Identity Force isn’t at the top of the list of the most well-known identity theft protection agencies, but it certainly has the chops to compete when it comes to both features and pricing. The company has been around for over three decades, though not exactly in its current form, and it seems to have gained some real insight of what customers want during that time.
DEAL ALERT: Identity Force is offering a free trial here. This also includes a discount off the monthly price if you decide to continue.
Plans come in two tiers: UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit. The former costs $17.95 per month or $179.50 per year, while the latter costs $23.95 per month or $239.50 per year. Those prices are on the higher end when compared to rival agencies that often charge around $10 per month at the base tier. UltraSecure+Credit, as the name implies, includes credit reports from the three national credit bureaus. On their own, those reports individually cost around $10 or $12. Identity Force monitors your credit daily, tracks your score monthly, and comes with a credit score simulator.
Other than the credit information, the two tiers are identical. You get all the typical protections: Identity Force will monitor the black market for your personal information to see if it’s being bought or sold or traded anywhere. Activity alerts let you know when someone is making fraudulent purchases with your credit and bank cards, and you can set alerts whenever a charge, withdrawal, or transfer exceeds a certain amount. In case of identity theft, restoration experts will assist you with paperwork and other bureaucracy to cancel and replace cards. You get $1 million of insurance to compensate for any damages as a result of identity theft, which is par for the course.
Identity Force gestures toward some family-related features including a kids’ plan, but it doesn’t have family plans in the same way TrustedID does. You essentially request that another person make their own account, which can be paid for and somewhat managed by the original account holder. You must pay the full price for each additional subscription.
What Identity Force does very well is monitor a wide variety of information without overlooking anything. Driver’s licenses, medical benefits, payday loans, court and sex offender records–everything is monitored and included in a single package. You can add multiple phone numbers and addresses and monitor for address changes so thieves can’t receive your mail.
Each account comes with free Identity Theft Protection Software made by SentryBay, an antivirus software developer. This focuses on keylogging–a type of virus that records whatever you type and sends it to the hacker–and phishing attacks. It is not a full-antivirus program and only tackles these two threats, so don’t toss out your existing antivirus. It is meant to be a supplement, not a replacement.
You can bind both your bank and credit cards to the service as well as the online accounts associated with those cards. For instance, I input my credit card number so it can be monitored, but I also linked my online Chase account. This seems a bit redundant but it essentially puts all of those notifications I would normally get from Chase in one place with all my other accounts. The downside is that it only recognizes well-known banks, so the small credit union I bank with couldn’t be linked. I was still able to input the account and routing numbers in so it can be monitored for abuse, however.
Alerts are sent via email and you optionally set up SMS alerts. An archive of all those alerts also appear under the associated tab on the website. Identity Guard will show you an overall “Risk Level” on a low-medium-high scale. This is a figure invented by Identity Guard and is not an industry-standardized practice, so unless you’re risk appears high then you probably don’t have much to worry about.
The website also has a rolling blog of recent data breaches that may or may not have put your data at risk.
If you bind your online accounts, the dashboard will keep track of your spending each month.
One of the most useful alerts that you’ll likely receive shortly after signing up is the Delete Now Report. This details any public websites that you’re personal information is sitting on. For each website, Identity Force tells you what information is displayed to the world and what other info that site might be selling at a premium. We’ve seen this on other services like Lifelock, but Identity Force goes the extra mile with a simple Delete or Opt Out button. Hitting the Delete button will send a request to the website admin asking that your record be removed. Opt outs require you verify your identity by uploading a photo of your state ID (read: driver’s license). With that verification, Identity Guard can opt out on your behalf, removing your record from the site. These Delete Now reports refresh every two weeks.
Identity Force has the cleanest, most intuitively designed interfaces of any identity theft protection service we’ve reviewed yet. The dashboard is split up into seven tabs. Dashboard is a general overview of your account including recent alerts and card activity. My Services is a checklist of what information you’ve inputted and is actively being monitored. Alerts and Reports is a categorized chronology of any messages you’ve received from Identity Guard. Download is where you can get the anti-keylogging and anti-phishing software. The last three tabs are administrative: account management, resources, and support.
Setup is a painless process but will obviously require you to have a lot of information on hand, like routing numbers and phone numbers. You can always enter this information later.
Other than the ID protection software, Identity Guard is entirely web-based. There is no mobile app and the mobile web version could be optimized a bit better, but it’s usable on a smartphone.
Support comes in the form of phone and email. If you have general questions about the product, you must call on weekdays during work hours. For members, ID restoration experts are on hand 24/7.
The website also includes FAQS, a glossary of terms, and general tips and recommend tools to protect yourself. Several calculators are also available for loan comparison, credit card comparison, auto leasing versus buying, mortgage consolidation, and more.
The dashboard will permanently display a promotion to upgrade the UlraSecure+Credit for those who settled on the basic tier, but otherwise the service is spam free. I received more alerts from Identity Force than any other service tested so far, but they never seemed to be fear-mongering or otherwise inappropriate.
Identity Force is a bit on the expensive side, but it offers very comprehensive protection with a well-designed interface. It doesn’t leave customers wanting by hiding value-added perks on top shelf premium tiers, with the exception of credit reports. The Delete Now reports and extensive monitoring capabilities were definite highlights.