McAfee at a Glance
What is McAfee+ Ultimate?
McAfee+ Ultimate is a suite of credit monitoring and identity theft protection tools from one of the leaders in the cybersecurity industry. It’s designed for individuals and families that want to make every effort to ensure their ID isn’t ever stolen.
McAfee+ Ultimate includes protection for all your devices, data breach monitoring, daily credit score reports, and insurance against the costs of ID theft. If you’ve ever worried about the devastating impact of your identity being stolen, you should consider McAfee+ Ultimate.
McAfee+ Ultimate features
McAfee+ Ultimate monitors a variety of personal online information to protect you from identity theft and financial fraud.
Your credit score is important as it impacts your ability to buy a car or obtain a mortgage. McAfee+ Ultimate monitors your score with three credit scoring bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.
McAfee+ Ultimate offers a credit score report that’s updated daily. You’ll receive immediate alerts about any credit activity that could point to fraud or identity theft.
Identity theft coverage
McAfee+ Ultimate includes insurance for funds lost through identity theft and coverage for the expense of restoring your identity. This is up to $1 million per adult, so a family plan can cover you for up to $2 million.
With McAfee+ Ultimate, you can lock your credit file so nobody can open a new account in your name.
This is a report on the health of your online security. You can use your protection score to measure how well you’re protected from identity theft through the use of password managers, firewalls, and VPNs.
McAfee+ Ultimate includes several applications that improve security for your devices. These include:
Antivirus: Detects and removes malicious software from your devices.
Secure VPN: Encrypts all the data you send online so hackers can’t see it.
Password manager: Generates and stores unique passwords for each website you log in to.
Web protection: Alerts you when you visit websites that may be malicious.
Firewall: Blocks network traffic from accessing your home network, reducing the possibility of hacking attacks.
Personal data cleanup
McAfee+ Ultimate regularly scans online data brokers that are considered to be high-risk. If it finds any of your data on these sites, it will notify you. The service will automatically request the removal of your data on your behalf.
McAfee+ Ultimate tracks internet activity to determine if someone is selling or trading your personal information online. If it finds details such as your bank account numbers, email addresses, credit card numbers, or government IDs in any data breaches, it will alert you immediately.
McAfee states that its identity monitoring service can alert you up to 10 months earlier than similar services from its competitors.
Is McAfee Safe and Reliable?
McAfee encrypts your data when it’s in transit and at rest. This means that when you send sensitive data to and from McAfee’s servers, third parties can’t snoop on it. Furthermore, even if McAfee suffered a data breach, the hacker would be unable to read your encrypted data.
McAfee supports two-factor and multi-factor authentication, so you can make it impossible for anyone to access your McAfee account unless they have physical access to your login device, which is typically your phone.
If you cancel your McAfee account, all your personal information is immediately deleted from McAfee’s servers. Biometric data is only held for three years.
McAfee has an excellent reputation in the industry, partially because of its renowned, long-running antivirus product. McAfee was also awarded Best Cybersecurity Company in the Cybersecurity Excellence Awards of 2021. It has also never suffered from a data breach, so you can be confident that your personal data is safe with McAfee.
Recovery services—what can McAfee do if my identity is stolen?
McAfee’s identity theft protection offers several remedies for identity theft incidents:
ID theft insurance: Depending on the subscription plan you’ve paid for, you’ll be eligible for ID theft insurance of $1 million per adult. Identity theft reimbursement coverage will pay expenses related to restoring your identity, such as attorney fees.
A dedicated restoration specialist: McAfee provides access to restoration specialists who can guide you to take decisive action on recovering your data and reducing the likelihood of future breaches.
24/7 customer service: Customer service experts at McAfee are always available 24/7 to help you with identity theft situations. There’s also a Help and Support section on the website if you need additional information.
Lost wallet replacement assistance: McAfee specialists will assist you in replacing all the documents you’ve lost from your wallet, such as credit cards or IDs. They will initiate three-way calls between you, McAfee, and your banker to cancel lost or stolen credit cards.
Education and prevention
McAfee publishes several reports, blogs, and security bulletins each month discussing new threats in cybersecurity with guidance for individuals and families on how best to protect themselves. Reports are in PDF format, available for free from the McAfee website.
McAfee also releases short videos every few months through its YouTube channel detailing how to use its products.
How McAfee+ Ultimate Works
By choosing the McAfee+ Ultimate plan, you’ll get protection from ID theft on multiple fronts.
You get downloadable software that includes an antivirus, VPN, and password manager. You also get apps for your phones and tablets that help to protect you from malicious sites.
McAfee will also monitor your credit for irregularities, alert you to data breaches that affect you, and scrub your personal data from online data brokers that could potentially sell it to third parties. You can access these services and view reports through the McAfee website.
