LifeLock is the most recognizable identity theft protection company. But does it work, and is it worth the cost? Our LifeLock review has the answers.
You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.
LifeLock is an identity theft protection service that was founded in 2005 and is based in Tempe, Arizona. The company has over 5 million members, and generally receives high marks for its service from nearly all sources.
LifeLock keeps watch on your identity, including your credit, bank accounts, public records, and any personal information that may be showing up where it shouldn’t.
If you’re the victim of identity theft, LifeLock offers a wealth of services to both cover your financial losses, and undo the damage done by the theft. It’s one of the most comprehensive identity theft services available.
LifeLock Low-Cost Monthly Plans
LifeLock has three membership plans with different protections. The more expensive the plan, the more LifeLock keeps track of in terms of your identity.
|Plan||LifeLock Standard||LifeLock Advantage||LifeLock Ultimate Plus|
|Cost||$9.99 monthly, $124.99 annually||$17.99 monthly, $239.99 annually||$23.99 monthly, $339.99 annually|
|Stolen Funds Reimbursement||Stolen funds reimbursement up to $25,000||Stolen funds reimbursement up to $100,000||Stolen funds reimbursement up to $1 million|
|Personal Expense Compensation||Personal expense compensation up to $25,000||Personal expense compensation up to $100,000||Personal expense compensation up to $1 million|
|Coverage for Lawyers and Experts||Up to $1 Million|
Coverage for Lawyers and Experts
|Up to $1 Million|
Coverage for Lawyers and Experts
|Up to $1 Million|
Coverage for Lawyers and Experts
|Alerts||SSN and Credit Alerts||SSN and Credit Alerts|
Bank & Credit Card Activity Alerts
Alerts on Crimes in Your Name
|SSN and Credit Alerts|
Bank & Credit Card Activity Alerts
Alerts on Crimes in Your Name
Annual 3 Bureau Credit Reports + Credit Scores
401(k) & Investment Activity Alerts
LifeLock Standard $9.99 / month
LifeLock Standard membership features include alerts for the following:
- Stolen funds reimbursement up to $25,000
- Personal expense compensation up to $25,000
- Personal info on the dark web
- USPS Address Change Notifications
- Personal info on service and credit applications
- Fake personal information connected to your identity
LifeLock Advantage $17.99 / month
For the additional $10 per month, you can upgrade to the LifeLock Advantage membership, which includes all the above benefits, plus:
- Stolen funds reimbursement up to $100,000
- Personal expense compensation up to $100,000
- Personal info on arrest and court booking records
- Large scale breaches
- Cash withdrawals, transfers and large purchases from your credit, checking and savings accounts
LifeLock Ultimate Plus $23.99 / month
Lifelock’s best service is its Ultimate Plus plan. Everything you see above is included, as well as alerts if any of the following happen:
- Stolen funds reimbursement up to $1 million
- Personal expense compensation up to $1 million
- New bank account applications with your information
- Takeover of bank accounts with your name on them
- Investment or 401k activity
- Personal info on file-sharing networks
- Your name on a sex offender registry
Setup and Registration
LifeLock is easy to set up. You must be at least 18 years old (though you can enroll your minor children), and a U.S. resident.
You start your membership by answering a few questions, with the entire signup process taking only minutes to complete:
- Your first and last name
- Email address
- Physical address
- Date of birth
- Social Security number (which you then confirm)
- Phone number
You will also be required to furnish both a valid driver’s license and a credit card. You will then need to create a unique username and password.
LifeLock Pros and Cons
The service comes with a 60-day money back guarantee. If you are an annual member and request a refund within 60-days after being billed, you are entitled to a complete refund. Otherwise, you are eligible for a pro-rated refund on any unused months through the end of your term
Using LifeLock can eliminate the need to freeze your credit, since it will be monitored and protected on an ongoing basis.
In addition to monitoring your credit, LifeLock also monitors your bank accounts for suspicious activity. This puts an extra set of eyes on your bank accounts, and prevents a thief from obtaining credit in your name.
The Million Dollar Protection Package provides up to $1 million for lawyers and experts on all service plans, and between $25,000 and $1 million for stolen funds reimbursement and personal expense compensation.
