Privacy Guard Review
Privacy Guard provides you with comprehensive credit reporting, credit monitoring and identity theft assistance. Top benefits include credit reports and scores form the three national credit bureaus, a credit simulator, and daily credit monitoring.
Privacy Guard subscriptions come with a 14-day trial period. It’s not free, however, but costs $1. Like many other identity protection services, Privacy Guard offers a $1 million in identity theft insurance to recoup losses from theft, including fees and lost wages. But the terms vary by state, so inquire with the sales agent. Privacy Guard doesn’t have yearly contracts, so you can cancel any time without incurring cancellation fees.
Daily credit monitoring – Privacy Guard checks Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion for information that indicates a potential identity theft, such as changes in your address, new accounts, as well as public records and any derogatory information added to your credit file. Should it find something, it contacts you, and if the activity is illegitimate, the company provides information on how you can resolve the issue.
You can also track your scores and set custom alerts for specific changes or milestones.
Assistance in canceling lost or stolen cards – you can register up to 10 credit cards and document numbers. If any of them get lost or stolen, the company can cancel the cards for you.
Identity theft guidance – Privacy Guard does not handle the related paperwork but can provide you with the necessary documentation to file disputes, and advise you throughout the process.
Cybersecurity – the company provides you with computer security software.
Reimbursement – Privacy Guard reimburses you for filing for a copy of your driving record, which could affect your insurance eligibility or employment chances. The company also reimburses you for a Medical Insurance Bureau file, which includes information about your health, medical tests the insurer has paid for, chronic conditions, and your risky activities or hobbies. With the help of this information, you can see if someone is using your medical insurance fraudulently.
Financial calculators and neighborhood reports – the service can provide you with custom reports on neighborhood statistics if, for example, you consider buying a new home. A top-tier Privacy Guard plan provides you with a detailed overview of the neighborhood crime rates, home values, demographics, pollution, and even climate.
The company offers a 14-day trial period for $1. Beyond that, you can cancel any time without incurring early cancellation fees. There is no price lock guarantee, however.
Privacy Guard offers three monthly subscription tiers, all backed by the $1 million insurance:
- ID Protection at $9.99/mo includes dedicated ID fraud resolution support, ID verification monitoring, Dark Web, SSN, and public web monitoring, national change of address monitoring, annual public records report and monitoring, online fraud and lost wallet assistance.
- Credit Protection at $19.99/mo offers triple-bureau credit reports, scores, and credit monitoring, monthly credit score tracking, credit information hotline, dedicated ID fraud resolution support, credit scores simulator, and financial calculator suite.
- Total Protection at $24.99/mo includes all of the features of ID Protection and Credit Protection plans and adds child SSN monitoring, neighborhood reports, registered offender locator, reduced pre-approved credit card offers, personal records reimbursement, and emergency cash.
Customer service is accessible by phone or email Monday through Friday 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. ET, and on Saturdays 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. ET. Their site also provides useful information on credit and identity theft.
Unfortunately, the Privacy Guard support service has earned a bad reputation due to numerous customer complaints about the lackluster quality, long wait times, and billing issues.
Signing up for Privacy Guard is simple. After entering your name and address, you need to provide your SSN to verify your identity and submit your credit card information. From there, you can activate your three-bureau credit monitoring, get your hands on your credit report and access other features.
The user interface is a bit dated, but you should have no difficulty finding the information you need. The service also does a good job of providing you highly detailed explanations of your scores, complete with a breakdown of factors that are helping and those that are hurting your score.
On top of that, Privacy Guard gives a roundup of the discrepancies in your credit reports across the three different bureaus. This can help you detect erroneous information one of the bureaus may have on your file.
A nifty what-if simulator lets you estimate how your scores might change based on your actions, for example, if you pay down debt or have a credit inquiry.
Things to Consider
- No child ID protection – if you have kids, you would have to buy a full-fledged standalone plan for each. Child SSN monitoring is only available in the top-tier plan.
- No mobile app or mobile alerts.
- No bank account monitoring.
- Although the credit monitoring feature is useful to alert you to risks, and the company offers some assistance along the way, it’s ultimately up to you to take care of your identity theft.
- In 2013, Privacy Guard’s parent company Affinion Group paid $19 million to affected customers in a government action regarding allegations of misleading marketing practices.
- Privacy Guard regularly checks your credit report for account changes, which is something you can do for free at sites like AnnualCreditReport.com, Credit Karma, or Credit.com. Privacy Guard advantage is you get access to credit reports from all three bureaus in one place, while free sites provide you with reports from two bureaus at most.
- Emergency cash – if your cards are lost or stolen when you are on a trip more than 100 miles away from home, Privacy Guard can send you up to $1,000 in cash and a prepaid one-way ticket home.
Privacy Guard provides the usual credit and identity monitoring services you can find elsewhere. But it doesn’t offer some of the useful features, such as child ID monitoring and protection, a mobile app, and bank account monitoring. The service is average at best.
- Monitoring of all three major credit bureaus
- 14-day $1-worth trial
- Identity theft recovery guidance
- Lost wallet assistance
- $1 million insurance
- Financial calculators and neighborhood reports
- Lack of identity theft prevention features
- No comprehensive child ID protection
- No bank account monitoring
- No mobile app
- Poor customer support