How To Get Started With McAfee+ Ultimate
Getting started with McAfee+ Ultimate begins with purchasing the plan through the McAfee website. You’ll be asked to create a McAfee account online, which requires you to enter a credit card number for the auto-renewal of your service. However, you can disable auto-renewal in the member’s area.
You’ll then be directed to download the McAfee apps for your devices. Installing the McAfee desktop application for Windows takes a few minutes and is straightforward.
Next, you’ll be advised to carry out a personal data cleanup. You enter details such as your full name and date of birth, and McAfee will begin removing your data from around 40 online data brokers if it’s found there.
McAfee Customer Service
McAfee’s customer service includes an extensive knowledge base, FAQs, a virtual assistant, community support, and a 24/7 online live chat service. You can also speak to McAfee customer service through Twitter and Facebook. The response through these social media channels was very slow, however.
You can also call the company and speak to a representative free of charge. The customer service line is open every day from 6am-6pm (PT). It doesn’t take long to get a response—just a few minutes—and I found the customer care team polite and helpful.
There’s no direct email support, but you can get technical assistance via a ticketing system. The average turnaround time of a support ticket is three to five days.
If there’s an ID theft emergency, McAfee will notify you and guide you on what to do. If you discover the threat yourself, you can contact customer service for assistance.
How To Cancel or Pause a McAfee+ Ultimate Subscription
When you initially sign up for the service, your McAfee subscription will be set to renew automatically after the first year. You can disable this within the My Account section of the McAfee website, essentially setting your subscription to pause when the current subscription year is over.
To cancel your McAfee ID protection service entirely, you must contact customer service through live chat or raise a service request through the My Account portal.
Is There a McAfee+ Ultimate App?
McAfee+ Ultimate includes several apps that work on iOS and Android. Once you’ve signed up for the service, a dedicated page lists all the downloads you can access.
First, there’s Secure VPN, a virtual private network app that encrypts all the data you transfer online. It’s a fast and versatile VPN that can connect through servers in around 50 countries.
You also get Safe Family, a parental control app you can use to monitor your children’s browsing habits on their phones and block unwanted sites.
McAfee+ Ultimate also includes True Key Password Manager, which you can use to store passwords and for logging into websites when browsing on your desktop or mobile.
How Much Does McAfee’s Identity Theft Service Cost?
McAfee offers four ID theft protection plans. Each is available for individuals or families, with the family plans covering up to two adults and four children. Pricing is significantly reduced for your first year. For instance, the Essential plan costs $39.99 for the first year but rises to $119.99 for subsequent years.
Cost per month
$3.33, rising to $9.99
$4.17, rising to $12.50
$7.50, rising to $16.67
$16.67 rising to $23.33
The Essential and McAfee+ Premium plans, while inexpensive, don’t include any credit monitoring, so they’re better suited for customers explicitly interested in identity monitoring.
If you want credit monitoring too, the chief difference between the McAfee+ Advanced and the McAfee+ Ultimate plans is that the latter monitors all three major credit bureaus and offers daily credit reports.
McAfee+ Ultimate sits above the average industry price for identity monitoring services. Still, it includes so many additional features, from credit monitoring to antivirus software, that I think it’s well worth the price premium.
How Does McAfee Compare to Other Identity Theft Services?
3-bureau credit monitoring
$1 million per adult
$1 million per adult
Up to $2 million
McAfee vs Norton
Norton 360’s Ultimate Plus + Lifelock is a comparable service to McAfee+ Ultimate, with similar three-bureau credit monitoring and stolen fund reimbursement. Norton 360 Ultimate Plus + LifeLock is considerably more expensive than McAfee Ultimate+, but it adds unique features like alerts on crimes in your name, and home title and phone takeover monitoring.
McAfee vs Kaspersky
Kaspersky Premium is a more stripped-down service than McAfee, at a lower price. There’s no credit monitoring or insurance coverage, but you get an antivirus, VPN, data breach monitoring, and online payment protection for up to five users and 10 devices. I recommend Kaspersky only if you find McAfee too expensive and you’re not interested in credit rating monitoring.
McAfee vs Bitdefender
Bitdefender Ultimate Security Plus offers a level of identity theft insurance and a suite of software tools similar to McAfee’s. Bitdefender plans cover 10 devices. Beyond identity theft insurance, credit monitoring, and online security for your devices, Bitdefender Ultimate Security Plus monitors the sex offender register, court records, and the dark web for mentions of your personal details.
Bottom Line (Is McAfee Worth It?)
With McAfee+ Ultimate, the company has put together a stellar list of tools for monitoring your personal information online and keeping your credit rating clean. It’s quite competitively priced, easy to use, and has many useful software features that help protect you from ID theft.
When dealing with sensitive personal information like credit reports and website passwords, I feel that choosing a reliable, respected company is essential. McAfee is one such company, and its McAfee+ Ultimate software suite is one of the best ID theft protection options on the market for individuals and families.