Identity theft is a real problem and can affect credit scores, loans, financing and a host of other things that deal with financial health. Identity Guard aims to stop identity theft before it happens by monitoring for signs of fraud.
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Protecting one’s identity isn’t something people tend to think about, but identity theft is a growing problem. Companies like Identity Guard offer identity theft protection services that can help you identify identity theft, fight against fraud, and recover from identity theft if it happens to you.
The questions are: is identity theft protection worth the cost and if so, is Identity Guard the right company to trust to keep you safe?
These are some of the features Identity Guard offers to help keep you safe.
One of the things that makes it so hard to fight identity theft is that it can be difficult to know when it happens to you. Someone could steal your identity, then wait weeks or months before doing anything with it.
Identity Guard uses traditional methods to monitor your identity for signs of fraud. The company also constantly scans the internet, including the dark web, for references to you or your identity to try to get a step ahead of fraudsters who have stolen your personal information.
On top of these traditional identity protection methods, Identity Guard leverages artificial intelligence by working with IBM’s Watson to enhance its scanning and monitoring.
When your identity gets compromised, time is of the essence. You’ll want to notify your bank and creditors and lock your credit reports as quickly as possible to limit the amount of damage that someone can do.
Identity Guard can alert you as soon as it detects evidence of identity theft. It uses email and mobile alerts to get your attention as quickly as possible and can provide advice on what steps to take to protect yourself.
$1 Million Insurance Policy
Identity Guard customers automatically get up to $1 million in identity theft insurance to help protect them against the costs of identity theft. Some of the costs that the policy can cover include:
- Costs for re-filing applications for loans, grants, or other credit instruments that are rejected solely as a result of a stolen identity event
- Costs of notarization, long-distance telephone calls, and postage solely as a result of your efforts to report a stolen identity event
- Costs for up to six credit reports from established credit bureaus
- Costs for elder care, spousal care, or child care incurred as a result of your efforts to amend or rectify records as to your true name or identity
- Costs incurred ordering medical records for the purpose of amending and/or rectifying these documents as a result of a stolen identity event
- Costs for the replacement of identification cards, drivers licenses, and passports as a result of a stolen identity event
- Lost wages for time taken off work to amend or rectify records as to your true name or identity as a result of a stolen identity event
Regular Credit Score Updates
Identity Guard can monitor your credit reports to watch for identity fraud, but with some levels of Identity Guard service, you can get regular updates on your credit score. Depending on the level of service you buy, you can get monthly updates from one credit bureau, or monthly updates from one bureau plus annual updates from all three.
This lets you keep an eye on your identity to make sure no one has opened accounts in your name. It also gives you the opportunity to track your credit score and how it changes over time, letting you take steps to improve it if you notice that it drops.
Additional Monitoring Services
If you purchase higher levels of service, Identity Guard will monitor more than just your credit report. It can keep an eye on all different aspects of your identity, offering services such as:
- High-Risk Transaction Monitoring
- Safe Browsing Tools
- Social Media Insights Reporting
- Bank Account Monitoring
- Credit & Debit Card Monitoring
- 401k & Investment Account Monitoring
- Criminal & Sex Offense Monitoring
- USPS Address Change Monitoring
- Home Title Monitoring
Pricing and Fees
Identity Guard offers three levels of service and lets customers buy coverage individually or as a family.
The Value plan costs $8.99 per month or $90 per year for an individual plan and $14.99 per month or $150 per year for a family plan. This level of service comes with basic monitoring.
The Total plan costs $19.99 per month or $200.04 per year for an individual plan and $29.99 per month or $300 per year for a family plan. This level of service includes basic monitoring plus bank account monitoring and monthly credit report updates.
The Ultra plan is the most expensive at $29.99 per month or $300 per year for an individual plan and $39.99 per month or $399.96 for a family plan. It includes all of the services in the Total plan plus social media insights, credit and debit card monitoring, 401(k) and investment account monitoring, criminal offense record monitoring, address change monitoring, and home title monitoring.
Signing up with Identity Guard is easy. Visit the company’s website and you’ll see the option to start your membership. It will bring you to a page that gives you a breakdown of the different levels of service. Choose the service you want, create an account, and provide some personal information.
Once you do that, you’ll enter your credit card information and be ready to go.
Identity Guard offers a mobile app that you can use to receive alerts and keep an eye on different aspects of your identity, like your credit report.
Some customers have complained that the app does not offer the full functionality available on the Identity Guard website, but it does give you a way to access your account and receive alerts while you’re on the go.
