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ByKacie Goff Contributing Writer

Kacie Goff is a freelance writer. She's covered finance, insurance, education, and health care, among other industries.

Identity Guard Review

Identity Guard has been a player in the identity protection game for over 20 years — and it shows. The company covers all the traditional bases of identity protection and builds on that foundation with innovative advancements like monitoring through IBM’s artificial intelligence (AI) solution, Watson. And all three of its plans include support from a dedicated case manager should any issues arise.

That said, Identity Guard doesn’t explicitly include credit repair or legal support to reclaim your stolen identity in its services. While your U.S.-based case manager should be able to guide you through these processes, it’s worth noting they won’t do the work for you.
Still, though, if you’re looking for a way to ensure no one starts using your information without you knowing about it, Identity Guard is a solid option to protect yourself or your family.

Quick Facts/At a glance:

  • Continuous scanning for threats by Watson artificial intelligence
  • $1 million of insurance for stolen funds
  • 24/7 alerts for personal information on the dark web and high-risk transactions
  • Budget-friendly value plan

Product Overview

Identity Guard’s Services and Features

If you want to rest easy knowing that someone is watching all of the various pieces of information that make up your identity, Identity Guard has you covered. The company will monitor the dark web, scan continuously with IBM’s powerful AI, and provide 24/7 alerts.

And they can help you safeguard not just your own identity, but your entire household. With its family plan, you can add any adults living at your home address. Identity Guard sends them an email to build their profile so getting them set up is a cinch. Plus, Identity Guard watches the dark web for your child’s personal information and will even alert you to any potential cyberbullying.

If Identity Guard does discover any issues, it will assign you a dedicated case manager who is based in the U.S. to help you through it. But they don’t offer credit repair or legal support, so keep that in mind.

Here’s a quick look at the specifics of each of their plans.

Value
Total
Premier
Pricing $7.50/mo for individual
$12.50/mo for family
$16.67/mo for individual
$25/mo for family
$20.83/mo for individual
$29.17/mo for family
Credit Bureau Monitoring N/A Alerts for credit changes in all 3 bureaus and a monthly credit score Alerts for credit changes in all 3 bureaus, a monthly credit score, and a 3-bureau credit report
Alerts 24/7 mobile app notifications and email alerts for personal info on the dark web, high-risk transactions, and threats detected by Watson
24/7 for potential cyberbullying of children with family plan
24/7 mobile app notifications and email alerts for personal info on the dark web, high-risk transactions, and threats detected by Watson
24/7 for potential cyberbullying of children with family plan
24/7 mobile app notifications and email alerts for personal info on the dark web, high-risk transactions, and threats detected by Watson
24/7 for potential cyberbullying of children with family plan
Dark web monitoring Yes (children included with family plan) Yes (children included with family plan) Yes (children included with family plan)
Change of address monitoring N/A Yes, for bank account changes of address Yes, for bank account changes of address
Insurance for Stolen Funds Yes Yes Yes
U.S.-Based Dedicated Case Manager Yes Yes Yes
Banking Alerts N/A Alerts for bank account takeovers, requests to open new checking/savings Alerts for bank account takeovers, requests to open new checking/savings
Tools Anti-phishing mobile app, safe browsing extension Anti-phishing mobile app, safe browsing extension Anti-phishing mobile app, safe browsing extension, social insight report

*Information accurate as of Jan. 16, 2020.

Credit bureau monitoring

You’ll need to get a Total or Premier plan to take advantage of Identity Guard’s credit monitoring offering. With both, you get a monthly Vantage 3.0 credit score and you get alerts of any changes to your credit profile across the three bureaus. That means that if there are any new credit inquiries, you get an alert virtually right away, ensuring you can act fast to protect your identity and your credit score.

Alerts

When your identity is compromised, acting quickly is key. Identity Guard sends alerts around the clock and to multiple touchpoints so you have the highest likelihood of getting notified right away. You can expect pings in its mobile app and an email. And these alerts go out 24/7 whenever there’s a cause for concern. Because Watson is continuously scanning for threats to your identity, you can rest easy knowing they’ll get caught and you’ll get alerted fast.

Dark web monitoring

All three Identity Guard plan models offer dark web monitoring. That means that if they find your social security number, credit card or banking information, other financial details, health insurance details, or any other personal data on the dark web, you’ll get an alert. And when you choose a family plan, Identity Guard watches the dark web for your children’s information too.

Change of address monitoring

While Identity Guard doesn’t say if it explicitly monitors for change of address anywhere other than your bank accounts, it does continuously scan for threats to your identity with Watson AI. If any changes of address seem out of place, you’ll most likely get an alert about them. And you’ll certainly get notified if anyone tries to alter the address attached to your checking or savings accounts.

