Identity theft is a major concern for many consumers. LifeLock is an identity monitoring service and alerts you if your personal information is identified in a potential identity theft situation.
LifeLock offers the following:
- Scans and alerts – monitors the major credit reporting agencies and other businesses for evidence of identity theft, use of personal information.
- Safeguards your devices and online activity – protects your devices with Norton antivirus software to keep them safe from malware, and gives you a virtual private network (VPN) to shield your online activity.
- Assistance – offers US-based agents to assist you if you are a victim of identity theft
- Financial protection – reimburses you for financial losses and other expenses related to an identity theft situation.
No existing service can protect you from identity theft before it occurs, but LifeLock does a good job of alerting you early quickly if you are a victim. It also helps you recover from identity theft.
There are some things you can do yourself to detect identity theft early, and these strategies don’t cost anything. But you can’t do everything that LifeLock offers.
Read our LifeLock review to find out what LifeLock does, what we think about the service, and who will benefit most from it.
Identity theft is big business for cybercriminals. Each year, billions of dollars are lost to identity fraud scams. Whether it is traditional identity theft (system-wide hacks of business databases to obtain customer information) or identity fraud scams (direct interaction with a victim through texts, calls or emails), consumers are constantly at risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.
While there is no existing service that can fully prevent identity theft before it occurs, consumers often turn to identity theft monitoring tools to alert them when their personal data has been compromised. One such service is LifeLock, now a subsidiary of Norton — the cybersecurity giant.
But is paying for an identity theft monitoring service worth the expense? We did a deep dive into Norton’s identity theft service to prepare our comprehensive LifeLock review.
Before we dig in, note that LifeLock is designed primarily for customers with a United States social security number. People without one can still subscribe to LifeLock, but they won’t be able to use their credit monitoring services, which is a very important component of the overall service.
What Does LifeLock Do?
First things first, LifeLock offers many services, but preventing identity theft before it happens is not one of them. The company says as much on their website.
Instead, LifeLock monitors your account for identity theft, credit score changes, and use of your personal information. It alerts you when suspicious activity is noted, and then helps you respond to the situation. You can also add optional protection like antivirus software and a virtual private network (VPN), through the parent company, Norton. Here are some things that stood out during our LifeLock review:
- Scans and alerts – the service monitors the major U.S. credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) and other organizations for evidence of identity theft and suspicious use of personal information. LifeLock also monitors all three credit bureaus for credit score changes. LifeLock alerts you if activity involving your personal information is detected. While this includes, according to the company, a “variety of sources” and a “very extensive network,” the company admits not every business is monitored. As such, it may miss instances of identity theft.
- Safeguards your devices and online activity – your devices are protected with Norton antivirus software to keep them safe from malware, and a virtual private network (VPN) keeps your online activity private. This extra protection is only available if you choose a combination coverage package.
- Assistance – LifeLock can connect you with their U.S.-based agents to assist you if you suspect you’re the victim of identity theft.
- Reimbursement – if you face financial loss because of identity theft, you are entitled to reimbursement (up to the limits of the plan you select).
Our LifeLock review started by identifying the different subscription options available.
Navigating the myriad options available on the LifeLock website can be a challenge. There are actually two types of LifeLock coverage packages available – LifeLock or Norton 360 Plus LifeLock.
However, the company has designed its website to almost exclusively promote its combination packages. You have to dig a bit to find the LifeLock-only options. You find them by clicking on a link below the combo packages fold on the website landing page.
All LifeLock packages are available as a subscription model on an individual or family basis. You can pay monthly or annually for any package.
Although it is not mentioned on their website, LifeLock also offers a 30-day free trial. This allows you to test the service without an initial financial commitment. Their 30-day free trial is great for anyone who wants to give it a shot before buying a long-term subscription.
What is Norton 360?
Norton 360 is an all-in-one internet security suite, designed to keep people safe online. It includes antivirus and malware protection for your computer and smartphone, secure cloud backup storage, and a virtual private network (VPN).