LifeLock’s U.S.-based Restoration Department will work on your behalf from start to finish–you’re never alone once your identity has been stolen.
Monthly subscription fees increase after the first year – to $11.99 for LifeLock Standard, $22.99 for LifeLock Advantage, and $34.99 for LifeLock Ultimate Plus.
Full family coverage is expensive. You can add your children for an additional fee, and your spouse must purchase a separate plan.
The Identity Restoration Service is only available during business hours, which is a problem since identity theft can happen at any given time, and the speed of response is always critical.
LifeLock covers individuals only, not businesses.
LifeLock provides its Million Dollar Protection Package to its members on all plan levels. It provides coverage for stolen funds reimbursement and personal expense compensation with the following limits per plan:
- $25,000 for Standard members.
- $100,000 for Advantage members.
- $1 million for Ultimate Plus members.
If necessary, LifeLock will also provide lawyers and experts to help resolve your case, since identity theft can often require substantial legal assistance. LifeLock will pay $1 million for these professional services on each service package.
Disclosure – The credit scores provided are VantageScore 3.0 credit scores based on data from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion respectively. Any one bureau VantageScore mentioned is based on Equifax data only. Third parties use many different types of credit scores and are likely to use a different type of credit score to assess your creditworthiness.
LifeLock functions as identity theft protection and they make clear that they are not a credit repair company. Your credit report and credit score are available on the Advantage and Ultimate Plus plans only (if you have the Standard plan you’ll have to upgrade to gain access).
You can locate your credit score and credit report on the LifeLock website (using the “Credit Score & Report” tab). To access the report and score you will have to log in using your username and password. Your credit score will be available on the mobile app, but the credit report itself will only be accessible on the website.
Your credit score will be based on the VantageScore 3.0 model. It’s not your actual FICO score that banks use, but an educational score that closely parallels it, and is calculated from your actual credit report.
Credit score and report availability depend on the plan level you have, and are as follows:
- Standard plan: Credit monitoring only (no credit report and score) from one bureau (Equifax).
- Advantage plan: Credit monitoring and annual credit report and score from one bureau (Equifax).
- Ultimate Plus plan: Credit monitoring and annual credit reports and scores from all three bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), plus monthly credit score tracking from one bureau (Equifax).
If you do find errors on your credit report, you will need to file a dispute online with the affected credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. LifeLock does not dispute errors on your behalf.
There’s good news and bad news here. If LifeLock detects suspicious activity, you will be alerted by email, phone or text. And if it does turn out to be a legitimate identity theft event, LifeLock does provide remediation.
Events that will trigger an alert include:
- An application for new credit.
- A change in court records, including information reporting you were charged with a crime, you have been a victim of identity theft, or even inaccurate court records.
- Information about you is detected on the Dark Web (hard-to-find websites where personal information is frequently sold by identity thieves).
- U.S. Postal Service change of address verification.
- Bank and credit card alerts.*
- Data breach notifications.*
(*Not available on the Standard plan.)
Unfortunately, not all events will trigger an alert. For example, LifeLock reports certain activities could generate an alert up to 30 days later, which of course will have limited value. These events include:
- Applying for credit, services, or refinancing with the company or bank listed in your alert.
- Making changes to an existing account, or being added as an authorized user on an account with the company or bank listed in your alert.
- Applying for or inquiring about new services, store rewards cards, airline rewards programs, or sweepstakes/drawings with the company or bank listed in your alert.
LifeLock acknowledges that though there are a large number of companies in their network, the network does not cover all transactions. As well, not all merchants participate, and an application may occasionally be submitted that does not appear in the network.
If an event does turn out to be fraudulent, the process is as follows:
- You must first notify the financial institution where the event took place, then
- contact LifeLock Member Services Department.
The LifeLock Silver Lining
If you experience identity theft as a result of activity that is reported on a delayed basis, or not reported at all, you will still be eligible for the Million Dollar Protection Package, including the Service Guarantee to provide experts and lawyers, as well as the Restoration Department to work on your behalf.
When you do receive an alert, you will be given the option to select either “YES, this was me” or “NO, this was not me.” If you select NO, LifeLock will review the situation and you will then receive a follow-up notification by either phone or email.
