Lookout identity protection review: How does it protect you?

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Like most digital natives, you likely use your smartphone for several everyday tasks, from answering work emails to chatting with friends.

However, smartphone usage also has several risks. Statistics show that 80% of smartphone users leave their personal information unprotected.

Knowing the cybersecurity threats, you decide to improve your data privacy. And while researching mobile security tools, you come across a popular app called Lookout.

At a glance, it seems legit. Although you don’t mind paying for a premium account, you want to test whether Lookout meets your security needs first.

Luckily, we can help with your research. Our team perused official Lookout resources, independent review websites, and legit user testimonials to create an in-depth, extensive review of Lookout.

By the end of this piece, you’ll know whether to get Lookout or continue searching for mobile security apps.

Please read without skipping. We’ll share a damaging, outdated misconception hampering users from downloading Lookout—or any other mobile antivirus app, for that matter. Remember: baseless assumptions create unnecessary risks.

Let’s dive into our Lookout identity protection review!

Key takeaways

  • Lookout is a free antivirus app, but you’ll get ID theft prevention and data breach monitoring services once you upgrade.
  • You can remotely erase your phone’s memory or pinpoint its exact location using Lookout’s desktop app.
  • Lookout can’t scan for malware on iOS devices.
  • Lookout’s ID theft prevention system scans the deep, dark, and surface web, but it can’t monitor offline records (i.e., police reports, credit reports, loan applications).
  • If you need an all-around mobile security tool that will protect your Android device and its contents, Lookout might suit your needs. 
  • Download Lookout for free first before upgrading to a premium account. Get a feel of the app yourself.

What is Lookout?

Lookout is a widely known mobile antivirus program. It provides free anti-malware protection, but you’ll also get identity theft prevention and data breach monitoring services if you upgrade to a premium account.

White-hat hackers John Hering, Kevin Mahaffey, and James Burgess launched Lookout’s beta version in 2009. However, the smartphone app became commercially available around 2010.

Lookout key features

Lookout is available on both the App Store and Google Play. We’ll discuss the plans and pricing later, but prepare to shell out a couple of bucks every month if you want Lookout’s full ID theft prevention and mobile security package.

However, don’t upgrade right off the bat. To ensure that you get your money’s worth, go through the following features first and assess whether they meet your cybersecurity needs:

1. Malware detection

Lookout provides free anti-malware services. It routinely scans your smartphone and warns you if it detects anything unusual (i.e., junk files, malware, spyware apps).

Also, the app does basic diagnostic scans. You’ll get a push notification if it detects bloatware apps or files crippling system performance, which Lookout can easily resolve.

However, note that you can’t do malware scans on iOS devices. You’ll still get limited system diagnostics, but Apple generally prohibits third-party apps from accessing too many system resources.

2. ID theft monitoring

Once you upgrade to a premium account, you’ll get ID theft prevention. The app will scan various pages on the deep, dark, and surface web for any mentions of your personal information.

Based on reviews, Lookout does a good job with internet scans. You’ll receive prompt, real-time updates if the system detects a data breach or cyberattack involving your data.

However, it can’t scan offline documents. Unfortunately, you’ll need another tool to monitor court orders, police records, and credit reports for unusual activities.

3. Data breach reports

The law requires companies to report data breaches compromising the information of their clients and employees. However, shady groups will try to keep things under wraps.

If you get involved with them, you might not even know that your data has already been stolen, thus preventing you from performing ID restoration.

Lookout ensures you’re up-to-date with all potential data leaks and breaches by constantly scanning online resources. The scope and limits of its reports depend on the information you provide.

4. ID restoration assistance

Lookout provides emergency ID restoration assistance 24/7. It can’t miraculously recover your compromised personal data after just one call, but at least you’ll know the first steps to take.

Trust us—filing the right reports goes a long way in damage mitigation. For instance, even if a crook has your credit card information, they can’t use it if you’ve already talked to your card-issuing bank.

You can call Lookout’s hotline for assistance if you:

  • Lost your phone, wallet, or government ID
  • Were recently involved in a data breach
  • Had your social media or email accounts hacked
  • Feel iffy about the institutions that know your SSN

5. ID theft insurance

The mid-range and premier Lookout plans come with ID theft insurance. Although the underwriting team could approve you for up to $1 million worth of coverage, expect lower limits depending on your insurability.

At a glance, insurance coverage sounds nice. However, please know that dozens of credit monitoring apps offer ID theft insurance, so it’s not a special or unique component.

It’s best to assess the company’s claims process. Look for insurers that are as quick to grant claims benefits as they approve new policies.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find enough verified reviews discussing Lookout’s claims process to make an educated guess. 

However, the company has demonstrated excellent financial stability in the past decade. It likely won’t go bankrupt from a few insurance claims.