LifeLock was acquired by Norton’s parent company, Symantec, in 2017. Today, LifeLock and Norton 360 are offered as a packaged subscription service. However, LifeLock remains available as a standalone subscription for customers who don’t want or need the additional security coverage. Read our review on Norton 360 here.
Lifelock Only Packages
If you want only identity theft monitoring, you have three LifeLock subscription options – Standard, Advantage, or Ultimate Plus. The pricing noted below covers one adult.
All packages include:
- U.S. social security number (SSN) and credit alerts
- US-based identity restoration specialist services
- 24/7 live support, stolen wallet protection
- USPS address change verification
- dark web monitoring
- privacy monitoring
- ID verification monitoring
- data breach notifications
- credit monitoring on Equifax.
- varying levels of financial reimbursement for stolen funds, personal expenses, and legal assistance.
Additional services are available in the Advantage and Ultimate Plus plans.
|LifeLock Standard||LifeLock Advantage||LifeLock Ultimate Plus|
|$9.99 / mo.||$19.99 / mo.||$29.99 / mo.|
|Services include everything listed above, plus:||Services include everything listed above, plus:||Services include everything listed above, in the Advantage package, and:|
*Maximum plan limits.
Introductory pricing expires after the first 12 months. There are also family plans available for an additional fee. There are a number of caveats and qualifications related to coverage. You can read more on the LifeLock site.
Norton 360 Plus LifeLock Packages
If you prefer to combine identity theft monitoring with malware protection, cloud storage, and a virtual private network, then you’ll want to consider a Norton 360 Plus LifeLock combo package. The pricing for these packages is more advantageous than a LifeLock-only subscription.
For all options, the LifeLock coverage is identical to the standalone LifeLock packages listed above. You also get security features, including a secure VPN for up to five devices (PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets), an ad-tracking blocker, SafeCam for Windows PCs, parental controls, a password manager, and protection against computer viruses and malware.
Pricing for the combo packages is available on a monthly or annual basis. You receive a discount if you pay for the full year. Introductory pricing expires after 12 months.
|Norton 360 with LifeLock Select||Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage||Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus|
|$8.29 / mo. (1-year prepaid $99.48)|
$9.99 / mo. (paid monthly)
|$15.99 / mo. (1-year prepaid $191.88)|
$19.99 / mo. (paid monthly)
|$24.99 / mo. (1-year prepaid $299.88)|
$29.99 / mo. (paid monthly)
|$14.99 / mo. first year (1-year prepaid $179.88)|
$16.99 / mo. first year (paid monthly)
|$24.99 / mo. first year (1-year prepaid $299.88)|
$29.99 / mo. first year (paid monthly)
|$34.99 / mo. first year (1-year prepaid $419.88)|
$41.99 / mo. first year (paid monthly)
(two adults and five kids)
|$20.99 / mo. first year (1-year prepaid $251.88)|
$23.99 / mo. first year (paid monthly)
|$30.99 / mo. first year (1-year prepaid $371.88)|
$36.99/ mo. first year (paid monthly)
|$40.99 / mo. first year (1-year prepaid $491.88)|
$48.99 / mo. first year (paid monthly)
Our Review of LifeLock Features
We initiated a trial subscription as part of our LifeLock review so we could test how the service fared. Our LifeLock review is divided into three categories: ease of use, customer service, and effectiveness. We rated each category on a scale of 1 to 10 for the purposes of our LifeLock review, with 10 being the highest.
Ease of Use
There is web-based desktop access and a mobile app available for LifeLock.
Once you start your membership, setting up your account is straightforward. The first time you log in, you’ll see your My Norton dashboard from where you can fine-tune individual features. The features available to you will depend on the type of service you selected.
The dashboard is easy to navigate and walks you through each step to complete the account setup process. The following examples are from a Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus membership.