LifeLock does advise that you may also receive multiple alerts for the same event, due to the fact that the information may be reported to two or three major credit bureaus. Each report will trigger an alert, although each will be in reference to the same event.
LifeLock’s Mobile App is free for iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded through the App Store and Google Play. With the mobile app, you can receive alerts and notifications directly to your mobile device, providing you with the fastest alerts possible.
Alerts come by push notification, and you’ll be able to respond to them immediately. If you confirm an activity to be suspicious, Identity Protection Agents will be available to help you.
You can use LifeLock Mobile App’s in-app messaging service or calling feature to get in touch with Member Services.
Once again, you can access your credit score from the mobile app, but not your credit report.
(Note: Mobile Alerts are not encrypted. You must take steps to protect your email and mobile devices to safeguard against unauthorized access.)
There are two ways to contact LifeLock. The LifeLock Member Portal provides self-service options, where you can get quick answers to general questions.
You can also contact LifeLock by phone at 1-800-LifeLock (1-800-4543-3562). Phone contact is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you do become the victim of identity theft, LifeLock provides a Restoration Department to help guide you through the process and make sure you aren’t having to face the crisis alone.
This service is much more affordable for either an individual or a family. They charge $14.99 per month for an individual and $27.99 per month for a family plan. However, the overall level of service is not as comprehensive as LifeLock’s.
This service works in a similar fashion to LifeLock, but it tends to be more expensive. They charge $17.95 per month for their UltraSecure plan, but it’s per person and can be expensive for a family. Also, they charge an extra $6 per month for their credit monitoring service, which LifeLock offers as part of the program.
This service doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles that LifeLock does. But it does provide monthly monitoring of your credit report and credit scores for two bureaus (TransUnion and Equifax), absolutely free. In fact, you don’t even need to put a credit card “on file” the way you must with so many other “free” credit score providers. It’s a good mid-level service for anyone whose budget doesn’t accommodate a paid service.
Credit Karma isn’t an identity protection service, but it does send special notifications. I use the service, and it alerted me that a password I commonly use turned up on the Dark Web. Needless to say, I no longer use common passwords and have made those that I do use much more complicated. It was all the result of a simple email notification by a free service.
Learn More: LifeLock Alternatives
What Others are Saying About LifeLock
To provide a more complete picture of the LifeLock program, we’re including short summaries of reviews from other respected websites.
Consumer Affairs indicates 2,178 consumer reviews and complaints. However, they give the service 4 stars out of 5, based on 813 ratings submitted in the last year. They don’t do a full review on the product but instead rely on the reviews provided by actual users.
PCMag emphasizes the inherent limits of all identity theft protection services. They cite the primary benefits as notifying you of a threat and then providing recovery services. They also note that LifeLock enables you to deal with an identity theft situation without having to go it alone. But like other reviews, they confirm it’s not the least expensive service and is particularly cost-prohibitive for families.
PCMag also issues a general caution that all identity theft protection services serve as databases for large amounts of your personal information. They warn–and ironically–that they represent yet another potential data breach if the service’s information is ever hacked.
Learn More: Best Identity Theft Protection Services
The Bottom Line on LifeLock
To its credit, LifeLock makes clear throughout its fine print that “no one can prevent all identity theft.” You wouldn’t necessarily get that impression from their marketing, but they do mention it several times on the site and in the terms and conditions.
The identity theft protection offered by LifeLock is as comprehensive as it can be, short of providing 100% security. But the real strength of the service is what happens when you become a victim of identity theft. They offer their Restoration Department to work with you through the entire process, so you’re never facing the problem alone. They also offer up to between $25,000 and $1 million for stolen funds reimbursement and personal expense compensation.
The major downside is cost. LifeLock Ultimate Plus provides the most comprehensive protection at $23.99 per month, but it it will cost more if you plan to add your spouse or child to the plan. The Family Plan will bring the total cost of coverage for a family of four to about $80 per month (at the renewal rate). Is it worth the cost?
In addition, the price packages quoted are good for only one year. After that, they’re set to increase by between $3 and $5 per month per plan.
Of course, it has to be considered that LifeLock is a multi-level service. It not only provides identity theft notification and resolution, but also credit monitoring. On balance, LifeLock is an excellent service, but it can be costly.