When it comes to identity theft, there are a few huge names sitting at the top of the heap. Identity Guard is one of those, being possibly the first business that comes to mind when someone thinks of identity theft protection.
This is likely in part due to its longevity. Identity Guard has been around for many years, and was one of the first companies to get into the identity theft protection game. As a result, it helped to establish the industry as a legitimate tool to be trusted.
Because of that, Identity Guard now exists as one of the “name brand”, big name services out there. However, as many know, this doesn’t always mean the service is one of the best even if it used to be top of the line.
So how does Identity Guard stack up to its modern competitors? Thankfully, that question is simple: it compares extremely well to other options on the market, and still provides a nearly unmatched level of performance in its field.
Let’s go over the details on why Identity Guard is still one of the best identity theft protection services on the market.
What Are We Looking For?
We grade each service based on a number of simple criteria.
Value: how well the cost correlates with what the service offers.
Monitoring: how well the service’s monitoring and alerts system works; includes accuracy, speed, and how many things it monitors.
Customer service: how responsive the customer service team is, alongside their availability and competence.
Insurance: how well the insurance policy works to make things easier for you.
Final score: an average of all the other scores, rated from “Poor” to “Excellent”. Special attention is given to the monitoring and customer service categories, as they are the bread and butter of any service.
|Ease of Use||Great|
Identity Guard Overview
Identity Guard is fairly standard as far as identity theft protection services go. It offers a variety of monitoring services and ways to deal with the problems that come from being hacked or having your identity stolen by other means. Included in this is an insurance policy that covers everything from stolen funds to reimbursements needed to get your life back on course.
Identity Guard divides its services into three tiers: Value, Total, and Ultra. Additionally, it offers family plans to cover additional adults and children in the family.
Each of these tiers offers progressively more and more value for a likewise increasing cost. In Identity Guard’s case, since it lacks any of the gimmicks or specialties that other services may provide, each tier offers more and better monitoring ability for the most part.
Signing up to Identity Guard’s service is extremely easy. It takes a surprisingly small number of clicks to get from their home page to getting into your new account, with typing in your credit info being the thing that takes the longest. There are no significant hurdles to mention, and at no point do you need to speak to a representative to open your account.
Once inside, you’ll be greeted by the main account page, the dashboard. It will look something like this:
The main difference is you won’t currently have your credit score available, and no alerts should be visible yet.
Instead, Identity Guard will walk you through a setup process that will get all of your relevant information that needs to be monitored. You can give Identity Guard as much or as little information as you want, but typically you’ll want to make sure everything is active so it can be monitored.
This process can be paused and picked up again at any time. Every bit of information can be entered at your leisure, so if you don’t have time to do the full setup the first time you log in, don’t worry about it.
Once everything is set up, then their monitoring system will go to work. Within minutes, if there is anything to be concerned about it will give you an alert. These alerts range through a variety of things we’ll talk about more in-depth later, but as you can see two of the main ones are home title monitoring and transaction monitoring, to keep your home and bank accounts (and credit cards!) safe from harm.
From there, you’ll also have the option to take Identity Guard’s Risk Management Assessment.
This will ask you a long series of questions about your habits when it comes to “digital health”. How well you keep a lock on your identity compared to your habits, and in which areas you may need to improve. Be honest with this assessment, as it’s here to help you figure out what you need to do to keep yourself safer online.
Having a high score means you’re a cautious individual who has little to worry about from your daily internet usage.
Finally, you can access your credit score on set intervals based on your plan, after which it will display the last score you requested on your dashboard.
After that, you’re all set up and ready to go. From then on, unless you’re in an emergency situation or need help with something specific, almost everything you need will be available on the dashboard.
As mentioned, Identity Guard is divided into three pricing tiers, with family plans you can add on for an extra cost to cover more people. A quick look at the prices themselves (with a discount that’s always available here applied for your convenience):
|Individual Annual||$6.67/month |
|Family Annual||$10.00/month |
The family plans offer no additional functionality, but extend coverage to multiple people. This includes another adult, and up to 10 children with an important caveat: you all need to live in the same household.
This makes Identity Guard’s family plans a little more limited than other options, since you can’t cover any nonstandard family plans, like spouses living in different cities as easily. However, the prices are much better than the average, so it evens out a bit in the end.
