A LifeLock Review – From a User:
Many years ago, I gave my first LifeLock review, as a real actual user. The LifeLock service has changed quite a bit since then, including getting purchased by identity and security giant Norton Symantec, and I have updated this LifeLock review as recently as January, 2021.
Before signing up for LifeLock here (that link offers the best price I’ve ever seen with up to 25% off for the first year – terms apply), it’s important to understand what you’re paying for. There are plenty of ways to protect yourself from identity theft that are absolutely, 100% free. In some ways these free identity protection measures go above and beyond the paid services, such as LifeLock, that are out there. In other ways, they fall short, and in order to keep up with them, it takes more manual work on your part.
Let’s take a look at what LifeLock has to offer for $8.99 per month for its discounted “Standard” plan (with pricier higher service “Advantage” and “Ultimate Plus” plans also available), and whether you can achieve the same results for free on your own in this LifeLock review. I’ll go through each LifeLock benefit claim and let you know if there are free alternatives.
Benefit Claim: LifeLock Identity Alert System and One-Bureau Credit Monitoring
“It’s the foundation for all LifeLock services. We send alerts through the patented LifeLock Identity Alert system by text, phone, or email and our Identity Restoration Specialists are there to help.”
“We monitor key changes to your credit file at a leading credit bureau and alert you to help detect fraud.”
Free Alternative? Yes. You can go to any of the 3 credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and request fraud alerts of varying lengths. You only have to do this with one bureau and they will notify the others. Here’s the link to Experian’s fraud alert. Also, Credit Karma offers free credit monitoring alerts.
Benefit Claim: Dark Web Monitoring
“Identity thieves can sell your personal information on hard-to-find dark websites and forums. LifeLock patrols the dark web and notifies you if we find your information.”
Free Alternative? No. I am not aware of a free alternative to this benefit. I do know that credit monitoring services will alert you if your information is improperly used (or attempted to be used) and maybe that is enough. I suppose it would also be helpful to know proactively if your information is out there on the “dark web”.
Benefit Claim: LifeLock Privacy Monitor™ Tool
“The Privacy Monitor tool provides reduced public exposure of your personal information to help you keep your private information private.”
Free Alternative? Partially. You can opt out of pre-approved credit card offers at optoutprescreen.com. Beyond that, it’s difficult to determine how far and to what extent the privacy monitoring benefit goes, given that it appears to be a proprietary technology.
Benefit Claim: Annual Credit Reports and Credit Scores
The “Advantage” (Equifax) and “Ultimate Plus” (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) plans offer:
“The credit scores provided are VantageScore 3.0 credit scores based on data from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion respectively. Third parties use many different types of credit scores and are likely to use a different type of credit score to assess your creditworthiness.”
Free Alternative? Yes. You can do this on your own for free at annualcreditreport.com (scores) and Credit Karma (scores and reports). See my articles “Smart Planning will get you 3 Free Credit Reports Per Year” and “Credit Karma Now Offers Free Credit Report Access!” on how to take advantage of this.
Benefit Claim: Lost Wallet Protection
“A lost wallet can mean a lost identity. Call us if your wallet is lost or stolen and we’ll help cancel or replace credit cards, driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, insurance cards and more.”
Free Alternative? Partially. These all seem like things you can do on your own with a few phone calls (this would be a good time to recommend that you keep a list of everything in your wallet, along with service phone numbers). The benefit summary does say that LifeLock will cover “Up to $25,000 per Member Per Annum (Maximum of $500 for replacement of stolen cash” (Standard) in document replacement costs – which could be a nice benefit.
Benefit Claim: USPS Address Change Verification
“Identity thieves try to divert mail to get important financial information. LifeLock lets you know of changes in USPS address requests linked to your identity.”
Free Alternative? Yes. Address changes should show in your credit reports, and if you have credit monitoring, you should be alerted. Credit Karma is a good one for this. Additionally, you could set up USPS Informed Delivery.
Benefit Claim: Coverage for Lawyers and Experts
“If you become a victim of identity theft while a LifeLock member, we will provide the necessary lawyers and experts if needed to help resolve your case.Reimbursement and Expense Compensation, each with limits of up to $25,000 for Standard, up to $100,000 for Advantage and up to $1 million for Ultimate Plus. And up to $1 million for coverage for lawyers and experts if needed, for all plans. Benefits provided by Master Policy issued by United Specialty Insurance Company, Inc. (State National Insurance Company, Inc. for NY State members). Policy terms, conditions and exclusions at: LifeLock.com/legal.”
This could include reimbursement for certain out-of-pocket costs and expenses in the following categories:
- Replacement of Documents
- Traveling Expenses
- Loss of Income
- Stolen Handbag, Purse, or Wallet
- Childcare and Elderly Care
- Travel Assistance
- Arrest Related Expenses
- Fraudulent Withdrawals
- Legal Costs
- Remediation Services Costs
- Case Management Services Costs
Free Alternative? No. It’s hard to determine how much this is all worth, but if this gives you some peace of mind, then it might be worth the cost.
Benefit Claim: Stolen Funds Reimbursement
“If you have money stolen due to identity theft, LifeLock will reimburse you dollar for dollar-up to $25,000, up to $100,000, or up to $1 million-based on the limits of your plan.”
Free Alternative? Not that I am aware of.
LifeLock Review Summary
Is LifeLock a scam? No, it is not. In fact, LifeLock’s recent purchase by Norton Symantec proves and adds to its legitimacy.
You can do some of what LifeLock does for free, with effort and discipline (to keep doing it periodically). And there are some benefits that you cannot get otherwise. LifeLock seems worth it if you have the attitude “well, I could do this stuff for free, but I don’t want the hassle, and I’ll probably forget, so I’ll just let someone else handle it for a small price”. You’re basically paying for organization, peace of mind, and to set it and forget it plus some other benefits you can’t get elsewhere. If you find it’s not worth the cost, you can always cancel, so it’s very low risk to see if the value is worth it for you.
Note: If you decide to cancel, and 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.
If you’re interested in LifeLock, you can get up to 25% off membership here.