Identity theft insurance

Every Identity Guard plan comes with $1 million of protection if your identity gets stolen and the thief steals your funds. And you don’t need to worry that getting your stolen funds reimbursement will be a hassle. Whenever an identity thief makes away with your money, Identity Guard assigns you a dedicated case manager to help you through the process. That U.S.-based individual helps you navigate the claims process so you can get your reimbursement quicker and more easily.

Family plans

When you choose a family plan with Identity Guard, they provide all of the services included in your plan to anyone living at your home address. You can set up your children so they’re monitored and adding adults is relatively easy, too. Simply request to add someone and Identity Guard sends them an email. Using it, they can give Identity Guard all the necessary information to start the identity protection process.

Banking alerts

When you pick a Total or Premier plan with Identity Guard, you get alerts for any requests to open new checking or savings accounts with your information, plus alerts for bank takeovers. That means that if any changes are made to any of your bank accounts — including checking and savings of course, but also any other financial accounts like your IRA — you get an alert. Expect to get pinged if someone tries to change the name, address, or contact information on your account.

Tools

Identity Guard doesn’t just monitor in case something bad happens to your identity. They also fit you with tools to be proactive about protecting yourself and your family. All three of its plans come with a mobile app that helps to prevent phishing and a safe browsing extension. Simply add it to your web browser to protect yourself as you browse the web. And if you pay for a Premier plan, you also get a Social Insight Report. This report turns to Watson to analyze your online presence on social media and make recommendations to keep you safe.

The Competition

Identity Guard
ID Watchdog
IdentityForce
Lifelock
Our Review
Our Review
Our Review

Plans offered
6
2
2
3
Advanced Fraud Monitoring
Change of Address Monitoring
Court Records Monitoring
Dark Web Monitoring
Pay Day Loan Monitoring
-
-
Sex Offender Monitoring
-
-

Identity Guard vs. ID Watchdog

ID Watchdog may not offer as many plans or monitoring features as Identity Guard, but they do offer a 100% guarantee that your identity will be restored. They back this guarantee by employing a team of Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialists (CITRMS) who will work on your behalf to clear any fraudulent records and get your life back.

Identity Guard vs. IdentityForce

IdentityForce offers a slightly more comprehensive suite of monitoring features, including monitoring criminal records with regards to sex offenders. That’s a great feature for anyone raising a family. It would have been nice, however, if IdentityForce offered more variation in their plans and coverages.

Identity Guard vs. Lifelock

Lifelock can hold its own when compared to Identity Guard. While they might offer fewer packages and pricings, they more than make up for this with their identity restoration features. More than just an insurance policy and a supportive person on the phone, LifeLock can assume power of attorney and fight to restore and reclaim your identity on your behalf.

Identity Guard FAQ

What is Watson?

Watson is a question-answering computer system developed by IBM. It is capable of parsing through tremendous amounts of data in very little time to arrive at answers to various queries. Identity Guard leverages these capabilities to monitor billions of points of information pertaining to your online identity in order to notify you the moment someone other than you has accessed or used this information.

Does Identity Guard protect businesses?

Yes. Identity Guard does offer protection for businesses. They can provide commercial clients with data breach readiness tools so a business can bounce back after an incursion. In addition, they also offer Breach Response tools complete with response programs and identity theft prevention software.

Do I need to give my Social Security Number to enroll?

Yes, you will need to provide your Social Security Number in order to enroll with Identity Guard. Among the many points of data they use to safeguard your identity, they keep a lookout for your SSN in the event that it’s seen floating around the Dark Web or being used for fraudulent purposes.

How common is identity theft?

The two most common forms of identity theft are employment or tax-related fraud (34%) and credit card fraud (33%). But identity thieves can also target your phone or utilities (13%), bank (12%), loans (7%) and government documents or benefits (7%).

Lifelock estimates there is a new victim of identity theft every two seconds. According to the 2018 Javelin Strategy & Research Study, nearly 60 million Americans have been affected by identity theft since 2012. In 2017, around 16.7 million people experienced identity theft, totaling 16.8 billion dollars stolen. This included 1,579 company data breaches that exposed around 178 million records.

Unfortunately, with the sheer volume of personal information online, identity thieves are constantly developing new methods to navigate and exploit technology to get at your information.

The Bottom Line

Identity Guard is ideal if you’re looking for a way to make sure that all of the bits of your information floating around the internet don’t end up in the wrong hands. With AI-driven continuous scanning, dark web monitoring, and 24/7 alerts, it keeps you informed.

The company is also there to help if something does go wrong, but don’t expect legal backing or credit repair services. Still, with a starting price of $7.50 a month, Identity Guard is a great option for people looking to protect their identity.

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