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Having your identity stolen is no laughing matter. It cuts to the very core of who you are and everything you’ve built up over the years.
Take your credit score, for example. You can spend a decade or more working your way up to that perfect score. Then, in the blink of an eye, a fraudster can take out a bad loan and send your score plummeting.
This is far from an inevitability. There are several identity theft protection and credit monitoring services to help you avoid the pain of having your identity stolen.
Each one has its own benefits and drawbacks, and different services will be right for different people. So, before you sign up, it helps to compare a few various services.
Today, we’ll be looking at two of the most popular identity theft services: Norton LifeLock and Costco Complete ID.
As you might imagine from the fact that they come from two different companies, these are wildly different services.
But each of them has its own benefits that are worth considering. Let’s take a closer look in this LifeLock vs Complete ID comparison!
LifeLockis a longstanding identity theft service, one of the very first. If nothing else, you’ve probably heard a few of their radio ads.
Their service is geared towards detecting identity theft, ending it, and mitigating the damage afterwards.
Now, LifeLock is partnered with Norton, which allows them to offer a wider variety of services. Primarily, they provide an array of online protections, as well as antivirus software for your computer.
Combined with LifeLock’s existing service, you’re looking at excellent online and offline protection.
>> More: LifeLock Review
About Costco Complete ID
When you first hear the words “Costco Complete ID,” you’re probably wondering if there’s more than one Costco. Nope!
Costco Complete ID is a white-label service that Costco has subcontracted to major financial companies.
This has allowed them to provide added value to their members without diving into the financial industry on their own.
At the time of this writing, Costco is partnered with Experian. Experian is one of the major credit reporting services.
They’re also experts at both identity theft protection and cybersecurity. As such, they’re well-suited to provide the core of Costco’s service.
In addition to basic identity protection and Social Security monitoring, Costco Complete ID provides a number of other services. These include criminal record monitoring and dark web surveillance.
>> More:Complete ID Review
LifeLock vs. Complete ID Quick Comparison
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So, what exactly can you expect from a LifeLock account? Here’s a quick overview of their service. We’ll look at all four of their pricing tiers, each of which has its own benefits and drawbacks.
LifeLock Plans and Pricing
- Price: $9.99 per month ($11.99 per month after the first year)
The Standard plan is LifeLock’s most basic identity protection plan. It monitors use of your basic vital information, such as your name, address, date of birth, or Social Security number.
Also, it includes Equifax credit monitoring and includes dark web surveillance to look for your personal information. The basic plan also covers any damages you may incur from identity theft, up to a limit of $25,000.
- Price: $9.99 per month ($14.99 per month after the first year)
The Select planis identical to the Standard plan but with one important addition. It includes Norton 360 cybersecurity protection. This includes a VPN service, password manager, and secure cloud backup service.
- Price: $19.99 per month ($24.99 per month after the first year)
The main benefit of the Advantage plan is that it increases your maximum reimbursement amount to $100,000.
It also includes credit and bank alerts, as well as criminal record monitoring. Finally, the VPN service is extended from five devices to 10.
- Price: $29.99 per month ($34.99 per month after the first year)
The Ultimate Plus plan represents LifeLock’s premium offering. With this plan, your reimbursement maximum is raised to $1 million. You also get monitoring at all three credit bureaus, not just Experian.
Minor children can be added to any LifeLock plan at the cost of $5.99 per month per child. That said, there’s no discounted spousal rate. Spouses must have their own account and pay the full price.
- Comprehensive identity protection and monitoring
- Includes Norton protection for your devices
- Multiple protection tiers
- Up to $1 million in reimbursement coverage
- Lower-tier plans only monitor the Experian credit bureau
- High-tier plans are expensive
Complete ID Overview
Costco Complete ID is the same for all members. However, pricing is different depending on the type of Costco account you’re using.
Complete ID Plans and Pricing
- Price: $8.99 per person, per month (children cost $2.99)
Business & Gold Star Members
- Price: $13.99 per person, per month (children cost $3.99)
The main benefit of Complete ID is that it monitors your personal information to see if it’s being used. This includes your name, address, birthday, and Social Security number.
The service will also monitor your bank and credit accounts. If any of this information is used by someone who isn’t you, the attempt will automatically be flagged.
By getting a quick alert, you’ll be better equipped to act before there’s any serious damage.
In addition, Complete ID monitors the dark web for your information. If your credit card number, Social Security number, or other sensitive information is found, you’ll be notified immediately.
Once again, you’ll have the chance to take action before your credit suffers serious damage.
Monitoring your credit is one useful way to determine whether your identity has been stolen. Simply put, if someone applies for a card or a bank account in your name, it’s going to show up on your credit report.
Different reporting services will report different transactions and may report some transactions faster than others.
To ensure that you get the most information as quickly as possible, Complete ID provides monitoring with all three major credit bureaus, not just Experian.
This ensures that you’ll get notified as quickly as possible if anything is amiss.
>> More: What Is Credit Monitoring?
Unfortunately, even when you get notified quickly, identity theft can have consequences. For instance, you may end up having to settle a loan that you never took out.
Complete ID provides up to $1 million in reimbursement protection to help cover this type of damage.
Moreover, Complete ID will also cover the cost of recovering essential documentation. For instance, if you lost your passport, they’ll cover the cost of having it replaced.
LifeLock vs. Complete ID Alternatives
IdentityForceis an app-based identity protection service that’s designed to be as easy to use as possible. You can check your credit and other alerts on the fly and receive push notifications if anything needs your attention.
The credit reporting feature is quite robust, despite the shortage of other features. If you’re looking for a no-frills LifeLock alternative that you can access from your smartphone, IdentityForce is a solid choice.
>> More: IdentityForce Review
#2. Identity Guard
Identity Guardis similar to IdentityForce. It’s an app-based identity protection service you can access from your smartphone.
It’s significantly more robust and includes a desktop interface that offers even more features. You get a full array of identity protection, credit monitoring, and restoration features available directly from your phone.
On the downside, it’s pricier than IdentityForce, but you get what you pay for.
>> More: Identity Guard Review
PrivacyGuard is a comprehensive identity protection service that offers three different tiers. Their most basic tier provides identity protection only, with alerts when your information is stolen.
The second tier provides credit protection only, but not identity protection. The total protection tier is the most expensive but provides all the benefits of both lower tiers.
>> More: Privacy Guard Review
Is Complete ID or Norton LifeLock Better?
It depends on what you’re looking for, as well as on what version of LifeLock you’re using. LifeLock’s top tier services offer far more comprehensive protection.
That said, Complete ID is more affordable. It also offers a million dollars in protection, the same as LifeLock’s Ultimate Plus plan.
Do Norton LifeLock and Complete ID Monitor All Three Credit Bureaus?
Yes. However, Complete ID Monitors all three credit bureaus by default. LifeLock, on the other hand, only monitors Experian reports unless you use the Ultimate Plus plan. At lower tiers, Complete ID wins out.
Bottom Line: Complete ID vs. LifeLock
So, which identity theft protection service is best? If you need excellent identity protection with fewer online features, Complete ID gives you a better value.
That said, it requires a Costco membership, which you may or may not want. Not only that, but LifeLock offers a number of Norton protection features that add a ton of value. It really depends on what you need.