IdentityForce offers identity theft protection that can alert you to potential trouble and cybersafety features designed to help prevent problems.
The most basic package offers services such as tracking your Social Security number for associations with new names, monitoring social media for damaging posts and giving you access to a virtual private network for safe Wi-Fi use in public. It also provides assistance with recovery from identity theft and alerts you to rogue apps or spoofed networks on your mobile phone.
However, IdentityForce and other identity theft protection plans cannot completely eliminate your risks. Alerts tell you about intrusions after they have occurred, which can be valuable in addressing the problem early, but prevention is better. You can do a lot to protect yourself simply by freezing your credit, which effectively keeps fraudsters from opening accounts using your personal information.
If you want protection beyond freezing your credit and other free steps you can take, you might decide that paying for a protection service is worth the cost.
What IdentityForce does and what it costs
IdentityForce offers two levels of service. Its UltraSecure+Credit package, the most comprehensive, includes features such as:
Credit monitoring at the three major credit-reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Quarterly access to your Vantage 3.0 credit scores from all three credit bureaus.
Alerts about applications for credit in your name.
Notification if you are at higher risk of identity theft because of a data breach.
$1 million worth of insurance to cover expenses and lost wages if you suffer identity theft.
Change of address monitoring.
Dark web monitoring and analysis.
Social media monitoring.
Social Security number tracking.
Sex offender monitoring.
Mobile phone threat detection.
A lower-tier service, UltraSecure, doesn't include the credit features. A comparison of features is available on the website.
UltraSecure+Credit costs about $24 per month or $240 per year. The lower-tier service, UltraSecure, costs about $18 per month or $180 per year.
A spokesman for the company says promotional pricing is often available. At publication, going to the site through an ad when doing an online search brought up an offer of about $16 per month or $160 a year for a single membership for UltraSecure+Credit. A family membership was offered at $32 per month, or $320 per year and included monitoring for two adults and an unlimited number of children. The same pricing could be found in a "flash deal" by searching the site for "family plan."
Is IdentityForce worth the price?
When considering identity theft protection plans, weigh the risks and rewards against steps you're willing to take to protect yourself. You may find IdentityForce worth the cost if:
You were already in the market for Social Security number, social media and health insurance fraud monitoring.
You are unwilling to freeze your credit (some of the credit services aren't needed if your credit report is frozen).
You want mail-forwarding notification services.
You want identity theft insurance (it reimburses for lost money and lost wages).
You don't already have access to free identity theft protection and can easily afford it.
No protection service is likely to be a perfect fit. Here are some pros and cons:
Several of the tracking and threat detection features would be hard to replicate on your own, such as discovering whether your Social Security number has been linked with a different name, or whether someone has used your name on their court or sex offender documents.
It includes medical fraud detection, which is a notable feature not available in most competitors. Medical ID theft can lead to your medical records being mixed with someone else’s.
Credit restoration services can help you with — or take off your plate — much of the reporting, copying and mailing that can be associated with identity theft recovery.
Assuming you find a discount, it is very competitively priced.
Some of the services offered are available for free or unlikely to be needed (credit score simulator and assistance with a credit freeze or dispute, for example).
If you’re signing up to get the VPN or mobile device protection, you don't get to choose the type you get.
The website can be difficult to navigate, though it has a great deal of information.
Pricing varies significantly between what is offered on the website’s home page and what you can get with a discount. That makes price comparisons with competitors difficult as well.
As with many purchases, additional features with identity theft protection may be "shiny objects" you weren't even aware of when you began shopping but suddenly want. Before purchasing, decide whether you need the feature, if there's a cost-free way to accomplish the same thing and whether you’d rather pay for the convenience of having it in one package.
How to make yourself a smaller target for ID theft
It’s important to remember that no identity theft protection program can replace personal vigilance. Good cybersecurity hygiene can go a long way toward reducing the chances that your information will fall into the wrong hands and increasing the chances that you’ll catch it quickly if it happens.
You can reduce your risk of identity theft by:
Freezing your credit and your children’s credit.
Checking bank and credit card statements monthly, and setting text or email alerts about card use or bank activity.
Reviewing credit reports from all three major credit bureaus at least annually.
Carefully checking health insurance explanations of benefits.
Using unique passwords and safeguarding identifying information, such as Social Security number and insurance information.
Being careful about the information you post on social media, including any information that may be used to confirm your identity and reset passwords.