It seems like everywhere we go, fraud follows. As our technology evolves, we are exposed to even more risk than ever before. Hackers and other scammers are getting smarter while the security measures set in place to protect our identities gets weaker and weaker. So, how can you protect yourself against fraudulent activity or reduce the risk of exposing your identity to black market hackers and scammers? We automatically think of LifeLock, but is it enough or let alone worth it? Our LifeLock review reveals it all, the good and the ugly side.
Before signing up for a service such as LifeLock, it is important to note and understand what you are paying for so there are no surprises later on. LifeLock is a premium identity theft protection service. In other words, you are paying LifeLock a monthly fee to protect and monitor your identity from hackers and various other scammers. With an exception of a few things, an individual with some basic computer skills can do this on their own for free.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH LIFELOCK
Three years ago, I was unfortunate enough to lose my wallet somewhere in the parking lot while I was loading groceries in my car (or somewhere in between going from the cash register to my car). The BJs store was updating their security camera system and the cameras did not work that day. I tried retracing my steps but was unable to find my wallet. At this point, I figured someone had to pick it up. Let me tell you, it was one of the most stressful events in my life, knowing someone has all of my documents I kept in my wallet.
Anyways, I advised both my bank and credit card company of the issue. Since I had some other important documents in my wallet that someone could easily use to steal my identity, the American Express customer service representative actually recommend me to LifeLock. That is when I signed up for LifeLock. After a two solid years of using their identity theft protection service, I finally decided to cancel them as no fraudulent activity took place.
If I was ever in a situation like this, I would probably still use LifeLock, mainly because of their one million dollar guarantee. However, I could probably do a lot of these things from my home computer (monitor my own credit report, look for fraudulent credit card transactions, reduce pre-approved credit card offers, etc.).
LIFELOCK REVIEW – IS LIFELOCK A SCAM?
As I mentioned in the introduction, it is important to understand that LifeLock provides protection against identity theft. It is not a credit monitoring service. As with any other service, I am sure there are dissatisfied customers, some might even call LifeLock a scam.
While I know LifeLock is not a scam, I do believe that things can slip through the cracks unnoticed. Even the Better Business Bureau website gives LifeLock an A+ rating – this shows that the company makes an effort to resolve customer complaints.
If you lose your wallet, think someone is using your identity or experience a similar event, I would recommend taking a look at LifeLock. If you do not have a reason for needing LifeLock or simply believe you can do the monitoring on your own, I would not recommend this service.
LIFELOCK REVIEW – 4 PROS OF LIFELOCK
Here is what I found to be the pros of using this identity theft protection service:
1) LIFELOCK IS CHEAP:
Identity theft protection plans range from $9.99/month to $29.99/month (you can receive a 10% discount by clicking here). Plan features vary, so it is important to review the options under each plan.
For example, as you upgrade between plans, you will receive additional features such as court screening, data breach notifications, credit card and banking alerts, free annual credit report and credit inquiry alerts. If you need added features, similar to the ones listed above, you will most likely have to go with a more expensive plan.
2) LIFELOCK HAS ENHANCED SECURITY FEATURES:
Basic features include:
- Protection against lost and stolen wallets
- Address change verification
- Black market website surveillance
- Reduced pre-approved credit card offers
- One million dollar service guarantee
- Identity restoration
- Fraudulent activity alerts are sent via email, text and phone
- Customer support that is available around the clock
If you need additional protection, upgrading to the next plan tier will do the trick.
3) A+ RATING WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU:
The Better Business Bureau handles escalated complaints for online services. I use them as a helpful resource when I am undecided about making a purchase online. Basically, BBB grades the company and enables you to read all customer complaints and what action the company took to try and resolve the issue.
As of today, the Better Business Bureau gave an A+ rating to LifeLock. This does not mean that LifeLock is perfect, it just means that they always make an attempts to resolve customer complaints.
4) LIFELOCK PROVIDES GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE:
Hackers and other scammers are not going to sit around and wait for you to wake up so they can take your identity. Everything is done so fast, so you do not have time to react or even notice the activity.
Due to the nature of a service like this, customer assistance and support has to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Thankfully, LifeLock has a structured customer support team that is always available. When not on the phone, their team is busy researching and scanning for fraudulent activity for thousands of members. Oh yeah, calls are answered almost immediately.
LIFELOCK REVIEW – 3 CONS OF LIFELOCK
Here is what I found to be the cons of using this service:
1) I CAN DO MOST OF THIS ON MY OWN:
Most of the protection that LifeLock provides can be done by a dedicated do-it-yourselfer – expect for the one million dollar service guarantee. However, it is important to factor in the time spent and hassle of doing it on your own compared to paying someone to do it for you.
Like I said above, losing your wallet and having your identity stolen is a stressful event and difficult to deal with. I found things to be a little easier when there is someone backing you up, while starting to the restoration process.
2) LIFELOCK DOES NOT OFFER A FAMILY PLAN:
I found this to be the biggest downside of using LifeLock. The company is only offering individual plans. This means that you would have to purchase a separate plan for each additional member of your household/family. When you do the math, this can get expensive. But, what are the chances of someone stealing the identity from your entire family?
3) LIFELOCK SLOWS DOWN CREDIT APPROVALS:
Considering that you are going to opt in for credit alerts, this is going to slow down the process for obtaining future credit. Enabling credit alerts adds an extra layer of protection, making you jump through additional hoops.
On the plus side, this makes it harder for identity thieves to obtain new credit using your information.
If LifeLock does not fit your needs, these LifeLock alternatives are worth a look. While I personally never used any of the alternatives below, I have heard that both are very competitive and just as good as LifeLock.
In terms of protection and pricing, Identity Guard is very similar to LifeLock. However, Identity Guard goes above and beyond by providing you with antivirus software and keyboard encryption software for your computers on the more expensive plans.
Other than that, I would say the two services are almost identical. If you are debating on LifeLock vs Identity Guard, it will likely come down to personal preference.
Identity Force is a bit more expensive when compared to LifeLock and Identity Guard. Their cheapest plan starts at $17.95/month. The protection features are about the same.
The only differentiating area that Identity Guard offers is the ability to protect your children with your plan for an extra fee (I believe it is an extra $2.75/month per child).
LIFELOCK REVIEW – IS LIFELOCK WORTH JOINING?
Whether you want to join LifeLock or not will depend on your particular situation and needs. If you do not mind paying for an identity theft protection service, LifeLock is going to be the best option.
Now, if you are going to invest a lot of time and try to do this on your own, I would not recommend joining LifeLock as it will not be worth it for you.
Personally, I rather be safe than sorry. Identity and credit restoration does not happen overnight, it can take years to get back on track. Either invest in LifeLock or start monitoring your own activity, simply as that.