LifeLock Ultimate is both a solid credit report monitoring service and a full-featured identity theft protection service. Subscribers will benefit from 3-bureau credit monitoring and annual 3-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 3-bureau credit report annually.
LifeLock Ultimate’s combination of credit report monitoring, monthly TransUnion credit scores and proactive identity theft protection is $20.63 per month with an annual prepay, or $22.50 per month if you choose to pay monthly. Although this price is a bit steeper than other credit monitoring services we review, LifeLock Ultimate’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.
LifeLock also offers protection for children with LifeLock Junior. This plan allows you to add your children to an existing adult’s LifeLock or LifeLock Ultimate plan for only $5.09/month or $56.09/year — including the 15 percent discount. LifeLock Junior monitors for your child’s information on applications for credit cards, wireless services, retail credit, utilities, mortgages, auto and payday loans, and alerts you if suspicious activity is detected. It also monitors your child’s Social Security number to verify that no credit files are associated with it, and scans more than 10,000 criminal websites on the Internet black market to verify that your child’s personal information is not being sold. Since children and young adults often use peer-to-peer sharing websites, LifeLock also searches these networks for exposure of your child’s personal information. And, in the event that your child is a victim of identity theft as a member of LifeLock Junior, your child will be protected by LifeLock’s $1 million guarantee.
redit Monitoring & Credit Information
Upon signing up for LifeLock Ultimate’s 30-day free trial, you’ll instantly receive credit reports and scores from all 3 credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. This is great information, and should be looked at very carefully for any discrepancies or errors. Reviewing your credit reports is a good way to locate any evidence of identity theft or fraud.
LifeLock will also begin daily monitoring of your credit reports at all 3 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 3-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 3-bureau monitoring and annual 3-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 3 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 uses the TransRisk credit scoring model provided to them by TransUnion. It’s not a score model that we’ve had much experience with, so we’re unable to comment on how it relates to FICO scores or more widely recognized credit score brands. The TransRisk range of 300 to 850 is the same as what FICO uses, and subscribers are clearly informed whether their score is considered ‘excellent’, ‘very good’, ‘average’, ‘fair’ or ‘poor’. The monthly scores are also color-coded by credit risk level to further differentiate them.
Identity Theft Protection
LifeLock Ultimate 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 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 reduces pre-approved credit offers with your name on it from circulating, thereby reducing your chance of having your identity stolen.
LifeLock Ultimate includes WalletLock, a lost wallet remediation service that helps to cancel and replace credit and debit cards. If your wallet is ever stolen, you just call LifeLock and speak to a WalletLock specialist, who will contact each credit card, bank or document issuing company; cancel your affected accounts; and complete the paperwork and steps necessary to replace your lost documents, including your credit/debit cards, driver’s license, Social Security card, insurance cards, checkbook – even travelers checks – at no additional cost.
If you discover that there has been an attempt to open a fraudulent account in your name, LifeLock Ultimate 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.
LifeLock Ultimate’s guarantee* is one of the best out of any of the top companies for identity protection. They guarantee your good name up to $1 million if your identity is ever stolen. While this guarantee is great, direct monetary losses from identity theft are almost always much smaller since you are not legally responsible for paying any fraudulent debt a thief accumulated. The real cost of identity theft is the loss of ability to get credit for an extended period of time, the time and effort it takes to restore your good name, and many other adverse consequences that can even include mistaken incarceration.
Overall, LifeLock Ultimate is a very good solution for monitoring 3-bureau credit reports. Subscribers will also receive one-time 3-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 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.