Identity theft protection is essential for everyone in the age of digital content, but it’s even more critical for seniors for several reasons. Cybercriminals tend to target seniors heavily because they see them as easy marks. Seniors have access to retirement accounts, they are frequent users of medical services, and they use government services. All of these are things that criminals that scammers can get access to and use themselves if they have access to an individual’s identity.
In many situations, seniors are easier to take advantage of because they are less technically savvy or may have mental health issues such as dementia. Fear can also be an issue, such as fear of the IRS or being afraid that a grandchild is in trouble. Unfortunately, identity thieves prey on these fears to steal information about accounts, passwords, and social security information. Identity protection services can help guard against this.
What to Look For/Consider
There are several identity theft protection services on the market, all offering various levels of service. There are a few things you should look for in any identity theft protection service:
- Credit reports from at least one of the three major credit bureaus with an option for all three
- Easy access to customer service for any questions
- Dark web monitoring
- Restoration services if identity is stolen
- Monitoring of passwords and personal information online
- Mobile monitoring app
- Identity theft insurance covering losses of up to a million dollars
Identity Theft Protection for Seniors
We took a look at several identity theft services and chose a few that focus on the needs of seniors. All of these have excellent ratings with both users and the Better Business Bureau.
LifeLock offers four levels of coverage starting at $9.99 a month and going up to $29.99 a month. They are the only identity monitoring company currently offering a special program for older individuals (their LifeLock Senior plan). If a parent has dementia or other mental health issues, an adult child or guardian can be alerted about suspicious activity such as unusual credit card activity or crimes committed in the individual’s name. LifeLock also provides a monthly, Experian credit score.
- Range of plans for various price points
- Insurance coverage up to $1 million available
- Exceptional customer service and support
- Norton Antivirus
- Will help you repair and restore your identity if it is stolen
- Direct contact with various law enforcement organizations ensure quick resolution of problems
- Standard plan has minimal coverage without SSN monitoring
- Family plans aren’t available, so couples have to buy two plans
Final Thought: LifeLock offers the broadest range of coverage and the quickest response times of any identity theft protection service available. If you can afford their top tier coverage, go for it.
This is a relative newcomer to the identity protection marketplace, but they offer a solid menu of services at very reasonable prices for those on a budget. They are also getting a lot of good press for their customer service and support. They offer three levels of coverage, with the essentials available for just $6.99 per month. You’ll receive alerts with this plan any time an account is opened with your name or social security number, and it’s accurate and efficient. This is, however, a cloud-based platform, so there’s no password management capability for your desktop.
- Dark web monitoring at all levels
- Three levels of coverage
- Family plans are available
- Insurance available up to $1 million
- Social media monitoring with the top-tier plan
- Relative newcomer
- Doesn’t have a lot of extras
- Cloud-based, so no desktop capabilities
Final Thought: This is has a good basic option to protect your identity online, but it won’t protect your passwords.
If you want an impressive selection of options, Identity Force might be the right fit for you. They offer real-time alerts and fraud monitoring across multiple platforms and $1 million in insurance coverage on even their most economical plans. Their customer service consistently gets high marks, and they offer a free, two-week trial. If you lose your wallet or have it stolen, they will even take care of canceling all your credit cards.
- Lots of extras available
- All plans include $1 million in coverage
- 24/7 customer service & support
- Medical ID fraud alerts
- Anti-key logging protection
- Mobile app
- Personal resolution specialist if identity is stolen
- No anti-virus software
- Family plans only available over the phone
Final Thought: A variety of options and good coverage, but no anti-virus coverage, so weight your options. Good customer service.
Our Top Pick
LifeLock is one of the industry leaders because so many people love their service. Their customer service representatives are highly trained and work closely with the FBI and other law enforcement officials to have your identity restored. They will also provide you with an attorney if needed and protect your retirement account with their Ultimate Plus Plan. LifeLock offers unique services that cater to the needs of seniors to protect them from phishing scams and identity theft schemes targeting them, and they back it up with experience.
Identity Force offers one of the most comprehensive plans available and has some thoughtfully crafted extras like protection against keystroke logging and security of your medical records, which can be a real concern for seniors on Medicare. Their UltraSecure plan is their most expensive but is still reasonable at $12.99 per person or $24.90 per family and has truly impressive coverage, including everything from monitoring of court records to payday loans in addition to more traditional fraud alerts and dark web monitoring.
Identity Defense offers basic coverage if you want to test the waters, you’re on a budget of you don’t have a huge online presence. Their $14.99 Complete plan includes fraud and dark web monitoring as well as credit scores, social insight reports, and alerts of any attempts at bank account takeovers or transfers. While the company is relatively new, they have a good track record so far.
In today’s digital world, protecting your identity will continue to become more important in the future. If you aren’t sure how much protection you need, talk to family members or friends who already have protection or are familiar with these types of services. Discuss how many accounts you have, what types of accounts, and what kinds of transactions you handle online or over the phone (without revealing any personal information, of course!). The right level protection is a combination of what you need, what you can afford, and what will help you sleep soundly at night!