Best free identity theft protection services

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Every day, it seems like there's a new story in the news about someone's identity being stolen. 

You know that you need identity theft protection, but you don't want to spend the money on a paid service. So you might be wondering: How can I protect my identity for free?

There are free ways to protect yourself from identity theft, but it's hard to know who to trust. Many options seem too good to be true, and you don't want to end up falling for a scam.

But we also know that not everyone can afford to pay for identity theft monitoring. That's why we've done the research to find the best free identity theft protection services out there.

We looked at a variety of factors, including the type of protection offered, how easy the service is to use, and customer reviews. We also considered whether the service has any major drawbacks that you should be aware of.

Don't blindly sign up for the first free service you come across – take the time to read this article and find a service that will give you the protection you need without paying a dime. In the end, we also share our best tip for getting the most protection from free ID theft protection services. 

TrueIdentify

Best For: People who want a free identity theft protection service with easy access to lock their TransUnion credit report.

TrueIdentity is a free identity protection service that you can use to monitor and help protect your personal information. It’s powered by TransUnion, which is one of the major credit bureaus. 

Because it’s associated with TransUnion, it makes the product more credible compared to other options offered by less well-known companies.

With TrueIdentity, you can lock your credit report with a single click or swipe. This feature gives you the power to control who can access your credit report conveniently. 

This is a great feature that is quite simple to use, making it one of the best free identity theft protection services for seniors and people who are not too tech-savvy.

So why do you need to lock your credit report? 

Having a locked credit report makes it hard for identity thieves to open new lines of credit in your name. This can help you avoid the financial damage that can be caused by identity theft. 

If you’re actively seeking out loans and you need to unlock your credit report, you can do so with a single click or swipe as well to provide access to creditors.

Another important feature that TrueIdentity offers is instant alerts for identity theft monitoring. 

You’ll receive alerts if your personal information is being used to apply for new credit products, if there are changes to your credit report, or if your personal information is compromised.

Why is this feature useful? For instance, if someone else is trying to get a loan in your name, you'll be alerted so that you can take action to stop them. 

Getting alerts can save you so much time and effort so you won't end up dealing with the problem when it's already too late.

What if you still become a victim of identity theft? The good news is that with this product, you get a $25,000 ID Theft Insurance thrown in. 

This means that if you do become a victim of identity theft, you're covered up to $25,000 in expenses that you may incur. These can include things like lost money, legal fees, and more.

While these features may seem basic, they are actually much better than nothing at all. And the best part? TrueIdentity is a free service where you don't have to pay anything. 

You even get unlimited TransUnion Credit Report refreshes for no extra charge. 

The only drawback of this service is that it only provides access to your TransUnion credit report. It will not be able to detect your credit report from Experian and Equifax. However, this is still a good option if you're looking for free identity theft protection and you want to take advantage of the features that it offers.

PROS

  • FREE servicePowered by TransUnion credit bureau$25,000 ID Theft InsuranceOne-touch your TransUnion credit report lockInstant alertsUnlimited TransUnion credit report refreshNo credit card required

CONS

  • Protection is limited to TransUnion credit reportDoes not include monitoring of financial bank accountsCustomer service complaints from some usersTargeted ads

Credit Sesame 

Best For: People looking for a free identity theft protection plan with high insurance coverage.

Credit Sesame offers free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services. It's a great option if you're looking for free identity theft protection. 

With Credit Sesame, you can enjoy basic credit monitoring features without having to worry about monthly fees.

Credit Sesame was founded in 2010 in California. It offers you free access to your TransUnion credit report in a user-friendly interface. You can also get your credit score for free and refresh it for free every day.

We found the features quite similar to Transunion's TrueIdentity service, albeit with some differences. 

Like TrueIdentity, you're getting only your TransUnion credit report and credit score with a free plan. 

Unfortunately, you won't have access to your FICO credit score or credit reports from Equifax and Experian.

Credit Sesame also offers instant alerts whenever there are changes or attempts to access your credit report. These notifications can help you protect yourself against identity theft and fraud. 

You’ll also be alerted if there are any changes to your personal information, such as your Social Security number or address.

