ADT Identity Theft Protection Review
Though you probably know ADT best from all the signs in people's yards, this long-standing security company also offers digital services. ADT Identity Theft Protection is the cheapest offering on the market right now, yet remains comprehensive, as you can read in this review.
ADT has been around for a long time, founded in 1874 as a telegraph-based alert system by Edward A. Calahan. He had the idea after a burglar broke into the home of Elisha Andrews, the president of the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company.
Since then, ADT has continued to provide security systems for homes and businesses, but just recently got into the identity theft protection realm. In this ADT Identity Theft Protection review, we’re going to see if it has the chops to make it onto our best identity theft protection list.
Released in 2018, ADT Identity Theft Protection aims to provide essential coverage at a reasonable price. Part of the “Digital Security” range, Identity Theft Protection is the only product currently available in the suite, though ADT plans to release home network protection and a virtual private network in the future.
As a start to the range, Identity Theft Protection is impressive, though it’s missing some critical features. Social media monitoring isn’t included, and some of the educational resources are difficult to find. However, those issues are easy to overlook considering how inexpensive the service is.
For the price, ADT Identity Theft Protection is packed with features. As we’ll get into in the next section, ADT doesn’t offer multiple tiers of protection. Rather, everything is included in the base tier, and for a good price, at that. What would otherwise be a stock features list looks far more impressive considering the rate.
Core protection consists of monitoring your credit cards, bank accounts, social security number, passport, driver’s license, medical insurance, address and more. In addition to tracking the use of your information, ADT also watches the dark web for potential fraud, which is a breeding ground for cybercrime.
If anything shows up, you’ll be notified through your online dashboard, which we’ll talk more about in the “ease of use” section below. In addition to dashboard alerts, you can also set up email notifications and mobile notifications. Unfortunately, there isn’t a mobile app, so mobile alerts are only through text.
ADT’s monitoring is backed up by $1,000,000 in reimbursement for any expenses related to identity theft, should your identity be stolen. No matter when the news strikes, ADT has resolution specialists waiting to help you, too. You can call ADT around the clock for assistance on regaining control of your identity.
What sets ADT’s price apart is that it includes an annual credit report from Experian. You can also monitor your credit score monthly from your dashboard. Although these are huge inclusions for the price, there isn’t an option to purchase a credit report from all three credit bureaus.
Some other features are missing, too, namely social media monitoring and insight. Some identity theft protection services, such as Identity Guard, include a social insight report that monitors how you use your personal information on social media and if that usage puts you at risk.
ADT doesn’t talk much about social media, instead monitoring areas such as court records and the USPS National Change of Address database. Although those are essential areas to cover, social media monitoring is only becoming more important.
ADT Identity Theft Protection Features Overview
ADT has the cheapest identity theft protection service we’ve seen. Although you can save a couple bucks with Identity Guard’s “economy” plan — read about that in our Identity Guard review — it doesn’t offer the features that ADT does. Namely, ADT includes an annual credit report and score from Experian.
| ADT Identity Theft Protection|
That’s huge compared to services like LifeLock, which charges nearly $25 more per month than ADT for a tri-bureau report (read our LifeLock review).
Although you’re not getting reports and scores from Equifax and Transunion, you’re saving a lot of money with ADT. Even compared to reasonably priced services, such as IdentityForce, ADT shines (read our IdentityForce review).
There’s only one plan to choose from, but you can add up to five members to that plan. The price doesn’t decrease as the user count goes up, but given how inexpensive ADT is, that’s not too big of a concern. ADT keeps your billing cycle simple, too. You’re charged once per month until you cancel.
We appreciate the straightforward approach, though it can be disappointing when it comes time to check out. ADT doesn’t offer discounts on its identity theft protection, meaning you can’t purchase a year upfront to save a few bones. The price is low enough that it doesn’t matter in most cases, but an annual plan would still be nice to see.
The low rate impacts some other aspects of the pricing, though. For instance, there isn’t a concrete refund policy. We reached out to a support agent who said we’d need to call the customer relations department for more information. After scouring the website, we found no mention of refunds.
It’s likely that refunds are processed on a case-by-case basis, which, for most people, means there isn’t a refund policy. The straightforward approach carries through even there. You get what you pay for, for as long as you decide to pay for it. However, you also get a fully featured service at a reasonable price.
ADT, despite offering multiple security services, keeps its website streamlined. From the homepage, you can find the identity theft protection service under the “products and solutions” tab. From there, there’s no fussing about with choosing a plan. All you need to do is click “buy now” to get started.
Checkout is simple, with a few screens asking you to enter basic billing information and confirm payment. ADT doesn’t ask you to enter any personal information before completing your purchase. In fact, after confirming payment, you’ll need to wait while ADT gets your enrollment ready, which, as we saw in our ID Watchdog review, is probably a good thing.
It took just shy of an hour for our enrollment email to arrive, which told us to register an account to receive protection. Registration is simple, with ADT requiring your name, email address, password and a couple of security questions. This setup process is just for creating an ADT account, though. You’ll need to do a little more work to start your protection.
After signing up, you’ll be booted to the dashboard, which shows your available services. For identity theft protection, that includes four options: expense recovery, identity protection, incident resolution and the knowledge center. In order to protect yourself, you’ll need to click the “use now” button under the identity protection box, which isn’t clarified.
From there, you’ll be brought to a different enrollment screen that uses the same username and password as your standard ADT account. Here, you’ll set up your identity theft protection, including entering your social security number and date of birth, as well as answering some security questions.