Learn more about Identity Guard and Lifelock on our recent comparison guide.
Identity Guard’s three plans offer very different levels of protection.
The Value plan is by far the most limited, offering only 6 features:
- Data breach notifications
- Dark web monitoring
- High risk transaction monitoring
- $1 million insurance plan
- Risk management assessment
- Safe browsing tools
This is extremely lackluster as far as plans go, but it covers the basics and the insurance plan is extremely good for the very low cost involved.
The Total plan offers a couple of extra options:
- Bank account monitoring
- Credit reports and monitoring
This isn’t particularly impressive for a service that costs a little over double what the Value plan costs, so it’s a bit difficult to see why someone would go for it. The Ultra plan, on the other hand, is significantly meatier:
- ‘White glove’ resolution concierge service
- Social media insight reports
- Credit and debit card monitoring
- 401(k) and investment monitoring
- Criminal and sex offender monitoring
- USPS address change monitoring
- Home title monitoring
- 3 bureau annual credit report.
Given that Ultra doesn’t cost all that much extra compared to Total, this is going to be by far the best option for most users, given that the real powerhouse monitoring options (particularly home title monitoring, credit and debit monitoring, and 401(k) and investment monitoring) are bundled into this plan.
Related Article: Identity Guard Family Plans
Is the Monitoring Any Good?
In a word: yes, but that would be an understatement.
Of all the identity theft protection services I’ve looked at, Identity Guard has the best monitoring tools on the market.
In terms of breadth, it is entirely unmatched. It covers both the most common tools like bank account monitoring and the less common options like home title monitoring in its Ultra plan.
In terms of accuracy and speed, it’s likewise impeccable. There are a few out there that are as fast, or as accurate, but few are both, and none are that fast and accurate without sacrificing some of the huge number of things Identity Guard looks at.
Each of the alerts seen here came up within moments of filling out the information to set up the account, and all of it is what we expected to see when we started the account. This is much more than can be said for every other service out there.
How Does Identity Guard Handle Crises?
If, for example, your wallet is stolen (or simply lost and can’t be recovered), they have a “Wallet Restoration” service. This is a direct line to a specialized customer service subset that will help streamline the process of canceling all of your cards (like your credit and debit cards) and offering replacements for them. This includes your driver’s license.
For other identity fraud and theft events, their customer service team is available at most times of the day; until 11 PM on weekdays, and 6 PM on Saturdays. Sadly, you’re out of luck on Sundays when they’re closed.
This customer service team is very competent and experienced. According to sources, on average, their customer service representatives have been with Identity Guard for about 7 years, giving them plenty of time to familiarize themselves with the job and gain the experience needed to help you.
Their white glove concierge service provided by the Ultra plan takes this to the next level, giving you priority status for the team, so you can be assured all of your issues will be resolved with aplomb.
In either case, they’ll provide you with the information you need to handle the tasks you’ll need to handle on your own, walking you through them as needed. Anything they can do on their end, they will do to help ensure a smooth process in a trying time.
Finally, their insurance plan will help cover all sorts of lost funds and expenses you may accrue.
It covers up to $1 million in lost funds directly (if your bank accounts are drained, for example) and also covers expenses. For example, if you accrue lost wages from needing to take time off work to sort things out, it will cover up to $2000 a week (for up to 5 weeks), and it will cover any expenses needed to hire experts, be they lawyers, private investigators, or anything else, and the cost of reordering documents as well.
Lost funds reimbursement and expenses are covered separately, up to $1 million each.
Finally, you can put a freeze on your credit reports, as both a reactive or preemptive tool. This stops any new accounts being added to your credit report, so you can stop people who have access to your info from taking out loans and the like in your name and ruining your credit. With the proper password, you can unlock the freeze at any time.
Keep in mind that while the freeze is in place, you are also unable to open new accounts.
Identity Guard is an excellent choice overall for anyone looking for identity theft protection. In terms of raw performance it’s by far the best option out there, and is surprisingly affordable for what it offers.
Everything about the service itself is impeccable. The accuracy of the monitoring is excellent, and is able to catch even small blips on your online health and bring them to your attention. It’s also fast, and covers a wide variety of options.
Likewise its ability to resolve problems is second to none on the market, making it a perfect choice for someone who needs serious identity protection.
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