- Very full range of monitoring
- Unique social insight reports
- Available on desktop and mobile
- Customized plans for individuals, families, and businesses
- No instant chat support
- Buggy, strange account setup
- No money-back guarantee for monthly plans
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With the endless stream of TV shows and news reports telling horror stories about innocent people’s lives getting completely ruined by identity theft, it’s hard not to get freaked out. While these extreme cases are rare and most people won’t fall victim to them, the fact that more and more aspects of our lives are becoming digital means hackers are having a field day and smaller privacy breaches are becoming increasingly common. Luckily, we aren’t alone in combatting these online bullies, as there are plenty of companies out there to help protect our identity as well as repair the damages if we happen to get affected by one of them. One of these solutions is Identity Guard, with over 20 years of experience. Having teamed up with the renowned powerhouse in artificial intelligence, IBM® Watson™, this collaboration has resulted in loads of proven success in the industry and an impressive range of identity protection tools to offer. Starting at a fair $7.50 per month, Identity Guard offers a variety of plans adapted to every type of user and their security needs.
Identity Guard offers the full range of monitoring that identity theft protection solutions should. After you decide which plan is right one for you, creating your Identity Guard account is a quick and easy process – taking roughly ten minutes or less to complete. Of course, registering requires you to provide all the personal information that you would normally expect, including your date of birth and Social Security number. Keep in mind that you will need to be a U.S. or Canadian resident to use this service, and as such you need to provide aa U.S./Canadian Social Security number, address, and corresponding credit card – there aren’t many ways to get around this.
If you encounter any issues or need help while setting up, then you can contact the customer service team who will help guide you through the process. Once set up complete then your identity theft protection begins immediately.
Monitoring & Alerts
The standard financial monitoring is definitely there; your bank accounts, cards, and credit scores* will all be kept an eye on, as well as scans constantly being run to detect any usage of other personal information in the dark web or elsewhere. A social insight report can also be generated, taking your behavior and interactions on all social networks into account to give you an idea of your ‘social image’ and let you know if you need to cool it in certain respects.
As an added bonus, Identity Guard offers two apps available on both iOS and Android: one that will send you real-time, mobile security alerts and the other made for anti-phishing that will block suspicious sites and email links. Considering how much of our time is spent on mobile devices and what a target they are becoming, this is a welcomed extra.
You can choose to be alerted of any suspicious activity via email, mobile app (if you’ve downloaded it), or both, and you’ll then be prompted to indicate whether or not the spotted activity was really you.
Although Identity Guard does everything it can to protect your information, there are no 100% guarantees in this business. In the unfortunate event of a nasty online predator getting past its shields and managing to take control over your identity and funds, Identity Guard offers a comprehensive plan to help you get out of this mess.
A dedicated case manager will be assigned to you to help you fully understand your situation and let you know what needs to be done to fix it, and hopefully financially you should be covered with its $1 million insurance policy** plus reimbursement for stolen funds. This amount of coverage is the same across all plans, unlike most insurance-type businesses that require you to pay more for higher coverage.
Identity Guard offers plans for individuals, families, and businesses alike. The family plans offer the same coverage as the individual plans do but covers every member of your household (up to eight people). It also keeps a close eye on your child’s safety, alerting you if his or her name or information is detected in any sketchy, dark web hideouts to fight off child predators as well as cyberbullies.
The plan for businesses has two aspects to it: the first being the fact that employers can offer their employees identity theft protection and the second being its data breach readiness and response services. When it comes to professional organizations becoming victims of data breaches, as Identity Guard puts it, “it’s not if, it’s when”. While this is quite a grim outlook, it’s the unfortunate reality of today’s world, and at least having the proper backup in place when this seemingly inevitable attack hits will allow companies and their clients to rest a bit easier. The business solution provides data security training for the company’s employees, monitors a custom number of data points, and in the unfortunate event a data breach occurs, then this plan allows the company to distribute identity theft protection to its affected customers to ease the blow and protect them in their vulnerable state.
Identity Guard has three plans for individuals and families that vary on just a few aspects, the biggest jump being between the Value and Total plans mainly in terms of the financial monitoring included. The only difference between the Total and Premier plan is an extra-detailed credit report and the social insight report, so unless one or both of these items are especially important to you, most people’s needs should be almost completely met by the second-tier plan. For these three plans for individuals, monthly pricing is $8.99, $19.99, and $24.99 respectively, and for families, the corresponding costs are $14.99, $29.99, and $34.99. Any of these plans purchased on an annual basis will be discounted by 17%, which considering that the family plans can cover up to eight people, is quite a good deal. Pricing for business plans is custom, so interested companies should get in touch for a quote.
You would never know it from the website, but there is in fact a free trial period. The only way to get to it, however, is by speaking with one of the Identity Guard reps and having them sending over a special link where you’ll find a free trial option as well as discounted prices. A money-back guarantee on monthly plans is not offered (this is only available for unsatisfied customers requesting a refund within 30 days of purchasing an annual plan), so it’s best to take the extra minute to get in touch with the support and find that free trial page. Upon signing up, you’ll need to provide credit card information, which is the only accepted payment method.
Support is offered through telephone (Monday through Saturday) and email, claiming they will get back to inquiries within 24-48 hours. Instant chat is not available, which is a shame since it seems to be the preferred support method of many, and it’s not possible to get support via its Facebook page – all you’ll get is an automated response indicating that you must contact them through one of the two channels mentioned above.
There is barely any online documentation available where you could look for answers instead of calling or waiting for an email response; the FAQ is tiny and could definitely use some expanding on. There is, however, a lot of nice general information on the industry and its challenges available on the company’s blog as well as its YouTube channel to help make up for the lack of documentation.
With Identity Guard, you get a lot for your money, especially if there are several people using a family plan. The range of monitorization options is quite complete, the recovery policy is industry-standard, the variety of plans are suited to any needs, and all of this comes at a very reasonable (even low) price. Most importantly, this product is backed by IBM, which is one of the most well-known, advanced, and therefore reliable organizations in the industry of artificial intelligence and identity protection, so users can rest assured that they are in good hands.
Disclosures by Identity Guard
* The score you receive with Identity Guard is provided for educational purposes to help you understand your credit. It is calculated using the information contained in your TransUnion credit file. Lenders use many different credit scoring systems, and the score you receive with Identity Guard is not the same score used by lenders to evaluate your credit.
** Identity Theft Insurance underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group‚ Inc. The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms‚ conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms‚ conditions‚ and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.