Why and When Do You Need Identity Theft Protection Service?
In today’s state of cybersecurity, a comprehensive identity theft protection service is a must have for every small business owner.
While it’s easy to think that something like identity theft won’t happen to you, the unfortunate reality is that we are all at constant risk, especially entrepreneurs and business owners.
In 2020, WPBeginner founder Syed Balkhi, nearly lost $1.4 million dollars due to a digital fraud. After months of stress and countless hours spent, he recovered $1.3 million with the help of Department of Homeland Security.
But all of that could have been prevented if everyone involved was using a comprehensive online security solution.
Identity theft and financial fraud can be devastating for a small business. Hackers and criminals can use your identity to steal your website domain, steal money from your bank account, and even commit crime in your name that you could be held responsible for.
A proper financial fraud and identity theft protection service helps protect you through:
- Dark Web Monitoring – they constantly monitor the dark web using artificial intelligence and alert you if your passwords, social security number, and bank accounts have been compromised.
- Credit Monitoring – they monitor and alert you in near-real time about new inquiries on your credit file such as new credit cards or bank loans, so you can take action on any suspicious activity.
- Bank Account Monitoring – their algorithms monitor your finances for suspicious spending activity, so you can avoid becoming a victim of bank / credit card fraud.
- Identity Theft Insurance – most good companies will offer up to $1 million dollar in identity theft insurance to protect small business owners.
- Device & WiFi Security – some identity theft protection services also offer secure browsing apps such as private VPN with encryption and antivirus software to help protect your digital footprint.
- Secure Password Management – since passwords are the key to everything, some identity theft software also offer password management service, so you can use a secure password for everything without having to memorize anything.
- Fraud Resolution Service – most good identity theft protection services offer white-glove fraud resolution service. These are trained professionals who can help you recover your identity and assets in the unfortunate event if you’re a victim of online fraud.
Whether you are running an online store or a small business website, it’s important that you get an identity theft protection service to help protect you, your family, and your business.
That being said, let’s take a look at the top identity theft protection services for small business owners & entrepreneur families.
Aura is the best identity theft protection service in terms of features and ease of use. They offer an all-in-one digital and financial security platform with quick setup and reasonable pricing. It comes with a simple web-based admin panel which makes it easy for small business owners to manage their identity protection, financial protection, and device protection from one single app.
Aura’s identity theft protection for small businesses includes all the powerful features like dark web monitoring (powered by artificial intelligence), identity verification monitoring, personal information and social security number (SSN) monitoring, criminal and court records monitoring.
In our experience, their online account monitoring feature is really robust. It constantly scans the dark web sites and data broker lists to flag any account or password that’s been compromised. As soon as we set up our account, Aura found a few dozen of our online account passwords that were compromised (ouch!!). With all the recent security breaches happening at big name companies like Facebook, Target, Marriott, LinkedIn, and others, this feature alone is a must have.
But as a small business owner, the biggest value for us is their financial fraud protection features which include three-bureau credit monitoring service, monthly credit score monitoring, ability to easily lock your credit profile, financial transaction monitoring, bank account monitoring, 401k & investment account monitoring, near real-time identity fraud alerts, and more.
They monitor your social security number and personal information for bank fraud including unauthorized wire transfers, new bank account openings and more. Their financial account monitoring also immediately flags any suspicious transactions or fraudulent activity in near real-time.
For peace of mind, you also get a $1 million dollar identity theft insurance policy to cover eligible losses and any fees due to identity theft. Their white-glove fraud resolution team is U.S. based, and they work 24/7 to help you recover your identity and assets if you’re a victim of fraud.
Pricing for Aura’s identity theft protection service starts from $9 per month for the Individual plan. Their Family / Group plan costs $25 per month, but it offers maximum protection through their comprehensive digital security features. These are special pricing for WPBeginner readers and let you save up to 50% off.
Note: We use Aura on WPBeginner as our identity theft protection service. In our experience, Aura is the best identity theft protection and monitoring service in the market from both features and pricing point of view.
As a small business, our favorite feature aside from their comprehensive identity monitoring service is their smart Device and WiFi network protection software that works on both Windows and Mac computers as well as iPhone and Android smartphones. Their free VPN (virtual private network) secures your internet connection with military-grade encryption wherever you are. This is great for when you’re traveling or connecting from a public place like Starbucks, so you can shop, bank, and work online safely and privately.