When you finish uploading your personal data, LifeLock operates behind the scenes and no additional input is required from you. You can monitor your dashboard periodically, rely on alerts sent to your mobile phone, or both.
If your subscription includes Norton 360, you’ll see the option to download the antivirus and malware protection to your devices. You will also see an option to download a secure VPN, and set up cloud backup, as shown above.
Once you download and install Norton 360, you will need to complete some final setup steps. After that, the security app will run in the background.
Ease of Use = 10
One thing we noticed during our LifeLock review: trying to set up a new LifeLock subscription online was a challenge. We tried twice to complete the online form and received an error message both times. We were then directed to call an 800 number for further assistance.
Since we could not complete the free trial LifeLock subscription signup online, we were forced to call to finish the transaction.
We called the number twice before we could complete our purchase over the telephone. The first time, an agent hung up on us after having technical issues on their side. The second time, a different agent was able to complete our membership request, but only after hard-selling us on an upgrade for the entirety of the long call. They also failed to add credit monitoring to our subscription.
It was a stressful and frustrating process, leaving us with the impression that customer service at the pre-sell stage is under pressure to meet sales goals.
Trying to get the 30-day trial subscription was a challenge, too. The LifeLock agents don’t proactively offer it nor will they honor it unless you provide a discount code to them. You obtain that code during the online sign-up process.
So, if you cannot sign up online and have to call to complete the transaction as we did, be sure to note the discount code you are given. You will need it.
After becoming a LifeLock customer, the service improved slightly, but there were a few wrinkles.
To resolve a setup issue with one feature, we were required to call a different customer support number. We were on hold for 10 minutes while we waited for an agent. Once a connection was established, the agent struggled to resolve our issue. They were, however, polite and apologetic throughout the lengthy call. Our issue was eventually resolved, but not without a lot of hold time and trial and error.
LifeLock’s customer service leaves much to be desired. If you never need to call them, it won’t be an issue. If you do find yourself calling for support (you probably will), the experience is likely to leave you frustrated.
Customer Service Score = 2
As noted above, LifeLock is not a service that will prevent identity theft. Instead, it monitors many businesses and online environments for your personally identifying data and notifies you if it detects unusual activity. The company itself admits that it does not monitor every business, and cannot guarantee it will identify every suspicious transaction that involves your identity.
LifeLock also offers features like freezing your credit files at all three reporting agencies. It offers you the ability to lock your TransUnion credit file. However, it does not offer that same service for Experian or Equifax credit files. Instead, it refers you to their respective websites.
These features generally seem to work as promised. However, these are things you can do yourself at each of the major credit reporting bureaus. LifeLock does monitor many other sources that you cannot easily monitor on your own, so there is some value in this respect.
Overall, LifeLock is a mostly effective tool to monitor for identity theft after it happens. However, it is ineffective at preventing identity theft in the first place. Thankfully, we did not have an opportunity to test their identity theft support services or coverage for financial losses.
Effectiveness Score = 7
Is LifeLock Worth the Price?
Before deciding if LifeLock is worth its monthly membership fee, it is important to note that, on your own, you can do some – but not all – of the things LifeLock offers.
LifeLock services you can perform on your own
Things like freezing your credit can easily be done for free at all of the three major US-based credit reporting agencies, including Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. For many people, freezing their credit (meaning no new lines of credit can be taken out under your social security number), is enough to deter the most common types of identity theft.
A simple thing that you can do is to practice good online habits and monitor your financial accounts regularly to identify unusual activity.
These are free strategies you can use to protect yourself and detect identity theft quickly if it happens to you. However, this strategy requires you to stay vigilant day in and day out.
LifeLock services you might need
There are some things LifeLock can do that you simply can’t, such as monitoring for criminal charges in your name or identifying your personal information on the dark web.
Likewise, if you suffer financial damages as a result of identity theft, you may never get reimbursed on your own. LifeLock offers insurance against financial loss.
