Last Updated on August 21, 2023
The best identity theft protection service for families is Aura – at least, that’s what I use for mine.
After testing all ten of the services on this list (and several others), I know Aura offers the best value.
It provides accurate and comprehensive monitoring, 24/7 access to threat resolution experts, white-glove identity restoration, and insurance that increases with every adult you have on your plan (and you can have up to five adults!).
Plus, Aura comes with a ton of features built for families, like safe gaming monitoring, parental controls, child credit freeze assistance, and a secure family storage vault.
Yet, somehow, Aura is far from the most expensive option I’ve tested. And when you use our discount code, you can lock in a very low rate for life.
Why You Should Get Aura:
- You want the best in threat monitoring and alerts.
- $5 million theft insurance for your (even extended) family appeals to you. (Get Aura’s family plan.)
- 24/7/365 US-based customer care is important to you
- You want to get the most identity theft protection value for what you pay for.
That said, I know the best protection for your family is based on your specific needs. Every family is unique, and what’s good for one doesn’t always work for another.
So, this list offers ten of the best identity theft protection services out there. I’ll walk you through my experience testing them and give you their major pros and cons. Then, I’ll discuss how I picked them. That way, you can decide what’s best for you and yours.
1. Aura – Best Overall
Why We Picked It:
Aura checks all of the boxes – it offers award-winning identity theft and credit monitoring, 24/7 threat resolution, and tons of features that benefit families.
In testing, it found nine unique dark web alerts (plus a few other identity alerts) during an initial scan, and it found them in a matter of minutes. That’s just as many alerts as any other service I’ve tested.
And Aura is watching far more than just the dark web. It offers thorough monitoring that includes everything from your child’s Social Security number to your home and auto title.
Its customer service team is also top-notch. I’ve called three different times (including once after midnight) and always reached a knowledgeable rep in under three minutes.
And Aura offers a wide array of credit and financial tools, including an in-portal Experian credit lock and transaction monitoring, allowing you to keep track of transactions from all your banks at once.
But the real reason Aura is our top pick is because of its family features.
See how it compares to other brands:
With Aura, family plans are exceptionally flexible. While other services limit families to the traditional, two adults plus kids model, Aura allows up to five adults and unlimited children on their family plans. These adults can include college-aged children, parents, in-laws, siblings – whoever you need to protect.
With every adult on your plan, Aura’s insurance coverage also increases by $1 million (up to $5 million total)! This is rare. Many services leave insurance coverage at $1 million regardless of the number of people on the plan.
Aura also offers a full suite of digital security tools that parents and families will use, including:
But in an effort to be fair and transparent, Aura’s interface could be better. It’s easy to use, but it’s far from my favorite. It sort of feels like a social media feed, with an infinite scroll of alerts and activities – not the best format for an identity protection service.
2. Identity Guard – Runner-Up
Why We Picked It:
Identity Guard is one of the oldest and most reputable identity protection services. It’s older than Aura, but they’re part of the same company and share many of their attributes.
For example, Identity Guard and Aura rely on the same expert threat resolution team. Though sadly, Identity Guard doesn’t come with 24/7 access (they offer generous but still limited hours).
Identity Guard also uses the same monitoring systems, making it just as accurate as Aura. However, unless you opt for the top-tier plan, Identity Guard isn’t nearly as comprehensive.
Unfortunately, lower plan tiers are also missing features like white-glove threat resolution, and Identity Guard’s insurance plan stays at $1 million regardless of your family’s size.
That said, Identity Guard does allow for up to five adults on any family plan (just like Aura).
And, if you’re on a very tight budget, you might opt for Identity Guard’s Value plan. As I noted, it doesn’t include many monitoring services or identity restoration, but it does provide dark web monitoring and $1 million in theft insurance for an unbeatably low price.
Plus, Identity Guard’s interface is top-notch. I wonder why Aura didn’t copy it entirely. It’s far easier to navigate.
