Anytime you share your credit card number, address, or even your name online, you become vulnerable to identity theft. Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for new ways to steal your personal information, in order to engage in fraudulent activities like maxing out your credit cards or stealing your tax refunds.
Even the most careful online users are vulnerable to data breaches, making identity theft protection essential.
In this article, we’ll compare two of the best identity theft protection services available, pitting LifeLock vs Identity Guard. We’ll take a look at the features, performance, support, and price of each, so you can find the best product for your identity theft protection needs.
LifeLock is part of Norton AntiVirus, meaning anti-malware services are included, alongside access to stolen funds reimbursement, personal expense compensation and coverage for lawyers. Easy to set up and intuitive to use, the service's mobile app enables users to receive fraud alerts on the go, while 24/7 customer support is available across four competitively-priced plans.
Identity Guard provides users with a personal case manager and up to $1 million in identity theft insurance, including stolen fund reimbursement. Very simple to set up and use, it also has a mobile app, though support is not available 24/7. Three plans provide tiered levels of identity theft monitoring and the same high level of insurance.
LifeLock is part of Norton AntiVirus, a well-known name in antivirus protection. That means that with most levels of LifeLock, you also get the anti-malware services of Norton 360 - a crucial component of identity theft protection, since cybercriminals can obtain your information through malware attacks.
Identity Guard also offers a virus scanning component with some of its services, but unfortunately, it is only for PCs, whereas Norton 360 is also compatible with Macs and mobile devices.
Both LifeLock and Identity Guard offer the standard identity theft protection services: monitoring databases, the web, and the dark web for your social security number and other private information. They both provide ID verification, alerting you of potentially malicious activities such as applications for a new credit card in your name.
Both will monitor your credit reports to alert you of any changes. Both will even help you replace or cancel credit cards if your wallet is stolen.
The main difference between the features of LifeLock and Identity Guard lie in the services they provide if you do become a victim of identity theft. If identity theft is detected, Identity Guard will appoint you a personal case manager so you won’t be stuck dealing with the problem on your own. They also offer up to $1 million of identity theft insurance, including stolen fund reimbursement, for all customers.
LifeLock also offers reimbursement for funds stolen due to identity theft, but the level of reimbursement varies depending on your membership level. Standard LifeLock customers only have access to $25,000 of stolen funds reimbursement. Only with the most expensive membership - LifeLock Ultimate Plus - does LifeLock match Identity Guard’s stolen fund reimbursement amount.
But this doesn’t necessarily make Identity Guard the clear winner. LifeLock offers other reimbursement features, such as personal expense compensation and coverage for lawyers, that could make up for the lower stolen funds reimbursement figure. Plus, with the benefit of Norton 360’s trusted antiviral scanning, we think LifeLock just beats Identity Guard when it comes to features.
LifeLock is extremely easy to set up, requiring just a few minutes and a valid ID and credit card. If you have been a Norton customer in the past, you will find the interface familiar and easy to navigate, although it is intuitive even for new users.
LifeLock customers can either log in to their account on the LifeLock website, or download the mobile app, available on both iOS and Android. The mobile app enables LifeLock users to receive fraud alerts on the go, so you don’t have to waste any time before taking action to protect your accounts.
One important time-saving feature of the app is the ability to contact LifeLock Member Services with an in-app calling service, meaning if there is an issue, you won’t be fumbling around trying to figure out who to call.
Like LifeLock, Identity Guard is very simple to set up and start using. Identity Guard also offers users the option to log in to the website or download a mobile app for iOS and Android. While Identity Guard and LifeLock offer comparable features on their browser login pages, we found that the LifeLock mobile app was better designed and more intuitive to use.
As mentioned above, Identity Guard assigns users a personal case manager to work with them if they experience any identity theft issues. While this can be a nice benefit - saving users the time of having to explain their problem over and over again to a new customer service rep - it doesn’t make up for the one glaring problem with Identity Guard’s user support: it’s not available 24/7.
While Identity Guard’s monitoring services work around-the-clock, its customer services team is only available from certain hours Monday through Saturday, and not at all on Sundays.
Unfortunately, this means that if you experience an issue late at night or early in the morning, you’ll have to wait for Identity Guard’s business hours to deal with it—potentially costing you crucial hours.
LifeLock, however, offers 24/7 customer support. Cybercriminals don’t operate on normal business hours, and you never know when a security breach will happen. For the added peace of mind of knowing you won’t have to wait for help if you need it, we think LifeLock offers greater user support.
Pricing and plans
Identity Guard offers three levels of plans: Value, Total, and Ultra. The Value plan offers standard monitoring and data breach notifications at either $8.99 a month, or $7.50 a month billed annually. The Total plan adds credit monitoring and costs $19.99 a month, or $16.67 a month billed annually.
The Ultra plan adds monitoring of your bank accounts and credit cards, and for criminal activity associated with your name. The Ultra plan costs $29.99 a month, or $25 a month when billed annually. All of Identity Guard’s plans, even the Value plan, offer $1 million of identity theft insurance—a bargain if lost fund reimbursement is most important to you.
LifeLock offers four levels of plans. The Standard plan includes only LifeLock’s monitoring services without Norton 360, and costs $9.99 a month for your first year (or $8.29 a month annually.) LifeLock Select adds Norton 360 for up to five devices at the same price as the Standard plan for the first year. Both plans offer $25,000 of stolen fund reimbursement.
LifeLock Advantage ups that to $100,000 and enables you to secure up to 10 devices with Norton 360 for $17.99 a month for your first year (or $14.99 a month annually). LifeLock Ultimate Plus adds three-bureau credit monitoring, Norton 360 on unlimited devices, and $1 million in stolen fund reimbursement for $25.99 a month for the first year, or $20.99 a month annually.
It’s important to note that all of LifeLock’s plans renew at a higher price after the first year, so if you’re looking for long-term coverage, make sure the second-year price is within your budget.
If you’re only looking for basic identity theft monitoring and reimbursement insurance, Identity Guard’s Value Plan is a great option, providing far more in stolen fund reimbursement than the equivalent LifeLock plan.
However, we believe the extra security of Norton 360, plus the access to 24/7 customer support, makes LifeLock the superior choice for greater peace of mind when it comes to securing your identity online. If you want more details on either service, please read our LifeLock review and our Identity Guard review.