About 7% of U.S. residents over the age of 16 were victims of identity theft in 2014, according to a report published in September 2015 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Over half of the victims were able to resolve issues within a day or less. However, victims that took longer to recover their identity were more likely to experience problems with work, relationship stress and emotional distress than those who could fix the problem quickly.
The purpose of services like IdentityForce is to catch identity theft fast so you can resolve issues right away and utilize services such as identity restoration to minimize the hassle of reclaiming your identity from scam artists.
IdentityForce Services at a Glance
The IdentityForce product comes with identity monitoring of public and court records. It also monitors for change of address requests, sex offender listings and payday loans in your name. You’ll get alerted if there’s any unusual activity with your personal information or strange transactions on your credit card or bank accounts.
If your identity is compromised you get one-on-one, 24/7 support from Certified Protection Experts and $1 million in an insurance policy to cover the cost of repairing your identity. This insurance is for the purpose of helping you recover your identity. The $1 million insurance does not cover $1 million in stolen funds.
IdentityForce offers two plans:
The base plan (UltraSecure) has everything discussed above (identity monitoring, alerts, restoration and insurance), but it excludes credit monitoring.
The IdentityForce premium plan (UltraSecure + Credit) gives you the extra benefit of daily 3-bureau credit monitoring along with credit scores and reports from all 3 credit bureaus.
Out of all the service features where IdentityForce shines is the restoration service because technically you can take care of everything else on your own or use a free tool. You can check public records for your own personal information. You can set up alerts with your bank or credit card company to notify you of excess spending or withdrawals.
You can also use a site like Credit Karma to monitor your credit reports for unusual activity and set alerts if there are changes to your accounts.
But, what’s more challenging to do by yourself is taking care of the problems that arise after your identity is stolen. If you sign over power of attorney to IdentityForce when your identity is stolen a specialist will make all the calls on your behalf to recover your identity.
Child Watch and Medical Identity Theft Protection
IdentityForce offers Child Watch and Medical Identity Theft Protection as service add-ons.
Once you subscribe you can add your children to the Child Watch program. This extra feature will notify you if there’s suspicious activity under your child’s name. Child Watch is also included in the $1 million insurance policy and restoration service.
Medical identity fraud happens when someone uses your insurance and personal information to get medical care without paying. Then medical bills you’re completely unaware of show up on your delinquent accounts and impact your credit. IdentityForce will monitor your medical accounts and medical insurance to stay on top of fraud.
IdentityForce Transparency Level
Overall the IdentityForce service is transparent with its terms and how the service works. In small print on the Family Identity Theft Protection page, IdentityForce mentions no one (or service in this case) can prevent all identity theft. It’s true.
If you purchase a service like this the purpose is to catch identity theft early so you can nip it in the bud. You can’t eliminate your chances of experiencing fraud entirely.
IdentityForce is also transparent about what the insurance policy does and doesn’t cover. This is a plus because you don’t want to sign up for a service and then get an unpleasant surprise when you need to submit a claim.
In a nutshell, the insurance will cover the costs of reinstating your identity if you’re found to be a confirmed victim of identity theft. According to the terms, getting a purse, wallet or sensitive documents stolen does not automatically mean you’re a confirmed victim.
After money is stolen from your bank account or other fraud activity occurs, you’re then considered a confirmed victim and qualified for coverage. The insurance plan covers reasonable and necessary costs like long-distance calls, loan re-application fees and the cost of up to 6 credit reports while resolving identity theft.
You’ll also get coverage for lost wages if you have to take off from work. Another benefit of insurance coverage is it’ll cover legal and defense fees for charges brought against you as a result of identity theft if you choose an attorney that’s approved by IdentityForce.
The Cost of IdentityForce
The UltraSecure Plan costs $17.95 per month or $179.50 per year: This is the basic plan including monitoring of public records and activity alerts. Also comes with restoration services and the $1 million insurance policy.
The UltraSecure+ Credit Plan costs $23.95 per month or $239.50 per year: This plan includes everything from the UltraSecure Plan plus daily credit monitoring. You’ll get credit reports and scores from all 3 credit bureaus. There’s a monthly score tracker and a credit score simulator.
Other Identity Theft Protection Alternatives
Zander is another identity protection service that offers similar features as IdentityForce without the credit monitoring aspect although you get free credit reports.
Identity monitoring, fraud alerts and identity restoration is included in the service. You’ll also get reimbursed up to $1 million of expenses caused by identity theft. Zander is $6.75 per month for individuals (or $75 per year) and $12.90 per month for families (or $145 per year).
TrustedID offers 3-bureau credit monitoring, credit reports and credit scores. It has fraud alerts, medical benefits protections, protection support specialists and $1 million of identity theft insurance. The plan for individuals costs $14.17 per month billed in one installment of $170 per year. For families it costs $25 per month billed in one installment of $300 per year.
Is IdentityForce Worth the Cost?
Comparing costs of IdentityForce against both Zander and TrustedID, IdentityForce is slightly more expensive.
If you were to pick between Zander and IdentityForce (since both offer restoration services), Zander gives you a comparable service for less money. And you can always solve the problem of Zander not having credit monitoring by coupling it with another free service (i.e. Credit Karma).
Ultimately, before checking out any identity protection product you should think about whether you can do monitoring on your own and avoid the cost entirely. For pros and cons of using an identity theft protection service check out this post.