3. IDShield – Best Identity Restoration
Why We Picked It:
IDShield makes the list because of its unique identity restoration services and stand-out reputation management feature. I wouldn’t mention it if it didn’t have those things because this service also has a few significant flaws.
But let’s start with the positives.
IDShield’s identity restoration services are amongst the best. Since no service can fully protect you from identity theft, having access to a top-notch restoration and threat resolution team is a must.
Most services offer a team of certified experts, but IDShield goes a step further and offers licensed private investigators. They also include an identity restoration guarantee – they’ll get you back to pre-theft status or give you your money back.
IDShield also offers reputation management.
This is a great tool if you’ve been an avid social media user for any length of time. It’s also fantastic if you’re looking for a job or applying to schools.
You connect your social media accounts (everything from Reddit to Instagram), and it scans them for anything that might be offensive. It also shows you all your posts and comments in one place, so reviewing your history is easy. If you don’t like what you see, you can delete posts and pictures directly from IDShield’s dashboard.
These features are cool and make IDShield worth considering. But before you sign up, you should know a few things.
First, the service isn’t as accurate as Aura or IdentityGuard. In my case, it missed one of the threats that Aura found.
It also doesn’t have the same monitoring breadth. It’s missing services like investment accounts and home title monitoring.
Second, its customer service hours are limited, and sadly, you’ll probably need them at some point…
Because IDShield’s sign-up process is very confusing, you must first log in to their parent company, LegalShield. Then, once you’re inside IDShield, you’ll find each aspect of the service opens separately, forcing you to re-enter your credentials each time.
So, unless you’re looking for a job, have a child applying to school, or just love the idea of working with a private investigator, IDShield isn’t my top pick for family protection.
4. IdentityForce – Best Family Features
Why We Picked It:
IdentityForce is a well-known identity theft protection service, and it has a lot to offer. In testing, I found its monitoring was extremely accurate. It found the same alerts Aura did.
However, it’s not quite as comprehensive. It misses specialized areas like home and auto title monitoring.
That’s forgivable, though – especially if you don’t own your home or car. And there are several features that make IdentityForce stand out.
For one, it includes immediate family identity restoration without a family plan. So, if someone in your immediate family becomes a theft victim, IdentityForce will help whether you opt to pay for a family plan or not.
They also offer deceased member identity restoration, which could be a real service to surviving family members should you pass away.
When it comes to families with young children and teens, IdentityForce continues to shine with its ChildWatch tool. This feature monitors social media for signs of bullying, violence, and harassment, helping parents keep track of their kids online.
My only real gripe with IdentityForce is its price structure. They charge significantly more to include credit monitoring with their plans. Granted, they include a few credit tools (like a nifty credit simulator), but most of their credit monitoring capabilities could be mimicked with a free service.
5. LifeLock – Best User Interface
Why We Picked It:
LifeLock is a household name, and most families will consider it for identity protection at some point. I’m going to be very blunt here, though – I’m not a fan of LifeLock.
Still, I’ll admit there are a few big positives to LifeLock’s services.
For example, LifeLock’s insurance coverage is some of the best I’ve ever seen. They offer up to $1 million each in expenses, stolen fund reimbursement, and legal fees – that’s $3 million total PER ADULT.
They’re also one of the few companies to offer insurance coverage for children – over $1 million per child on your plan.
Of course, that’s only with the top-tier plan. Lower plan options include far less than $1 million in coverage, putting them well below the industry average.
LifeLock also offers very comprehensive monitoring, including home title and investment account monitoring. And they have excellent credit tools, like an in-portal TransUnion credit lock.
But LifeLock’s monitoring needs to be more accurate. In testing, it only pulled eight unique dark web alerts – meaning it missed one that other services caught.
LifeLock’s user interface is seamless, and its added features are great. Family plans include Norton Family, which offers fantastic parental control tools.
Still, their customer service could be better. It’s not U.S.-based, and reaching them is notoriously hard. Each time I’ve called, I’ve sat on hold for several minutes before reaching a representative that can only provide vague answers to my questions.