Aside from VPN, their app also has a built-in Antivirus and other A.I. based security features that automatically block malware, ransomware, trojans, and other viruses, so we can stay safe. Their safe browsing feature helps block millions of malicious sites each day, so we can be protected from phishing and scam sites.
Aura is the official digital security provider for NBA basketball team Minnesota Timberwolves, and it’s used by many other well-known companies.
Expert Review: We believe Aura is the best overall identity theft protection service for small businesses with affordable individual and family plans.
2. Identity Guard
Identity Guard is another popular identity theft protection service for individuals and families, as well as companies of all sizes. They offer one of the most feature-rich small business identity theft service on the market.
Their identity protection platform includes all the standard functionality you would need in their Value plan including data breach notifications, dark web monitoring (powered by IBM Watson AI), risk management report, high risk transaction monitoring, safe browsing tools, and $1 million identity theft insurance.
Their Total and Ultra plans include credit protection features as well such as bank account monitoring, credit & debit card monitoring, 401k & investment monitoring, address change monitoring, social media monitoring reports, monthly credit score report, 3-bureau credit monitoring, and 3-bureau annual credit reports.
Identity Guard pricing starts at $7.50 per month for Individual plans and goes up to $25 per month for the Ultra plan. As an entrepreneur, you can also purchase their family plan which starts at $12.50 per month.
As a small business owner (employer), you can also purchase identity theft protection services for your team members and make it part of your overall employee benefits package.
In our research, we found that Identity Guard is a very affordable identity protection service that also include premium credit monitoring protection on their higher plans.
However, they currently do not offer Device and Networking protection services like Aura does such as free VPN, antivirus, or a secure password manager.
Expert Review: Identity Guard is the best identity protection service for individual and families on a budget.
3. LifeLock with Norton 360
Norton is one of the most well-known internet security companies in the world. In 2017, they acquired the popular American identity theft protection company, LifeLock, to offer a comprehensive all-in-one digital security solution for individuals, families, and small business owners.
Norton 360 with LifeLock features include all the standard identity protection features like dark web monitoring, credit monitoring (across 3 bureaus), SSN & credit alerts, ID verification monitoring, data breach notifications, fictitious identity monitoring, ability to lock your identity, suspicious bank & credit card activity alerts, 401k & investment account monitoring, and more.
Depending on the plan you choose, you will get anywhere from $25,000 to $1 million dollar in identity theft protection insurance that will help you cover any expenses you incur or money stolen as a result of identity theft. They will also provide lawyers and experts if needed to help you resolve any identity theft case.
Along with the identity theft and credit monitoring, you’ll get the Norton AntiVirus and online threat protection software that includes smart firewall, cloud backup, parental controls, privacy monitor, and a secure VPN service.
Norton360 with LifeLock select plan starts at $9.99 per month whereas the Ultimate Plus plan costs $29.99 per month.
You could also purchase LifeLock as a standalone identity theft protection service, but it will cost $8.99 per month and will not include any of the advanced device security features that Norton offers.
In our research, we found that while Norton’s identity theft protection and credit monitoring features are excellent, their Antivirus security software slows down your computer. Recently, they were also involved in a controversy where the AntiVirus software was mining cryptocurrencies on user’s computer.
Expert Review: If you’re already a Norton customer, then LifeLock is the best identity theft protection service for you because it can be added with Norton360 at a small premium. It’s slightly more expensive than Aura’s complete identity theft protection and digital security suite.
IdentityForce is an identity protection service by TransUnion, one of the 3 major credit bureaus in the United States. They are among the top rated ID theft protection service on TrustPilot.
Since TransUnion is a major credit bureau, they have advanced credit monitoring and identity theft service solution for consumers, small business owners, as well as large enterprise and government agencies.
Their standard UltraSecure plan starts at $14.99 per month and include all the advanced identity protection features you need such as smart SSN tracker, bank and credit card activity alerts, dark web monitoring, pay day loan monitoring, social media identity monitoring, medical ID fraud protection, identity threat alerts, and more.
