Life Lock Review
LifeLock Ultimate Plus® is both a solid credit report monitoring service and a full-featured identity theft protection service. Subscribers will benefit from three-bureau credit monitoring and annual three-bureau credit reports and scores. They’ll also receive monthly updates to their TransUnion credit score and have access to a tool that tracks those changes over time. On top of these credit-oriented features, members are protected by very comprehensive identity theft protection. The few downsides to this service are the lack of monthly updates to your Equifax and Experian scores and the fact that you only receive your three-bureau credit report annually.
After the 30-day free trial, the service costs $24.75** per month with an annual prepay or $26.99 per month if you choose the month-to-month payment option. Although this price is a bit steeper than other credit monitoring services we review, LifeLock Ultimate Plus®’s excellent identity theft protection features might be worth it to some. Plus, the free 30-day trial enables users to try it out free of charge first.
After choosing a plan, you will be required to enter personal information such as your address and social security number. This is all done in a secure browsing environment, so there’s no need to worry about your information being compromised.
You can log into the member portal after verifying your email address. You will have the option to add your driver’s license information, insurance records and anything else that thieves could potentially steal. If you do not have that information handy, you can always add it at a later time. After you add the information you have on-hand, you can set up your communication preferences — text and/or email alerts.
You can view your Equifax and TransUnion credit scores immediately after logging into your Credit Karma account. The credit scores use the VantageScore 3.0 model, which has a range of 300 to 850 and uses the usual labels Excellent, Good, Fair, etc. You can also see your Auto Insurance Score and Home Insurance Score. Credit Karma points out that these scores are used primarily by car and home insurance companies to check the likelihood of you filing a claim. Note that the auto insurance score is not based on your driving record.
LifeLock® will also begin daily monitoring of your credit reports at all three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If any important changes occur, you’ll be alerted via email. These changes fall into a number of categories, including address changes, new credit inquiries, opening of new accounts, public record changes, negative credit information, employment updates and other more general changes. Timely alerts of credit report changes are a helpful way to catch identity thieves before they do significant damage to your good name.
In fact, the FTC considers regularly checking your credit reports for changes to be the best way to limit any damage caused by identity thieves. By proactively alerting you of changes, LifeLock®’s three-bureau credit report monitoring makes it convenient to keep a close eye on your credit reports without having to go through each one of them every month.
In addition to three-bureau monitoring and annual three-bureau credit reports and scores, subscribers get monthly updates to their TransUnion credit score. Your historical scores are also displayed in an easy-to-read graphical format, so you can see how they change over time. You’ll also be informed which factors might be helping or hurting your credit score. Keeping track of your TransUnion credit score is a great way to have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening on your TransUnion credit report. We were a little disappointed to discover that subscribers don’t receive monthly updates to all three of their credit scores, but at least with TransUnion scores you’ll have an approximation of what your other scores might look like (although they could be different).
LifeLock Ultimate Plus® helps protect your identity using several different methods. LifeLock’s® Identity AlertTM technology uses unique data sources to provide a broader range of protection than just credit report monitoring. It monitors your personal information and will alert you if it is being used to open new credit cards, wireless services, retail credits, utilities, check orders/reorders, mortgage loans, non-credit related payday loans and auto loans. You’ll also be notified if new savings or checking accounts are opened or your existing bank account information changes. Alerts are sent via email and/or phone. Your online account will also be updated with any alert information.
In addition, LifeLock Ultimate Plus® scans the Internet’s black markets for any use of your credit card numbers, driver’s license, Social Security number and email, monitors file-sharing sites for the use of your personal information, and provides surveillance of public and court records — alerting you if your personal information is found. Add to this already thorough protection the fact that they scour national databases for new address information and notify you if your address has been changed; monitor for any non-credit related payday loans opened with your Social Security number, date of birth and name; and scan for any payday loans opened with your personal information. Furthermore, LifeLock Ultimate Plus® reduces pre-approved credit offers with your name on it from circulating, thereby reducing your chance of having your identity stolen.
Life Lock Ultimate Plus® also informs you of publicly reported breaches so you can take action before any damage can be done to your identity. The service comes with LifeLock® Credit Card, Checking and Savings Account Alerts that will notify you when you make cash withdrawals, balance transfers and other transactions† that surpass a certain threshold that you can set through your online portal on the website. The default threshold is $200. There is also an Investment Account Activity Alerts that works similarly to the above feature by letting you know about specific activity made on your investment accounts.
LifeLock® customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via phone, fax or email. If you discover that there has been an attempt to open a fraudulent account in your name, LifeLock Ultimate Plus® provides access to a dedicated remediation specialist who will work with you to get the situation resolved free of charge. Since most identity theft occurs when thieves use your personal information to open new credit accounts (credit cards, bank accounts, phone accounts, etc.), LifeLock® aims to prevent identity theft by stopping the fraudulent accounts from being opened in the first place. LifeLock® also offers an excellent solution to protect children from identity theft — LifeLock® for Minors. Child identity theft is an even faster-growing crime than identity theft against adults.
Overall, LifeLock Ultimate Plus® is a very good solution for monitoring three-bureau credit reports. Subscribers will also receive one-time three-bureau credit reports and scores, as well as ongoing monthly updates to their TransUnion credit scores. Although we wish it included monthly updates to Equifax and Experian credit scores, LifeLock Ultimate Plus® adds a host of excellent identity theft protection features backed by 24/7 customer support and a fraud resolution team. The service is likely to appeal to those who are willing to pay a little extra for the combination of credit-oriented features and proactive identity theft protection.
|Credit Scores:||Free Equifax and TransUnion scores|
|Credit Reports:||Equifax and TransUnion reports|
|Trial Period & Price:||Free|
|Credit Monitoring:||Equifax and TransUnion monitoring|