And, unfortunately, LifeLock’s track record isn’t great. They had to settle an FTC lawsuit for making false marketing claims in recent years, and they experienced a major data breach in December 2022 – compromising thousands of active and inactive member accounts.
My biggest issue with LifeLock is that its price increases when you renew your plan. It’s already not the cheapest option, and the renewal price hike makes it unaffordable for most people.
6. Costco Complete ID – Best for Executive Costco Members
Why We Picked It:
Since a significant number of U.S. families are card-carrying Costco members, this service had to make the list.
But I’m going to warn you upfront – while this service has perks, it’s not worth becoming a Costco member to have it, and its pricing needs to make more sense with a regular membership.
Executive members, however, get a real deal here. For them, Costco Complete ID is available at a very low rate.
And it’s not a bad service by any means. The monitoring is accurate. In testing, it found just as many threats as my top pick, Aura.
Plus, it comes with 24/7 access to threat resolution specialists, a digital safety suite (including a VPN and password manager), and a surprisingly detailed “neighborhood watch” feature to monitor sex offenders in your area.
Unfortunately, the interface is annoying – you feel constantly scrolling. And alerts aren’t always actionable. They leave out key details sometimes (like the name of the website that was breached), making it hard to do anything about the supposed threats.
7. Experian IdentityWorks – Best Credit Management Tools
Why We Picked It:
I wouldn’t use Experian IdentityWorks for full identity protection, but I would consider their free credit monitoring tools alongside an identity protection service.
In testing, their monitoring service missed threats. It also misses coverage areas – failing to monitor things like investment accounts, financial transactions, or home titles.
And Experian IdentityWorks doesn’t offer anything in the way of family tools. There are no parental controls, family storage vaults, or other security features.
Plus, Experian IdentityWorks doesn’t allow for much family flexibility – you can include two adults but that’s it. So, if you have college-aged kids or parents you want to protect, this plan doesn’t work.
But, their credit tools are top-notch, including things like 3-bureau credit reports and FICO® Scores each quarter, daily Experian FICO® Scores, a score tracker, an in-portal Experian credit lock, and score monitoring.
Experian IdentityWorks’ free plan comes with a one-time dark web scan, but I wouldn’t rely on it, given our testing experience. And a one-time scan doesn’t equate to continuous monitoring.
So, again, sign-up for Experian IdentityWork’s free plan to get access to their credit tools if you want them, but don’t spend any money on this service.
8. Allstate Identity Protection – Best Funds Reimbursement
Why We Picked It:
Allstate would rival my top identity theft protection service picks – if it was good at finding threats. But, unfortunately, when it came to monitoring, Allstate failed to find anything.
That’s unfortunate because otherwise, this service is pretty great.
The interface is steller, and its top-level plan comes with a large array of family features, including:
Plus, it offers amazing fund reimbursement policies.
With Allstate, you can get up to $1 million in 401(k) reimbursement, $2 million in home title fraud reimbursement, and $1 million in professional fraud expense reimbursement. So, if you’re a victim of essentially any type of fraud, you’re taken care of with Allstate.
9. Zander – Best Budget Pick
Why We Picked It:
Zander might be a good pick if you’re on a tight budget and willing to sacrifice some nicer features. You’re not going to get a pretty interface, and the alerts sometimes miss details (notice in the picture below that there’s no indication of which website was breached), but Zander is good at finding threats overall.
In testing, Zander found just as many dark web threats as Aura – it’s just that the alerts were harder to decipher.
Unfortunately, Zander doesn’t offer much for families in its lowest-level plan. You’re not going to get a VPN, parental controls, or antivirus software.
You do get a VPN and antivirus software with Zander’s top-tier plan. But, at that price point, there are comparable services that offer far more. So, if you’re looking at Zander, I recommend the lowest-level, budget-friendly plan instead.
Before you opt for Zander, though, note that they never include credit monitoring. This is part of their company philosophy – they say you can monitor your credit for free, so it’s not ethical to charge extra for the service.