Unlike TrueIdentity, however, Credit Sesame does not offer one-touch credit lock protection. However, what Credit Sesame does have is a higher identity theft insurance coverage. 

Compared to TrueIdentity, you can get double the amount of identity theft coverage at $50,000 when you sign up with Credit Sesame. 

In case you become a victim of identity theft, Credit Sesame's ID Theft Protection feature can help you recover your losses and pay for legal fees.

Credit Sesame also claims that it doesn’t sell your information to third-party advertisers. This can give you an extra layer of guarantee that your information is safe and secure. The site also uses industry-standard mechanisms of encryption used by the government and banks.

Another extra feature that we liked is that it provides you with tailored recommendations on the best credit card, loans, and other financial products that fit your credit profile. Having this information can boost your chances of credit approval.

PROS

  • Free access to TransUnion credit report and credit scoreDaily credit score refresh for free$50,000 identity theft insuranceInstant alerts for changes or attempts to access your credit reportClaims not to see your information to marketing firmsTailored recommendations for the best financial products for you

CONS

  • Protection only limited to TransUnion credit reportNo one-touch credit lock protection like TrueIdentityNo monitoring of financial bank accountsTargeted ads

Credit Karma

Best For: People looking for a free identity theft protection plan with access to both Equifax and TransUnion credit reports.

The first two free identity theft protection services only offer you credit monitoring to your TransUnion credit report. If you're looking for a service that can give you access to one more major credit bureau, Credit Karma is a great option.

Credit Karma gives you access to your Equifax and TransUnion credit reports. This allows you to check and monitor your credit score for free using an easy-to-use interface. 

We think that this feature makes Credit Karma stand out because you get credit report access from two credit bureaus. 

Another feature that you can find useful is the ability to lock your Equifax and TransUnion credit reports. This can help you protect your credit information from identity thieves and fraudsters. You’ll also get notifications when your credit score changes.

Other than that, Credit Karma also offers resources that can help educate you to improve your credit score. There are tailored recommendations for loans and credit cards suitable for your credit profile. 

While you’ll see targeted ads, the company also claims not to sell your information to third-party companies.

Compared to TrueIdentity and Credit Sesame, we found that some notable features are missing. One of the features not offered by Credit Karma is Identity theft insurance protection. It also doesn't have any monitoring for your financial bank accounts.

However, because it’s a free service, we think that it can be a good add-on if you want access to your Equifax credit report. This feature is something the first two products don’t offer.

PROS

  • Free credit monitoringAccess to Equifax and TransUnion credit reportsUser-friendly interface for viewing credit reportsCredit score monitoring and alerts for changesEducational resources to help improve your credit scoreTailored recommendations for loans and credit cards

CONS

  • Only a credit monitoring toolNo identity theft insurance protectionNo monitoring of financial bank accountsNo access to Experian credit reportTargeted ads

AAA ProtectMyID Essential 

Best For: Existing members of AAA who want free identity theft protection and access to their Experian credit report 

If you’re currently a member of AAA, which stands for American Automobile Association, then you're in luck because you can get free identity theft protection with their ProtectMyID Essential service. 

As mentioned, this protection service is only available to AAA members 18 years old or above. AAA partnered with Experian, one of the major credit bureaus, so you get access and control over your Experian credit report.

Like other free tools, the AAA ProtectMyID Essential can help you spot identity theft attempts quickly through credit monitoring

This product allows you to check your Experian credit report for free and spot any suspicious activity. You’ll also get alerts when there are any changes or new inquiries on your credit report.

In addition to that, this product provides a Lost Wallet Protection feature. 

We believe that this is a great add-on because you can easily replace all your missing credit, debit, and medical cards from your lost wallet with just one phone call.

Fraud Resolution Support is another feature we liked that ProtectMyID Essential offers. This feature  can help you deal with identity theft if it happens. 

If you have an issue, a U.S.-based Fraud Resolution Agent will work with you step-by-step throughout the resolution process.

For AAA Premier members, you can get an additional $10,000 in identity theft insurance protection, which can help you cover certain expenses related to identity theft. We didn’t like that this is not available for non-Premier AAA members, though. 