ADT’s enrollment process isn’t difficult, but it is frustrating. Where you need to go and what you need to do isn’t clarified, and with separate dashboards for your ADT account and identity theft protection, the system can quickly get confusing. The split between two dashboard causes some issues after setup, too.
The main issue comes from the fact that you’ll need to constantly log in to two areas. You’ll first have to log in to the ADT dashboard, where you can view your active services, then log in to the identity theft dashboard to view alerts and add additional information.
Although we can understand having a unifying dashboard, given how many services ADT offers, it presents a lot of hoops to jump through when using the service.
For instance, if you receive an alert and need to contact ADT about potential identity theft, you’ll have to bounce back to the ADT dashboard, but you’ll need to be logged into the identity theft dashboard to see the alert in the first place.
It’d be one thing if everything related to identity theft was in one dashboard, while another held your overall ADT account information, but that isn’t the case.
Some features, such as expense recovery and incident resolution, are in the main dashboard, while alerts are in the identity theft one. With the back and forth, you need to have two tabs constantly open to get anything accomplished, which is made all the more frustrating, considering you’ll be signed out of both after 15 minutes of inactivity.
That said, the identity dashboard is easy to get around. ADT shows your credit score, any new alerts, your current reports, some FAQs and your monthly alerts. It’s easy to jump around and find reports for the different areas ADT monitors, as well as add new information in the “edit profile” section.
ADT, as mentioned in the “features” section above, displays the core tenets of any good identity theft protection service, and for a reasonable price. However, there are some protection features missing, which explains the lower-than-average rate. ADT will keep you protected when it comes to the dark web and public records, but outside of that, you’re still vulnerable.
The most obvious omission is social media protection, but more than that, some sort of risk management system. Protecting yourself from identity theft is all about managing risk, no matter how thorough the monitoring of suspicious activity is. ADT doesn’t present any metric for measuring your risk in your dashboard, which could mean you’re unintentionally putting your identity in danger.
Preventive measures are, at best, difficult to find. There’s no information about keeping your personal information safe inside the dashboard. Rather, ADT works in the background, scanning some meaningful areas, but missing other critical areas in the process.
The price is good, and although we can praise ADT for how much it offers at the going rate, you’re still getting what you pay for.
ADT is more focused on if something happens, not preventing it in the first place, and on that front, it succeeds. Your plan comes with $1,000,000 in funds reimbursement and around-the-clock identity theft restoration services. At the very least, if your identity is stolen while using ADT, you’ll have plenty of help getting it restored.
There are preventive tools, though that’s not apparent. Through the knowledge center, which we’ll talk more about in the next section, you can view articles about preventing identity theft. You can also measure your risk with its RiskCompass tool, which will present a risk score based on your answers to some basic questions.
It’s possible, if not likely, to miss these tools completely, which is as good as not including them. RiskCompass, for example, is offered exclusively through the knowledge center, despite the fact that it’s a tool specifically made for identity theft protection. For that reason, it would make sense to include it in the identity theft dashboard, not in the support area.
The easiest way to find support is through the ADT dashboard. There’s a phone number displayed in the identity theft dashboard, but that’s it. Through the regular dashboard, though, you can open the knowledge center, which, as mentioned above, includes support as well as tools to prevent identity theft.
Terms like “knowledgebase” and “knowledge center” are usually hyperbolic, as these areas are just support resources. However, ADT earns the moniker. The knowledge center is a place to, well, gain knowledge. ADT provides tips for keeping yourself protected, resources for contacting financial institutions and more.
The knowledge center is just that, though. There aren’t any true support resources there. For instance, the FAQ includes questions like “what is a data breach” but doesn’t talk about managing your account or getting set up with the service.
A traditional knowledgebase is offered through the help center, and unfortunately, there isn’t a link to it in your dashboard. You’ll have to navigate back to the main website, which uses a different URL from the dashboard, and click on the “support” button in the top bar of site.
The topics covered are useful, though basic, such as how to view your billing history or change your service. Although we appreciate segmenting out a knowledge center for identity theft protection, it’s difficult bouncing between two areas for support. Much like the two dashboards for managing your account, finding self-help resources can feel cumbersome.
However, contacting ADT is anything but. No matter where you are on the site, ADT constantly reminds you that you can call any time. The number presented on the site is a general support line that’s available around the clock. If you need help with identity restoration, there’s a separate number, which you can view in your dashboard.
If you have a simple question, you can always reach out over live chat, too. ADT offers around-the-clock live chat, which you can initiate through the bubble on the bottom-right of the main website. We reached out a handful of times during the course of this review and were always met with a response in less than a minute.
ADT Identity Theft Protection is an inexpensive and effective identity theft protection service for most purposes. If you want insurance that will protect you if your identity is stolen and that will monitor public records and the dark web for a reasonable price, ADT delivers. However, for social features, it’s better to look elsewhere.
Those features come at a hefty price, though, as you can see in our identity theft protection reviews. ADT gets most of the way there for a lot less, so if that sounds like you’re game, it’s probably the right service for you.
What do you think of ADT? Are you going to sign up for an account? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.
What Does ADT Stand For?
ADT stands for American District Telegraph. The company was launched in 1874 as a one of 57 district telegraph companies, eventually utilizing the telegraph delivery system as a means of providing residential security.
What Is ADT?
ADT is a security corporation that offers electric security, alarm monitoring and fire protection for large and small businesses, as well as residential addresses.
How Much Does ADT Cost?
ADT security, fire protection and surveillance is by quote only. The price will vary based on the location, size and scope of the protection. ADT also offers identity theft protection services for $9.99 per month.