Whether you find LifeLock’s services to be worth the price or not depends on how proactive you want to be about guarding your online identity and how much you have at risk. For people willing to do the legwork themselves and who are looking for basic identity theft monitoring, LifeLock may not be worth the monthly cost.
However, for anyone who wants to turn over that responsibility to someone else and have comprehensive monitoring coverage plus insurance against financial losses, LifeLock is a convenient option.
Norton 360 Services
You can choose a combination package that includes the security services offered by Norton. These security services include antivirus software, secure cloud storage, and a virtual private network.
If you don’t currently have these kinds of protections on your devices with online access, then your computer, tablet, and smartphone are at unnecessary risk. Antivirus software keeps your device from being infected with malware. A virtual private network keeps you safe while you’re active online. Cloud storage keeps your data secure and easily accessible, even if your device is lost or stolen.
The Norton 360 plus LifeLock packages give you this protection along with identity theft monitoring services, making it a reasonable investment for users who don’t currently have such security features already in place.
LifeLock Pros and Cons
There are a number of things to think about when considering a LifeLock subscription. Whether it makes sense for you to use LifeLock depends on what is most important to you.
|Easy to use||Offers some services you can do yourself for free|
|Consolidates all identity-theft related services into one package||Does not monitor all businesses, so you might still fall victim to undetected identity theft|
|Service can be bundled with antivirus, cloud storage, and VPN package||Higher-tier packages are expensive, especially after introductory pricing expires|
|You free yourself from the responsibility of regular monitoring and get early alerts when suspicious activity is detected||People without US social security numbers do not have access to the most important LifeLock feature: credit monitoring|
LifeLock Review – What We Think
Identity theft is not something that only happens to someone else. More and more people fall victim to it every day, as cybercriminals get better and better at stealing personal information. In 2020 alone, consumers lost $56 billion to identity theft scams.
If you are concerned about someone stealing your identity and destroying your financial life, proactively managing your online information is a very good place to start. Incorporating security measures like antivirus software, using a VPN, and closely monitoring your accounts are solid strategies to keep your information from being stolen in the first place. But if your data does fall into the wrong hands, early identification is key to mitigating damages.
To sum up our LifeLock review, we really liked the dashboard and monitoring. But, the sign-up process is arduous, and they are always looking for an upsell. Also, if you don’t have an SSN, you can’t avail of their credit monitoring service.
Using a third-party monitoring service such as LifeLock makes early detection easier. It does the monitoring work for you, identifies potential identity theft issues quickly, and offers insurance against financial losses, too. At a relatively low monthly cost, LifeLock is a good choice.
If you didn’t find what you were looking for in our LifeLock review, check out the most commonly asked questions we get about LifeLock below.
The identity theft monitoring services offered by LifeLock are comprehensive, but not all-inclusive. Some cases of identity theft may go undetected. LifeLock does monitor all the major U.S. credit bureaus and offers other features that can detect identity theft quickly and alert you.
LifeLock also offers insurance against financial losses related to identity theft. This makes it a reasonable service for anyone who wants this type of protection.
If you are concerned about becoming a victim of identity theft, using a third-party monitoring service for suspicious use of your identifying information offers peace of mind. LifeLock is on par with other similar services in the protection it offers.
The level of LifeLock coverage you pick depends on your individual circumstances and the budget you have available for such services. For many, the monthly fees are worth it, as they can rest easier knowing identity theft attempts will be detected early before significant damage is done. Read more in our comprehensive LifeLock review.
LifeLock monitors a variety of sources for evidence of your personally identifying information being used to obtain credit and other services. It uses your U.S. social security number as the basis for most of its monitoring services.
When LifeLock detects unusual activity, it alerts you so you can take action. LifeLock offers assistance in resolving identity theft, and provides varying levels of insurance against financial losses associated with the theft. The sources that LifeLock monitors for you depends on the level of service you purchase. Read more in our LifeLock review.