In some ways, they’re right – you can opt for a free credit monitoring plan (like Experian IdentityWorks’ lowest tier option). But, there are services at comparable price points that include credit monitoring, so I’m doubtful that Zander excludes them in their customer’s best interest.
10. IDX – Most Detailed Alerts
Why We Picked It:
IDX is great in many ways – in testing, it found the same number of alerts as Aura, making it incredibly accurate.
It also offers more detail to its alerts than any other service. If there’s a website breach, it provides every available detail, including the date of the breach, what information was compromised, and how the website believes it happened.
Unfortunately, when it comes to family features, IDX doesn’t offer much. The one thing it includes that parents of kids and teens might like is its social media monitoring.
Sadly, though, the tool is pretty useless. It flags anything that could be violent or sexually explicit – including “killer recipes” and ads from “Dick’s Sporting Goods.” When you get an alert for everything, you might as well get alerts for nothing.
How We Picked The Best Identity Theft Protection Services
When looking for the best identity protection service for you and your family, it’s important to look at a few critical areas. We use these areas to form a rating for each company during testing – you might find them helpful too.
The best identity protection services provide accurate, comprehensive, timely, and actionable monitoring.
If a service misses threats or doesn’t monitor every aspect of your identity and assets, it might not be worth getting.
Sometimes, monitoring services are specialized. High-end options include things like home title and investment account monitoring.
If you don’t have a 401(k) or own your home, these features aren’t that important. But the alternative is also true – if you own a home and have a retirement savings account, monitoring these valuable assets is crucial, and you’ll want a service that offers it.
Alerts should also be timely and actionable. If a service populates old alerts or doesn’t provide enough information for you to act, it’s essentially useless.
Threat Resolution and Insurance
Even the best monitoring services can only partially prevent identity theft. After all, they’re typically catching information already on the dark web.
So, most identity protection services offer threat resolution services. Ideally, these services are available 24/7/365 and are easy to reach. So, if you have a question about a threat, you can get help immediately – no one wants to wait until business hours on Monday to deal with an identity issue.
Theft insurance is also crucial. The average throughout the industry is $1 million to cover expenses, stolen funds, and legal fees. Better services provide more than this, though, often including $1 million per adult on the plan rather than per family.
Most services offer some sort of family plan pricing option. Which service is right for your family will largely depend on who you need to cover.
Most services allow for two adults and five or more children on a family plan, but exceptional options (like Aura and Identity Guard) allow you to include up to five adults. This means you can cover your kids through college and beyond. You can also cover aging parents, siblings – whoever you want.
The best identity theft protection services also include family safety features, like parental controls, child credit freeze assistance, and secure storage vaults.
Ease of Use
Obviously, a service needs to be easy to use. Otherwise, you’re unlikely to use it. Most of the services on this list are easy enough for anyone to use, but some have nicer interfaces than others.
Usually, you get what you pay for in this area. More expensive options tend to have prettier interfaces, but even budget-friendly picks on this list are usable.
Online Privacy Features
Many identity theft protection services also include a series of online privacy features like VPNs, antivirus software, and ad-blockers. These are good to have, but you can also purchase them as standalone products if you prefer.
Finally, the best identity protection service needs to fit your family’s budget. Many family options are in the $30 to $40 per month range, but there are less expensive options available if you need them.
If you can afford the $30 to $40 price point, you need to start looking at value instead of straight cost. Some services offer far more than others.
The Best Identity Protection Service For Your Family Is…
Aura is the best identity protection service for most families. It’s what I use at home, and it’s what I recommend.
As a parent, I love Aura’s family security and privacy features, like its family storage vault, safe gaming, and parental control tools.
I also love its award-winning identity theft and credit monitoring, which I know to be accurate and comprehensive.
Better yet, I love that Aura’s available at an affordable rate with our Family Security Matters discount code.
But that said, choosing the best identity protection service for your family is a very personal decision. Only you know what fits your needs and budget best, and any of the services on this list are better than forgoing protection entirely. So pick one that works for you, and enjoy the peace of mind it brings.