6. Phone locator

Lookout has several ways to track your phone, including:

Email Alerts
Lookout will email you the phone’s current GPS location every time its battery level drops to a certain percentage. You’ll get an alert whether you have the phone or not.
GPS Finder
You can track your phone’s current location using Lookout’s desktop version. Sadly, we don’t think this feature is useful because iOS and Android devices already have Find My iPhone and Find My Device, respectively.
Modified Ringer
You can set your phone to produce a loud, blaring sound even if it’s on silent using Lookout’s desktop app. Use this feature if you misplace your phone.

If you can’t find your phone anymore, assume that your personal information has already been compromised and call Lookout’s hotline. Proceed with ID restoration as soon as possible.

7. Social media tracking

You can link your social media accounts to Lookout for monitoring. It will track them for unusual activities, potential data privacy leaks, and phishing links.

For instance, let’s say you hook up your Facebook account. Right from the get-go, Lookout will scan your About sections and gauge if you’re sharing too much information.

Unfortunately, we didn’t find this feature impressive. Common sense will tell you what you can and can’t post online, and you can just delete your About sections altogether.

8. Phone theft protection

Lookout has several anti-theft features. Again, Lookout has GPS tracking features, so you can quickly pinpoint your phone’s location.

However, what if the crook that has your phone is actively hiding from you? Instead of wasting your gas money trying to chase them, we suggest using Lookout to access your device remotely.

If the thief is still within the vicinity, you can set your phone to produce a loud, blaring sound, which will work even on silent. That way, you’ll catch the crook red-handed.

You can also set Lookout to take pictures of everyone that attempts to log in to your phone and bypass your passcode. Afterward, send the snapshots to the local authorities.

Alternatively, if you don’t care about your phone and just want to prevent ID theft, use Lookout to wipe your device remotely. 

9. Safe browsing and Wi-Fi

Lookout’s premium plans come with Safe Browsing and Wi-Fi. They generally use AES-128 encryption keys to scramble traffic requests, making them indecipherable to third parties.

Safe browsing and Wi-Fi help minimize digital footprints. However, we can’t commend Lookout for them because VPN services still provide superior internet surfing anonymity.

Don’t get us wrong—they’re nifty features. We just think they yield negligible benefits, especially since you can easily download VPN apps for free.

Lookout plans and pricing

After discussing Lookout’s features, it’s time to assess the available packages. Although the entry-level and mid-range plans don’t offer everything we listed above, they still provide decent mobile security.

However, you might notice that Lookout no longer lists its plans on its website. You’ll have to download the app and view your options at the checkout page, which many find inconvenient.

Lucky for you, we can help. We researched independent tech review sites and tried the app ourselves to make an in-depth list of Lookout’s plans and pricing models.

Generally, the app has three packages, namely:

Basic

Cost: Free

You can download Lookout on your Android or iOS device for free. The basic plan offers malware detection and resolution, standard diagnostic reports, GPS tracking, and phone alarm features.

If you have an Android device, try using Lookout for basic anti-malware services. 

Admittedly, it won’t resolve all viruses. But based on reviews, it has a sophisticated system that detects most threats and risks.

At the very least, you’ll know when to watch out for malware.

Lookout also runs on iOS devices. However, we don’t think the free iOS version is very helpful since it only does limited system diagnostic reports; it can’t even scan for malware.

Premium

Cost: $29.99 per year

Once you upgrade to a Premium account, you’ll get all of Lockout’s free features, plus the anti-theft components we listed above. They focus on keeping crooks away from your phone.

For instance, we like that the Premium account lets you take snapshots of everyone who makes login attempts on your phone. That way, you’ll know who is eyeing your property.

Moreover, a Premium account comes with lock-and-wipe and GPS tracking features, which you can use if thieves run away with your phone. Remember: local authorities can provide better assistance if they have leads on the perp.

Despite these additional features, we still don’t think the Premium account provides value for your money. Most of its features are already available on your device for free, after all.

For instance, Android phones have GPS tracking apps, Apple has Find my iPhone, and you can set most modern smartphones to reset after several incorrect login attempts.

Premium Plus

Cost: $99.99 per year

The Premium Plus stands as Lookout’s premier package. It comes with all the features found in the Basic and Premium plans, plus ID theft prevention.

Based on reviews, the most functional components of the Premium Plus package are data breach monitoring, ID theft restoration support, and insurance protection. You’ll receive real-time warnings if the system detects your personal information in a breach.

Compared to the other Lookout plans available, we think Premium Plus provides the most value for your money. However, note that it has redundant, useless features and lacks in certain areas.

For instance, it doesn’t monitor credit reports. Although you can quickly request them from credit bureaus, it would be nice if your mobile security tool streamlined the process.

Lookout user experience

Dozens of apps promise anti-malware and ID theft prevention. A quick Google search will reveal several programs, from free beta versions to premium plans from widely known brands.

However, how will you know which one to use? Should you just go with the most popular app available? Of course, not!

Don’t blindly entrust Lookout with your data privacy needs. We can help you gain insights into the overall user experience it provides by assessing the following factors:

Mobile app user interface

The app has a relatively simple, straightforward design. It sends notifications in real time, the system presents solutions to every malware threat detected, plus you can toggle on/off most features.