They also have online PC protection tools to proactively help you fight phishing and keylogging attacks. Their mobile app gives you access to a secure VPN, so you always have a secure internet connection anywhere you go. Other digital protection tools include two-factor authentication, online identity vault, and a secure password manager.
You can also upgrade to their UltraSecure + Credit plan which starts at $19.99 per month and includes credit monitoring service from 3-bureau, credit score tracker, and quarterly 3 bureau credit reports and credit scores.
All plans include a $1 million dollar identity theft insurance for stolen fund replacement, and white-glove customer service that can help you resolve any identity fraud case.
Expert Review: IdentityForce is one of the leading identity theft protection services in the market for consumers as well as small business owners.
5. Experian IdentityWorks
Experian is one of the 3 major credit bureaus in the US, and they offer a premium identity theft protection service called IdentityWorks.
Since they’re a credit bureau, they can easily offer 24/7 credit monitoring service that helps you identify credit fraud sooner. Their identity theft monitoring platform has built-in dark web surveillance that does daily scans of over 600,000 web pages to detect if any of your information is stolen.
You will get near real-time identity theft alerts through their system if they notice any suspicious activity around your social security number, financial accounts, payday loans, false identity validations, social network monitoring, and more.
Experian is one of the 3-bureaus that issue a FICO credit score, so you will get daily FICO scores from Experian and quarterly credit score updates from the other credit bureaus. This makes it easy for you to track your actual credit score without any extra cost.
If you have ever had to lock your credit report, then you know it’s a huge hassle. Experian makes it easy to lock and unlock your Experian credit file within few clicks. This is a huge time saver.
IdentityWorks Premium pricing starts at $19.99 per month, and it includes the $1 million dollar identity theft protection insurance which is underwritten by AIG.
You can also get a family plan for $29.99 per month that includes two adults and up to 10 children identity protection.
The downside of Experian is that it does not offer any device or network security features.
Expert Review: Experian’s IdentityWorks platform offer a reliable credit monitoring service with standard identity theft protection features. However they are lacking the modern digital security features that you get with Aura or Norton360.
IdentityIQ is another popular credit and identity theft monitoring service for small business owners that also include anti-virus software and VPN for online privacy.
Their identity theft protection plans include all the standard features you would expect such as dark web & internet monitoring, 3-bureau credit report monitoring, lost wallet assistance, synthetic ID theft protection, up to $1 million dollar identity theft insurance to cover stolen fund reimbursement and offer coverage for lawyers and experts expenses.
The SecureMax plan also offers additional features like enhanced credit report monitoring, alerts on crimes committed in your name, credit score tracker, credit score simulator, and family protection with ID fraud restoration.
One of the big reasons for identity theft is lack of device & network security, so IdentityIQ includes Bitdefender premium VPN for up to 10 devices as well as Bitdefender total security anti-virus and anti-spyware to help protect your computers. They also offer a password manager for Windows OS, but doesn’t have it for Mac.
Expert Review: IdentityIQ the best identity theft protection service if you’re looking for Bitdefender total security software to be included. Their pricing is a bit on the higher end with SecureMax plan starting at $30.99 per month.
7. ID Watchdog
ID Watchdog is a well-known identity theft protection and resolution service for individuals as well as business owners. In 2017, ID Watchdog was acquired by Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, and it’s now part of the Equifax family.
They provide dark web monitoring, high-risk transaction monitoring, data breach notifications, public record monitoring, full managed identity resolution, and up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.
Their pricing starts at $14.95 per month for the ID Watchdog Select plan and $21.95 per month for the ID Watchdog Premium plan.
To get a comprehensive identity theft protection service, you will need to get the premium plan because features like credit report locking, financial accounts monitoring, social media accounts monitoring, 3-bureau credit report monitoring, daily credit score tracking, private VPN & password manager apps are only available on the higher plan.
ID Watchdog is one of the leading providers in identity theft protection for employees. As a business owner, you can offer identity protection service as part of your employee benefit package.
Expert Review: ID Watchdog offers a competitive identity theft protection service for individuals and families, but their pricing is on the higher end. They also do not provide credit scores from all 3-bureaus, so you are limited to only Equifax credit score monitoring.
Which is the Best Identity Theft Protection Service for You?