If you’re trusting a company with protecting your identity, you want to make sure that the company you’re working with is secure.
The company uses industry-standard internet security tools, including encryption, to keep your data safe. You can feel confident that the company can protect your personal information.
Identity theft can happen at all hours of the day and night, any time of year. You want to make sure that your identity theft protection service is easy to work with and available when you need it to be.
While the company does offer 24/7 monitoring and will alert you of any breaches immediately, the company’s customer service team is not available 24/7. Instead, you can only speak to a representative during the following hours.
- Monday - Friday: 8 AM - 11 PM EST
- Saturday: 9 AM - 6 PM EST
Pros and Cons
Before signing up for Identity Guard, consider these pros and cons.
|Identity theft insurance — $1 million in identity theft insurance|
Affordable — Discount for annual payments
|Limited customer service hours — Customers service is not available 24/7|
Can be pricey — High levels of service can be expensive
Credit monitoring not available for all plans — The basic plan does not include credit monitoring
Regular credit reports from a single bureau only — Only offers monthly credit reports from a single bureau. You can get credit reports from all three bureaus but those are only available annually.
If you’re in the market for identity theft protection, Identity Guard is one of the better choices out there. You can protect yourself or your whole family and choose the level of service that you want. If you want lots of coverage, you can pay for that. If you want just a basic service, you can get it for cheaper.
There are free services that let you do things like monitor your credit report, which some people may feel is enough, but for those who want more complete protection, Identity Guard is a solid choice.
What Others Are Saying
Here is what other top review sites have to say about Identity Guard.
Forbes – “Identity Guard is one of the top providers in the identity theft protection space thanks to its comprehensive monitoring options and the fact all plans come with identity theft insurance.”
U.S. News – “What differentiates Identity Guard’s plans from those offered by other providers is the company’s agreement with IBM to provide members with IBM Watson artificial intelligence-driven monitoring. Identity Guard says it can find identity threats faster than other companies by using Watson to scan millions of articles, public records, and social media comments.”
Security.org – “Credit monitoring, financial monitoring, a dark web scan, criminal monitoring; these are just some of the areas that Identity Guard monitors. Starting at just $8.99 a month, you can’t find prices much lower than Identity Guard.”
Identity Guard Alternatives
If you want to buy an identity theft monitoring service, but don’t think that Identity Guard is right for you, consider these alternatives.
LifeLock may be one of the best-known identity theft services thanks to its advertisements that feature the founder’s Social Security number emblazoned on the side of a truck.
The company offers multiple levels of identity theft protection with prices ranging from $9.99 to $29.99 per month. All of the services come with dark web monitoring, instant Social Security number and credit report alerts, and suspicious activity monitoring.
IdentityForce is good for people who want protection beyond basic credit monitoring. Its service includes public records monitoring to watch for court records, address changes, and payday loan applications.
The company also offers a phone app that can protect your phone from attacks on public WiFi networks or people trying to intercept your web traffic.
IdentityForce offers two tiers of service with pricing ranging from $179.50 to $239.50 per year.
ID Watchdog helps to protect your identity from theft and fraud but also places an emphasis on helping you recover from identity theft.
If you’re a victim of identity theft, the company can assign a team of Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialists to your case. This team will help advise you on the best way to proceed to reduce the amount of damage that fraudsters can do and to recover from identity theft as quickly as possible.
The plans also include $1 million in identity theft insurance.
The company offers two levels of service with pricing ranging from $14.95 per month to $19.95 per month.
Scoring the Product
Of the many identity theft protection services, Identity Guard’s plans are relatively inexpensive. You have to pay a lot for the most premium protection, but the option to choose cheaper plans, and the family plan discount, makes it easier to find a level of service that fits your budget.
The primary disappointments of Identity Guard are its app, which doesn’t offer all of the tools available on its site, the fact that customer service is only available six days each week, and that you can only get your credit score from a single bureau.
Who Is It For?
Identity Guard is a good choice for people or families who want an inexpensive identity theft protection service. Many people feel comfortable keeping an eye on their own credit report using a free tool, which lets them check for unauthorized accounts or unexpected drops in their scores.
If you want an extra set of eyes helping to keep you safe, that’s where Identity Guard can help.
Identity Guard can help customers keep an eye on their identity to protect against identity theft and fraud and to recover when it happens. It offers multiple levels of service, making it easy for people to find a plan that fits their budget.
If you’re looking for a company that can help you protect your identity, Identity Guard might be the right choice for you.