Identity Guard Review
- Six protection plans provided.
- Utilizes IBM Watson artificial intelligence (AI) to better protect your identity.
- Will not help recover identity beyond providing insurance and a hotline.
How We Reviewed Identity Guard
2 big claims
6 plans analyzed
3 rivals compared
Identity Guard Review
Identity Guard provides identity security plans with varying features for both individuals and those looking to protect their loved ones. In order to ensure your identity is being protected, they leverage the support and capabilities of IBM Watson which continuously scours billions of data points to see if your identity has been compromised. In the event that your identity is stolen, Identity Guard provides varying levels of insurance and a call line, but not much else.
Identity Guard claims to provide “the most powerful, comprehensive identity protection” on the market, boasting state-of-the-art AI capabilities courtesy of IBM’s Watson. This protection encompasses credit scores and reports, social insight reports, personal risk management score, high risk transaction alters, dark web monitoring, identity theft insurance, child identity protection and alerts of potential cyberbullying.
Is it true?
Identity Guard’s portfolio of protective features is impressive, but a quick study of other identity theft protection products will highlight some gaps in their repertoire. For example, Identity Guard will monitor if anyone other than you has opened a checking or savings account with your personal information. However, they won’t send you an alert if any banks, auto dealers, or mortgage companies ask for a copy of your credit report (something IdentityForce does). Furthermore, IdentityForce keeps track of sex offender registries. They will use this information to inform you if an offender has utilized your personal data or is moving into your neighborhood.
Even though Identity Guard’s portfolio may not be as comprehensive as they say, their software does, indeed, utilize IBM’s Watson. This impressive software monitors and processes billions of points of data to speedily inform you when your identity has been compromised.
Anyone looking for decent monitoring software backed by state of the art AI programming.
Those who may need additional monitoring and more active support when it comes to restoring a stolen identity.
|Standout Features||Six protection plans provided
Utilizes IBM’s Watson AI services to better protect your identity
|Individual Plans||Value: $9/month
|Family Plans||Value: $15/month
|Best For||Decent monitoring of internet activity and optional family plans|
|Falls Short||Providing real assistance to victims of identity theft|
Lots of plans
There are currently six plans available through Identity Guard: three individual plans and three for families. Each plan varies in terms of pricing and features, but they all come with constant monitoring via IBM’s Watson AI as well as safe browsing tools. Each plan also comes with iOS and Android apps to help prevent phishing scams.
By combining traditional monitoring techniques with IBM Watson, Identity Guard is able to provide constant monitoring of the internet as it pertains to you. Billions of data points that make up your identity are watched around the clock to screen for any malicious activity that may indicate identity theft.
Identity Guard can send alerts to your mobile devices when trouble arises. This can include activity alerts from financial institutions you are enrolled with to notifications that your personal information has been circulated on the Dark Web. They can also let you know if an institution you do business with has recently been hacked.
Lacking in identity theft reparation
Identity Guard offers some hefty insurance policies in the event that you are hacked. They also have a hotline you can call where a case officer will help answer any questions you might have. Beyond that, they can’t really do much more. In contrast, services like LifeLock can assume power of attorney to work at restoring your identity on your behalf.
You could protect yourself at a far lower cost
The main value of a service like Identity Guard largely rests in the opportunity to outsource the hefty task of watching all the streams of information — emails, credit reports, bank accounts, etc. — that make up your financial and online self. For many, $9-25 a month is a small price to pay to cut all that hassle. However, if you are hands-on, diligent, and supremely organized, here’s how to start the DIY approach:
- Check your bank and credit accounts online. Check statements and accounts daily to catch signs of unusual activity or fraudulent charges as they happen.
- Shred your junk mail. You’re not paranoid: Destroying your unwanted mail prevents trash-rummaging thieves from stealing your identity right out of your garbage.
- Opt out of preapproved credit card offers. Piles of card-filled envelopes promising unbelievable APRs are worse than annoying: They’re a prime target for identity thieves. OptOutPrescreen.com can suspend preapproved credit card offers for five years.
- Watch for phishers. Beware emails claiming to be from your bank, asking you to click on a safe-looking link. Always type in the web address to your bank (instead of just clicking through from the email) to be sure you’re going to a secure website.
- Order your free annual credit reports. It’s the law: Every citizen is entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three credit bureaus through AnnualCreditReport.com.
- If you become a victim, place a fraud alert on your accounts. You can contact the credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your reports if your identity has been stolen. Lenders looking at your report can then verify the legitimacy of any changes or new accounts to ensure they’re dealing with you and not your thief.
- Consider a security freeze. As soon as you confirm a stolen identity, you can write to all three credit bureaus to request a security freeze, which blocks lenders from accessing your reports altogether. This helps prevent thieves from opening new accounts in your name. Caveat: There’s usually a fee, but it depends on your state.
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 more comprehensive suite of monitoring features than Identity Guard. They also put a strong emphasis on 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.