After carefully research all the top identity theft protection services for small business owners, we believe that Aura is the best identity theft protection and credit monitoring service provider in the market.
They offer the most affordable pricing with the most advanced identity theft features, and they have top-notch customer support.
The best part is that aside from comprehensive identity theft and financial fraud protection, they also include robust device & WiFi security apps to better protect you against cyberthreats.
At WPBeginner, we believe that security is not just about risk elimination, it’s also about risk reduction. Using the Aura smart digital security app, you get military-grade encryption for your online data, so you can have maximum online security.
For all the reasons above, we chose Aura for our own financial protection and rate it as the #1 best identity theft protection service in the market.
In our research, IdentityGuard came as very close second because they offer solid identity protection plans for individuals and families on a budget.
You really can’t go wrong with any of the best identity theft protection companies in our list because they all have really good reputation.
We also looked into many other identity theft protection and credit monitoring services that are not listed in this article like IDShield, IDnotify, PrivacyGuard, Allstate Identity Protection, Credit Sesame, and others. We decided it wasn’t best to list them all in this article because we don’t want to cause choice paralysis.
Instead our goal is always to make it easy for you to choose the best provider for your needs.
We hope this article helped you find the best identity theft protection service for your family or small business. You may also want to see our guide on how to create a free business email address and our comparison of the best business phone services.
Identity Theft Protection FAQs
Do I really need an identity theft protection service?
Normally when we hear stories of fraud, usually the first thought that comes to mind is that that this won’t happen to me. The reality of the matter is that in this age of the internet, we are all at risk of identity theft. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, small business owner, or even a college student, you can benefit from an identity theft protection service.
Identity thieves target everyone including children, elderly, and even deceased family members.
Since our personal data is everywhere, there’s a very high likelihood that some of it is already stolen. It comes as a shock to everyone when they see all their information that’s available on the dark web.
The only way to stay protected is to stay ahead of fraudsters with proper monitoring and near real-time alerts of suspicious activity.
What are some common signs of identity theft?
The most common signs of identity theft and financial fraud include unauthorized activity on your credit card or credit report, having your bank checks bounce, receiving unfamiliar bills to your mailing address, receiving unsolicited calls from debt collectors about bills you don’t recognize, having your regular medical claims be rejected because you reached benefit limits, being unable to file taxes, and last but not least getting notified from a large company that your information was exposed in a data breach.
When you see any of these signs, it’s critical that you act fast and take action by scanning through all your accounts and credit reports to identify any suspicious activity.
If you notice multiple abnormalities, then you need to sign up with an identity theft protection company like Aura and use their expert recovery services to restore any potential losses.
What to do if you are a victim of identity theft?
If you’re a victim of identity theft, then the first thing you need to do is immediately freeze your credit file. All the best identity theft protection companies offer a credit freeze feature inside their app, but you can also individually call all the 3-credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) to freeze your credit report for free.
After that, if you’re using one of the above identity theft protection services, then you can contact their expert support team to help you with identity restoration and fraud resolution.
How can I stop identity theft before it happens?
Identity thieves and cyber criminals go to great lengths to get their hands on people’s personal information such as social security number, bank account numbers, driver’s license details, and other sensitive information.
This information can be used to steal your money, open fake bank accounts in your name, and use it to commit larger criminal acts.
The best way to stop identity theft before it happens is to take proper safeguards like using safe browsing tools at all times and on all devices.
Here are some other tips to help prevent identity theft:
- Freeze your credit report and only unlock it when you need to
- Review your credit card and bank statements regularly (at least once a week) to check for any suspicious transaction.
- Use different passwords for everything. We recommend using a password manager like LastPass, 1Password, or even the built-in tool inside Aura.
- Always use two-factor authentication on all accounts especially your bank account and email accounts.
- Regularly check your mail and shred any document that contains your personal information.
- Always factory reset your phones or computers before selling them. We recommend completing the reset sequence at least 3 times.
Last but not least, don’t share your personal information with companies you don’t trust, and most importantly please set up proper credit and identity monitoring, so you can be more proactive.
Why is device and WiFi security important for identity theft protection?
In an ever connected world, we all use public WiFi at least once a month. Whether that’s in a restaurant or coffee shop like Starbucks or during travels in an airport, flight, or at a hotel, it’s safe to assume that all public WiFi networks are insecure.
