The best ID theft protection services for 2018: protect your right to privacy

Keep your ID secret and safe with one of the best ID theft protection services in the world

TODO alt text

The alarming truth is that ID theft protection is now an incredibly important tool in surviving the modern, digital age. There are people out there ready and willing to steal your identity and use it for all sorts of shady purposes – opening credit cards in your name, buying gift vouchers with your bank account details, and so on. Basically, any kind of monetary scam with your ID as cover.

And, while it shouldn't be the case, the best way of protecting yourself from identity theft, besides being careful with your web browsing and financial information, is to employ the services of an ID theft firm. As you would expect, though, considering the amount of ID theft that happens literally every day, there are a lot of different ID theft protection services to choose from.

We've scoured through all the best ID theft protection services out there and here we present our top picks, detailing what they offer and how much you'll have to pay in return.

We've also supplied some useful information about what you should be looking for when choosing an ID theft protection service.

Best ID theft protection services: how to choose the right one for you

There's no doubt that investing in ID theft protection gives you a better chance of avoiding getting scammed – the question is whether the extra security is worth the money you're paying. Many banks and card companies offer this sort of service for their customers, sometimes free of charge, so check with them first before spending any more money.

Almost all ID theft protection services will combine a variety of features, including checks on your credit score with the big agencies, alerts about suspicious activity on your accounts, and help if something untoward should happen with your data.

On top of that, look for extras like security software for your computer, protection for the other people in your family, and tools to help you analyse your finances and credit details yourself. It's not all that easy to compare one service against another, because they're often configured differently, but decide on the features you want and make sure they're included as part of the package.

Credit scoring and official ID checks vary between the UK and the US, and as a result so do the ID theft prevention services. Here we've provided our three top picks for each country, together with a description of what you can expect from them.

 Best ID theft protection services

Best ID theft protection services

Experian CreditExpert

1. Experian CreditExpert

Help with ID theft and much more

Reasons to buy
+Alerts about suspicious activity+Broader help with your credit score

Like several services in the UK, Experian CreditExpert rolls ID theft protection in with a more general service for making sure you're right up to date with your credit score and keeping it healthy. It's £14.99 a month but you can try it free of charge for 30 days first.

For that you get daily credit reports direct from Experian, dedicated phone support, tips and advice on improving your credit score, and access to your data from whatever device you want to use. It's particularly helpful if you've been turned down for credit in the past.

On the ID theft side, you get alerts about suspicious activity on your credit score which could indicate fraud. You also get web monitoring tools to keep you safe, and dedicated fraud support if you get hit by a scam. If you're in the US, try Experian IdentityWorks.

Best ID theft protection services

Cifas Protective Registration

2. Cifas Protective Registration

Inexpensive but effective monitoring

Reasons to buy
+Makes ID theft much harder+Useful after a mass data leak

Protective Registration from non-profit Cifas is available in the UK, and while its service isn't quite as comprehensive as some others here, it will register your details on a database and much make it harder for other people to impersonate you, all for £20 for two years.

The main difference you'll notice when opening new accounts with companies you haven't dealt with before is there might be a few extra checks (like a phone call) to prove you are who you say you are. That's not much of an inconvenience for a lot of extra peace of mind.

Signing up is quick and easy and won't affect your credit score, so it's well worth thinking about even with those extra hoops. You can also sign up if you suspect your details have already been hacked, as it will help stop them being used to open up any new accounts.

Best ID theft protection services

CheckMyFile

3. CheckMyFile

A host of credit and ID checks

Reasons to buy
+Combines four credit score agencies+Warnings about fraud on your account

Like Experian CreditExpert, CheckMyFile combines credit score checking features with a sprinkle of ID theft protection, and it's one of the most comprehensive services out there. All this comes at a cost though: it's £14.99 a month, though a 30-day free trial is offered.

The service aggregates scores from the UK's four big credit agencies (Callcredit, Crediva, Equifax and Experian), and while you can get some of this data for free, CheckMyFile gives you a clean and clear interface for it all, as well as a review of your credit and payments.

Another reason you might want to stump up the monthly subscription is the extra ID theft features. These are mostly in the form of fraud reports or anomalies that pop up on your credit record, rather than any preemptive measures, but they're still useful for you to have.

Best ID theft protection services

IdentityForce

4. IdentityForce

A host of credit and ID checks

Reasons to buy
+Combines four credit score agencies+Warnings about fraud on your account

Like Experian CreditExpert, CheckMyFile combines credit score checking features with a sprinkle of ID theft protection, and it's one of the most comprehensive services out there. All this comes at a cost though: it's £14.99 a month, though a 30-day free trial is offered.

The service aggregates scores from the UK's four big credit agencies (Callcredit, Crediva, Equifax and Experian), and while you can get some of this data for free, CheckMyFile gives you a clean and clear interface for it all, as well as a review of your credit and payments.

Another reason you might want to stump up the monthly subscription is the extra ID theft features. These are mostly in the form of fraud reports or anomalies that pop up on your credit record, rather than any preemptive measures, but they're still useful for you to have.

Best ID theft protection services

LifeLock

5. LifeLock

ID protection with added tools

Reasons to buy
+Simple but effective ID theft protection+Comes with Norton security software

Giving IdentityForce a run for its (or rather your) money is LifeLock, a service that is backed up with the expertise of security firm Norton and includes checks on credit file activity, suspicious loan applications, and sensitive, leaked information shared on the dark web.

Alongside those extensive checks, the Norton software you get with LifeLock's package covers protection against ransomware, viruses, phishing, spyware and online scams, so the chances of your ID getting stolen are minimised about as much as they possibly can be.

If the worst should happen, LifeLock will reimburse you with up to $1m (depending on your plan) and can provide experts and lawyers to help you repair the damage. What's more, the LifeLock interface is simple and easy to use, and it's another excellent choice.

Best ID theft protection services

IDShield

6. IDShield

One of the biggest in the business

Reasons to buy
+Includes a number of background checks+Will reimburse you up to $5m for ID theft

Few ID theft firms have the history or the reach of US outfit IDShield, which will also pay out a maximum of $5m if you need to get your identity back and recover damages along the way – more of a reassurance if someone really goes to town with your credit cards.

As well as looking for suspicious activity in your financial records, IDShield can also sniff out potential problems on social media, and watch for dark web data trades that include your Social Security Number as well. On top of that you also get 24/7 emergency support.

Where it falls behind its rivals is in the comprehensiveness of the credit score reports it gives you, and you don't get as many extra tools on the software side. However, it undercuts its competitors in terms of price, and the family plan is particularly good value.