Identity Guard Review
Identity Guard provides robust credit and identity monitoring services and flexible plans, but if your identity should get stolen, you’ll be the one doing all the heavy lifting to restore it.
Identity Guard advertises restoration assistance, but it only includes phone support, which isn’t even 24/7, and a $1 million identity theft insurance. If your identity should be stolen, the company covers the recovery costs up to $1 million in legal fees, travel expenses, lost wages, and child care. The insurance doesn’t cover losses incurred during the theft, and its availability varies by state, while the limit depends on your subscription.
It’s worth mentioning the scores are calculated using the data from the three national credit bureaus. But Identity Guard relies on CreditXpert to calculate your score, which isn’t something lenders usually use to evaluate your credit. And CreditXpert scores differ from those provided by FICO. So it comes as no surprise that Identity Guard says the score is provided for educational purposes only.
Identity monitoring covers any suspicious activity on your name, SSN, bank accounts and credit reports.
Note: it doesn’t monitor your driver’s license. And it only allows you to add one email, physical address, and phone number.
Credit reports and scores – the high-tier plans provide access to your credit reports from the three agencies updated on a quarterly or monthly basis, and your credit score.
Credit analyzer is an online tool that helps you simulate how your financial choices might affect your credit.
Lost wallet protection provides up to $2,000 in emergency cash, while the company assists in canceling your lost or stolen credit cards.
Notifications – if your accounts show suspicious activity, the service sends alerts by text, phone, or email. Each time a new account is opened in your name, or your existing accounts are edited, you get an ID verification alert.
Mobile app by Identity Guard is not its strongest point. It provides you alerts and scores, but there isn’t much you can do from it. Plus, the Android app is desperately dated, with the last update rolled out in 2014. The iTunes app was updated in early-2018 but still sports a 1.9-star rating.
Cybersecurity – some of Identity Guard plans bundle computer security software:
- PrivacyProtect keyboard encryption tool encrypts your keystrokes to thwart keyloggers, but it only works on Windows.
- ZoneAlarm antivirus suite comes complete with a firewall, anti-malware, and anti-spyware modules.
- ID Vault password manager encrypts and stores your passwords, credit card information, aliases, etc.
IBM Watson – Identity Guard deploys IBM Watson Artificial Intelligence cognitive computing to sift through news, social networks, and publicly available reports for mentions of your personal details. It also scans the Dark Web marketplaces to detect if your ID is up for sale on the black market.
Identity Guard has three tiers of individual and family plans available in monthly subscriptions. You can cancel any time without incurring termination fees.
Note: family plans cover all adults and children living in one household.
- Value - $8.99/mo for individuals and $14.99/mo for families
- Total - $19.99/mo for individuals and $29.99/mo for families
- Premier - $24.99/mo for individuals and $34.99/mo for families
All plans include IBM Watson AI, $1 million insurance (its limit depends on your plan), a dedicated case manager, risk management score, online dashboard and mobile apps, alerts about mentions of your ID on the Dark Web, high-risk transactions, potential threats, an anti-phishing mobile app, and a safe browsing extension.
Total adds alerts on monthly credit score from the three bureaus, three-bureau credit changes, bank account takeovers, and requests to open new savings or checking accounts on your name.
Premier tops it off with the 3-bureau credit report, and a social insight report (Facebook-only).
For comprehensive credit monitoring, you’ll have to opt for the high-tier plans. But overall, Identity Guard is a viable solution for families as the rates are affordable when compared to its competitors’ offers.
Identity Guard customer service, unfortunately, generated a slew of negative reviews. If you sign up via one of Identity Guard’s affiliates, for example, you might get a better deal than with Identity Guard itself. But users report the company may fail to honor the discounts provided by affiliates.
One of the disturbing and recurring complaints, however, is the delay in alerts about suspicious activity and credit inquiries.
The customer service is available Monday through Friday during work hours. Good luck if you receive an alert on a weekend.
The browser-based dashboard is user-friendly but riddled with promotions to upgrade. The navigation menus are straightforward, and everything is one-click away – your alerts, status of your accounts, and reports.
Identity Guard mobile experience, however, leaves a lot to be desired both regarding updates and usability. The fact that an identity protection company fails to update its mobile app in the last four years speaks volumes about how it handles its customer data. A mobile app that hasn’t received a single security patch this long can’t be trusted.
Not helping is the fact that a good part of the cybersecurity tools is Windows-only, so Mac users paying for high-end plans can’t use the extra benefits.
Things to Consider
- Not much in terms of identity restoration assistance
- Negative customer reviews about the company’s support service
- Insurance limit – the low-tier plan only gets a fraction of the advertised $1 million
- Alert delays – Identity Guard sends you an alert once an update hits the credit bureau, not immediately after someone uses your credit
- You might find a better deal with Identity Guard affiliates, but customer reports suggest the company may fail to honor affiliate discounts.
- The company changes its pricing from time to time, and you can switch plans to get better coverage. But to do so, you have to cancel your current membership, and then sign up again.
Identity Guard is a feasible solution for families, and its credit monitoring service is solid. But if you’re looking for a company fully-equipped to help you should the worst happen, consider its competitors.
- Monthly reports
- Scores from all three credit agencies
- $1 million insurance (varies by plan)
- Affordable family plans
- Antivirus, anti-malware, anti-spyware, password manager, anti-keylogging tools
- The credit score is calculated using CreditXpert
- The best features are available in premium-tier plans
- The interface is riddled with promotions
- Only monitors for one email and phone number
- Doesn’t monitor driver’s license
- Sub-par mobile app
- Alert may come with delays