protection for up to 5 devices||Protection for up to 5 devices||Protection for up to 5 devices|
|Bank & credit card activity alerts||Bank & credit card activity alerts|
|Alerts on crimes in your name||Alerts on crimes in your name|
|Annual credit report/score from 1 bureau||Annual credit bureau reports/scores from 3 bureaus|
|401(K) activity alerts|
|$1M protection package||$1M protection package||$1M protection package|
|Lost Wallet Protection||Lost Wallet Protection||Lost Wallet Protection|
|Dark Web Monitoring||Dark Web Monitoring||Dark Web Monitoring|
|Fictitious ID Monitoring||Fictitious ID Monitoring|
LifeLock offers two refunds in writing: One is a 60-day guarantee if you’re not satisfied with your annual membership when you first sign up. The other is with Norton Security in the case your subscribed computer gets infected with a virus.
What is LifeLock With Norton?
The company advertises a service called LifeLock with Norton. This is one subscription for LifeLock and Norton Security that allows the service to scan your computer and alert you via phone, text or email to any concerns.
The service says that it helps keep your devices free from ransomware, malware and viruses or it will issue you a refund for your Norton subscription.
It’s a fine product but there are free ransomware and virus protection programs for your computer.
LifeLock’s Troubled Past
Although LifeLock sells a suite of products that claim to help you when companies get in trouble, LifeLock itself was in trouble in the past.
The company ran afoul of consumer laws a number of years ago for deceptive advertising and having done, ironically enough, a poor job protecting the info they had on you. They reached a $100 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.
In 2018, Experian reported that a bug exposed the email addresses of LifeLock’s customers. But that was then: It seems LifeLock has righted its ship these days.
Alternatives to LifeLock
Instead of paying LifeLock $180 a year for their most basic plan, Clark says you should save your money by getting a free credit freeze and free credit monitoring.
“Want more meaningful protection from identity theft than LifeLock has to offer? Do a credit freeze,” he says.
Here is a two-step approach to identity theft protection that is absolutely FREE:
- First, sign up for free credit monitoring with Credit Karma or Credit Sesame. The reason you need to do this step first is that you’ll need these free tools to monitor your credit going forward to make sure no one is opening accounts in your name. Don’t pay for credit monitoring!
- Then, freeze your credit with all three main credit reporting agencies: Contact Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to have your credit frozen.
So is LifeLock worth it? Sure, sleeping tight each night knowing our identity is secure is priceless, but the real question is whether LifeLock is worth $180, $300 or $420 a year?
And to that, we’ll have to say no — not when every U.S. consumer is entitled to free credit reports, can freeze their credit for free and can take advantage of free and robust credit-monitoring services elsewhere.
If you have more questions about freezing your credit, contact Clark’s Consumer Action Center — a FREE help line open Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m.–7 p.m. ET and Friday from 10 a.m –4 p.m. ET with volunteers available to answer YOUR concerns! Call Team Clark @ 404-892-8227.
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