The best way to protect your personal information is to mask your identity and properly encrypt all data that’s transferred when you’re filling out a website form, logging into your bank account, or using any website online.
That’s where VPNs (virtual private networks) come in. Don’t worry, it sounds technical, but you can turn it on with a single click inside identity protection services like Aura and others.
It works on all devices, and we highly recommend using it for yourself as well as for your families. Most plans allow you to use the app on multiple devices.
How does identity theft insurance work?
Although the full terms and conditions vary for each identity theft insurance policy, generally most identity protection services offer anywhere from $25,000 up to $1 million dollar insurance coverage to recover eligible losses and fees due to identity theft.
In our research, we found that several companies in the list above had their identity theft insurance underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group Inc (AIG).
It’s important that you read the full terms, conditions, and exclusions of the coverage because coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.
Which types of monitoring should be included in a comprehensive identity monitoring service?
The biggest advantage of identity monitoring services is the near instant alerts that you get for any kind of suspicious activity.
Most identity theft protection companies will offer the following monitoring services:
- Dark web monitoring – scans the thousands of websites in the dark corners of the internet to detect illegal trading and selling of your personal information.
- Advanced fraud monitoring – proactive alerts when lenders such as banks, auto leaders, mortgage companies, and government agencies request a copy of your credit report. These virtually real-time alerts help you stop fraudulent attempts to open a new account in your name.
- Change of address monitoring – monitors and alerts you if anyone attempts to change your mailing address or redirect your mail through USPS without your authorization. Often criminals change the physical mailing address to gain access to your credit card statements and other financial documents.
- Court records monitoring – daily search of millions of criminal and court records to determine if your identity has been used by any unauthorized individual to commit crime.
- Pay day loan monitoring – immediately alerts you if any payday or quick cash loans were obtained using your social security number.
- Sex offender monitoring – in-depth search of sex offender registries to determine if a sex offender fraudulently used your personal data as their registration information.
- Social media identity monitoring – daily monitoring of your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram accounts for inappropriate activity and posts that could be categorized as fraud or violence.
When any suspicious activity is detected in any of these identity theft monitors, you’ll get an alert so you can act fast.
Which is the best free identity theft protection plan?
Although many people want to use a free identity theft protection service, unfortunately there isn’t a reliable one that exists.
The best free identity theft protection plan is to permanently keep your credit report on lock. This requires you to each of the 3-major credit bureaus, so they can freeze your credit file.
Whenever you need to open a new credit card or get a bank loan for a big purchase, you can temporarily unfreeze your credit for 24 to 48 hours.
This will help you protect against credit fraud, but it doesn’t offer comprehensive identity protection alerts.
Which is the best identity theft protection service for families?
In our expert opinion, Aura is the best identity protection service for families (especially entrepreneur families). Their family plan offers full protection at $25 per month and cover up to 10 people.
You get antivirus and VPN WiFi security for 10 devices per adult, so you can install the security software on your kids devices as well.
How much does identity theft protection cost?
The cost of identity theft protection coverages range from $7.50 per month to upwards of $30.99 per month depending on the features you need.
Below is a quick price comparison of the best identity theft protection services for their comprehensive plan that we recommend for maximum security coverage.
|Company||Comprehensive Plan||Monthly Price (billed annually)|
|Aura||Ultimate||$25 per month|
|Identity Guard||Ultra*||$25 per month|
|Norton LifeLock||Ultimate Plus||$29.99 per month|
|IdentityForce||UltraSecure + Credit||$19.99 per month|
|IdentityWorks||Premium*||$19.99 per month|
|IdentityIQ||Secure Max||$30.99 per month|
|ID Watchdog||Premium||$21.95 per month|
The * denotes to comprehensive plans that do not include VPN and device security firewalls. These companies does not have those advanced security capabilities.
Several companies show special introductory pricing for their first year term. In other words, renewal will happen at a regular price (which is usually higher). This is why it’s better to buy the annual plan or multi-year plan where applicable so you can lock-in the best price.
We hope that this guide helped you choose the best business phone service for your small business. You may also want to see our comparison of the best website builder platforms and best email marketing services to grow your business.