LifeLock and other services promising to keep consumers’ most sensitive information safe don’t offer essential safeguard.

NEW YORK, Feb. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ – More than 16 million people in the U.S. were victims of identity-fraud-related crimes in 2017, with an estimated $16.8 billion stolen, according to a recent study by Javelin Strategy & Research. The concern over identity theft has been met with a proliferation of identity-protection services — online businesses that monitor consumers’ financial activity and personal information.

But are these services safe to use, and which one is worth your money?

Tom’s Guide recently tested six of the top identity-protection services — Credit Sesame, ID Watchdog, IdentityForce, IDShield, Identity Guard and LifeLock — and the results of this research and testing were surprising, especially when it came to the services’ use of two-factor authentication.

Of the six services Tom’s Guide tested, only ID Watchdog and IdentityForce offer two-factor authentication for customers logging in to the main desktop-browser interface, the investigation found. A third service, Identity Guard, offers two-factor authentication, but only for its mobile apps.

Also known as multifactor authentication, two-factor authentication (2FA) is a simple but powerful security feature that’s used by Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple and many other online companies.

“Enabling two-factor authentication is one of the simplest, yet most important, steps in securing any online account. It makes sure that a thief can’t break into your account even with your password, and every online service should make it available,” said senior editor Paul Wagenseil, who led Tom’s Guide’s investigation into identity-protection services.

A spokesperson for LifeLock, one of the companies reviewed, told Tom’s Guide that “implementing two-factor authentication is a priority” and that the company is working to make that security option available to subscribers.

After using each of the six services listed above for three months, Tom’s Guide found that one of the services offering two-factor authentication, IdentityForce, has the best combination of features and services overall.

“Given all of the personal information identity-protection services are supposed to protect, we’re glad that IdentityForce takes 2FA seriously,” said Mark Spoonauer, editor-in-chief for Tom’s Guide. “We’re hoping that this report spurs immediate action by the other services.”

To read the full investigation, visit Tom’s Guide, where you’ll also find reviews of all of the major ID-protection services.

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Purch’s tech editors are definitely on the nice list. They’ve been working hard all year long, reviewing products and bringing readers the latest updates on today’s most sought-after gadgets. And recently, they’ve created a slew of gift guides to make this shopping season a breeze for every tech enthusiast. But there is one thing they haven’t done…until now.

We asked the editors at Tom’s Guide and Laptop Mag to finally write down their own tech wishlists. Not surprisingly, some of them got pretty specific in describing the gadgets they’d like to get this holiday season. Santa, if you’re reading this: We hope you have Amazon Prime.

Avram Pilch, Editorial Director at Tom’s Guide & Laptop Mag

I would love to get a ThinkPad 25, because this 14-inch notebook takes everything that’s great about today’s productivity notebooks and combines it with elements of IBM / Lenovo’s storied past. The laptop features a classic 7-row keyboard with great feedback, a luxurious soft-touch palmrest and over 12 hours of battery life.

I particularly like the Thunderbolt 3 port, which would allow me to connect to an external GPU (eGPU) so I could run VR apps or play games at my desk. The integrated 4G modem would make it easy for me to stay connected when I cover trade shows like CES.

And parents shopping for their kids will and should get the Lego Boost robotics set. Everyone wants to teach their young children about STEM, but most STEM toys are either very expensive or very limited in scope. For just $159, hundreds less than some competitors, the Boost kit uses regular Legos to teach children about electronics and programming. It’s so flexible that it can build at least five different types of complex robot, and it’s so simple that children can learn to code before they’ve even learned how to read.

Mark Spoonauer, Editor-in-Chief at Tom’s Guide & Laptop Mag

After living with our review unit of the iPhone X for a month, I’m ready to buy one myself. The design is just right, as I get a big screen without the sheer girth of my current iPhone 7 Plus, which digs into my thigh when I walk. The OLED display is so immersive, I actually take time to binge watch on my commute home now versus working the whole time. Yeah, there’s a learning curve with the new gestures, but the combination of the great performance, sleek design and handy Face ID are compelling me to splurge.

Paul Wagenseil, Senior Editor at Tom’s Guide

I’m going to buy myself a Nintendo Switch.  My kids can use it if they’re nice.

Want to hear more from our tech editors? Follow them on Twitter: @mspoonauer, @geekinchief, @snd_wagenseil. And let us know what tech gifts you’re hoping to get this holiday season @Purch!


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