There are some drawbacks to this product as well. We think that one of the main drawbacks is that it's only available to AAA members. This means that if you’re not an AAA member, you’ll not be able to get this product for free

Another drawback is that it only offers Experian credit monitoring. You’ll not be able to monitor your credit report from other credit bureaus, such as Equifax and TransUnion.

If you already have an AAA membership anyway, we recommend that you combine this product with other free credit monitoring services to get a complete picture of your credit profile from the three major credit bureaus.

PROS

  • Free for AAA membersAccess to Experian credit reportCredit monitoringAlerts for changes on the credit reportLost Wallet Protection featureFraud Resolution Support$10,000 identity theft insurance protection (for AAA Premier members)

CONS

  • No access to Equifax and TransUnion credit reportsOnly available for AAA membersID Theft Insurance is only for AAA Premier members

Experian Identity Protection Plan 

Best For: People looking for a free identity theft protection service who want access to their FICO score 

Experian is one of the three major credit bureaus. It also offers free identity theft protection with its Identity Protection Plan.

With this product, you get access to your Experian credit report and FICO score. You’ll also be alerted if there are any changes or new inquiries on your Experian credit report. You can also track and monitor your FICO score by signing up for this service.

If you're waiting to hear about other features and exciting highlights, we believe that you're in for a disappointment. 

We noticed that this service doesn’t have a lock feature, no ID theft insurance, and no lost wallet protection. In short, it doesn’t have any extra features that other free services offer. 

To be quite straightforward, we believe that this product is probably the most basic of all the identity protection services on this list. 

However, we still included it in the list because it offers FICO score access and monitoring, a feature which is not present in most of the other free services. 

We then recommend this for people who need access to their FICO score without wanting to pay for it.

PROS

  • Free for AAA membersAccess to Experian credit reportCredit monitoringAlerts for changes on the credit reportLost Wallet Protection featureFraud Resolution Support$10,000 identity theft insurance protection (for AAA Premier members)

CONS

  • No lock feature
  • No ID theft insurance
  • o lost wallet protection
  • o access to TransUnion and Equifax credit reports

Who has the best free identity theft program?

If you’re not willing to pay for identity theft protection, or perhaps you find the paid options too costly, you can opt for a free service. 

But which one from this list is the best? As you can see, there’s no perfect free identity theft monitoring and protection service.

Each of the services we listed has its own pros and cons. This means that the best service for you will depend on what you need. 

If you need to access and monitor your FICO score, for example, you can go with the Experian free service. 

That will not, however, give you extra features like identity theft insurance or lock features.

What we recommend

Combine two or three of these free services to get more comprehensive protection. This will give you a better chance of detecting and preventing identity theft.

Are there downsides to free ID theft protection services?

Getting a free identity theft protection service is not all rainbows and butterflies. While you don't have to pay anything for the service, there are some drawbacks that you need to be aware of.

For starters, most of these services only offer basic credit report monitoring and tracking. Only a few will offer you ID theft insurance, and not all will give comprehensive alerts on the identity theft dangers that may be lurking around.

You may have to use a combination of two or three products to get more comprehensive protection. This can be quite a hassle, which is why some people just opt to pay for an all-in-one service that will give them everything they need. 

But if you don't have the budget for paid services, you just have to do the extra work.

But all in all, free identity theft protection is still better than nothing at all. It's much better to have some sort of protection rather than leaving yourself completely vulnerable to identity theft.

Do you need identity theft protection?

Yes, you need some form of identity theft protection. As we've mentioned, identity theft is a very real threat, and it can happen to anyone. It's not something that you can just ignore and hope goes away.

Many people have the misconception that identity theft only victimizes people with a lot of money or people who aren’t careful with their personal information. This is not true. 

Identity theft can happen to anyone, regardless of how much money you have or how careful you’re with your personal information.

According to one study, there's a victim of identity theft every two seconds! This is very alarming, so the best way to protect yourself is to be proactive about it. You need to take steps to prevent identity theft from happening, and this includes signing up for identity theft protection.

Final thoughts

So there you have it, our rundown of the best free identity theft protection services that you can get. We hope you found this helpful and that you’ll now be able to choose the right service for you.

Remember that any protection is still better than no protection at all, so even if you have to use a combination of services to get comprehensive protection, it's still worth the effort.

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