Lookout is also up to date with the market’s needs. Google Play and App Store state that the latest versions were released in August 2022, so you can rest assured developers are constantly improving the app.

For instance, Lookout wasn’t the most efficient anti-malware app when it came out a decade ago. However, it has significantly evolved over the years.

With that said, we still noticed comments within the tech community saying mobile antivirus apps like Lookout compromise system performance. They call these programs bloatware.

Important: Contrary to popular belief, the app’s latest version consumes minuscule system resources. You can leave it running 24/7 without worrying about your phone’s battery life, processing speed, or storage space.

Moreover, smartphones have come a long way since the early 2000s. They don’t lag as quickly anymore, especially if you use newer iOS and Android devices.

Don’t let outdated misconceptions stop you from downloading anti-malware apps. Trust us—if your smartphone can run social media and streaming apps simultaneously, it can likely run anti-malware systems as well.

Platform functionality

Lookout offers all-around mobile security. Its free plan scans your smartphone for malware threats, while the premium version also provides advanced ID theft monitoring.

Based on the reviews we read, Lookout effectively combats ID theft risks. It has a sophisticated system that scours the deep and dark web for unusual transactions and activities involving your personal information.

However, users weren’t too fond of the Lookout’s anti-malware component. Although the app spots and resolves most malware, several threats still slip past its defenses.

ID theft assistance

Lookout primarily focuses on ID theft prevention. It scours the dark web for stolen data, monitors your social media profiles for potential risks, and even helps you locate your phone if it goes missing.

Unfortunately, you can’t wholly eliminate ID theft risks. And as a consumer, you need a mobile security app that guarantees support no matter what happens.

Luckily, based on the reviews we read, Lookout fits the bill.

It has a 24-hour hotline available for basic personal data recovery support and initial damage mitigation. Keep crooks from extracting more of your information.

Lookout will also assign a specialist to assist you throughout the recovery process. That way, you won’t have to explain your situation to a new hotline agent every time you call.

Also, you can recoup some, if not all, of your losses. Depending on the claims processing team that handles your case, you can get up to $1 million of reimbursed funds.

Versatility and practicality

Lookout offers an array of features. Only a handful of anti-malware service providers also offer PII monitoring, data breach tracking, malware detection, and ID theft prevention as add-on services.

However, Lookout’s functionality is limited to smartphones. Although it runs on desktops and cloud storage apps, you can only use it to supplement your mobile security system.

Also, several features don’t work on iOS devices. For instance, Lookout can’t scan for malware threats because Apple has rigid restrictions against third-party app accessibility.

Of course, you can override the iOS limits by jailbreaking your device. However, we don’t think it’s worth the hassle.

Best Lookout alternatives

We just finished discussing the features of all Lookout plans. By now, you should at least have an idea of whether Lookout suits your everyday mobile security needs or not.

If it does, try downloading the app. The entry-level plan costs nothing, plus you can cancel your subscription after a month or two should you change your mind.

However, if Lookout doesn’t suit your needs, explore other apps. To jumpstart your research, we made a brief roundup of alternative malware protection and ID theft prevention programs, including:

Optery

Optery can help you remove all your personal information online. It scans data brokerage sites that farm consumer data and forces them to take down everything involving you.

Depending on your plan, you can remove your info from up to 220 sites. Also, the scans will happen routinely every month.

The entry-level and premier plans cost $119.88 and $299.88, respectively. However, you can try Optery’s self-service tool for free.

Norton

The Norton 360 with LifeLock is a one-stop-shop cybersecurity solution for the average consumer. It provides everything from malware detection to credit score tracking. 

Unlike Lookout, its ID theft monitoring system goes beyond online records; it also scans court orders, police reports, and credit reports. 

Plus, you’ll get several extra features like VPN surfing, stolen wallet protection, and parental device control.

Plans start at $104.99 to $349.99 per annum. However, Norton holds year-long sales where you can shave 15% to 50% off your first year’s bill.

McAfee

If you want a more comprehensive mobile security tool but don’t want to drop $300+ on Norton, try McAfee. The prices range from $129.99 to $179.99 per annum.

Like Lookout, it offers both malware detection and ID theft prevention. However, it also scans your credit score and credit report for unusual activities, although it doesn’t touch other offline documents like court or police records.

Also, you’ll get several extra add-on features. McAfee comes with a VPN, firewall, password manager, and file shredder.

Feel free to explore other antivirus programs that offer ID theft protection. Just make sure to vet their company first; otherwise, you might end up with a shady team that farms client information.

Using Lookout for all-around mobile security

Overall, Lookout is a helpful mobile security tool. It offers mobile anti-theft features, ID theft protection, insurance coverage, and data breach monitoring.

However, whether or not Lookout suits you depends on your lifestyle. 

Again, it primarily focuses on protecting your phone, plus the app’s full features only work on Android. If you carry confidential information on your smartphone, you might like Lookout.

However, if you use an iOS device or primarily store private documents on your laptop, PC, or cloud storage system, you should consider exploring other options instead.

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