With more of our activities and data moving to digital platforms, there has been an increase in cybercrimes. Identity theft, in particular, has been on the rise. Identity theft is a type of cybercrime that uses someone else’s personal information fraudulently. In 2020, the number of identity theft reports was close to 1.4 million, which was twice that of the previous year, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Fortunately, there are powerful identity theft protection applications that can monitor the web and notify you when data breaches occur. In this article, we’ll be reviewing a popular identity theft protection application: Identity Guard. We’ll look at the application’s plans, features, interface, support, and how it compares to some of its competitors. Keep reading to see if this application’s right for you!
Plans and pricing
Identity Guard offers three plans to users. The Value plan provides users with basic identity theft protection tools, like dark web monitoring, high transaction monitoring, and safe browsing. This plan costs $7.50 a month for an individual and $12.50 a month for a family. The family plans include only the family members that are residing at your home address.
The Total plan has all of the Value plan’s benefits, plus enhanced protection like bank account monitoring and credit protection. You can purchase the individual plan at $16.67 a month, and the family plan at $25.00 a month.
The Ultra plan is the most powerful of all three plans. It has all the benefits of the others and many more advanced protection tools, like debit and credit card monitoring, social media insights reporting, and three-bureau credit reports. The Ultra plan comes at $25 a month for individuals and $33.33 a month for families. And if you choose annual billing, you’ll save 17% on fees across all plans.
Identity Guard is chock full of powerful protection tools, including home title monitoring, criminal and sex offense monitoring, and investment account monitoring. Let’s go over a few of these features.
Identity Guard uses IBM Watson, an incredibly powerful AI system, to handle identity theft problems. It claims it’s the first and only identity theft monitoring company to use Watson. Watson’s advanced computing technology combines artificial intelligence, data mining, and machine self-learning to tackle complex identity theft issues.
Watson constantly monitors the web and dark web for your data, so that any breach is discovered as soon as it happens. Along with this, the platform sends you proactive alerts to help you act before there’s more damage.
All Identity Guard plans come with a safe browsing extension that provides users with a secure web browsing and online payment experience. It blocks websites with a history of phishing and tracking, protects you against mining scripts, and does much more to bolster your browsing security.
To make things easier in case of an identity theft, Identity Guard has partnered with AIG, a multinational insurance giant, to insure members of all plans up to $1 million in cash. This includes stolen fund reimbursement, but coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions, and you’ll have to view the additional terms and policies to get an accurate picture of the insurance.
Three-bureau monitoring refers to monitoring the three main credit reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. If a loan is taken out in your name or your credit card is billed, these agencies might receive an update about it. Identity Guard’s Total and Ultra plan users get monitoring reports from these three bureaus.
Interface and in use
Identity Guard offers a web and mobile application. The setup requires you to answer 32 questions, and can take between 10 and 15 minutes. The more information you give in the application, the better the service will be able to monitor your data online.
The web application is compact, and the dashboard is divided into many segments, each covering a different aspect of protection, like dark web and safe browsing alerts.
There’s a segment for social media as well, which shows you an analysis of your social media profile, including a list of your online friends. The Reports and Scores panel is also quite helpful. It provides your TransUnion VantageScore, a credit score developed by one of the aforementioned three major credit bureaus, and explains why you’ve been given that score and how to improve it.
Identity Guard has an extensive FAQ section on its website. With answers to over 60 questions across various topics, this section is well stocked. There’s no search bar, however, for enhanced navigation.
If the FAQ page doesn’t help, members across all plans can contact the US-based customer support team by phone or email. If you’re reaching out by email, you can expect to receive a response in 24 to 48 hours.
The support team isn’t available 24/7, however. They are available from Monday to Friday, between 8 AM and 11 PM EST, and on Saturdays between 9 AM and 6 PM EST. Members of the Ultra plan receive enhanced support with the white glove resolution concierge, which is a premium support service that resolves issues swiftly and thoroughly.
When it comes to pricing, Identity Guard offers one of the lowest annual base prices, but it doesn’t offer a free trial. If you need a free trial before selecting an application, then check out IdentityForce - you can read our IdentityForce review as well.
Although there’s no 24/7 customer support, Identity Guard’s Ultra plan users receive enhanced assistance compared to the other plans. If support is a priority for you, then LifeLock is an application that provides 24/7 support. You can read our LifeLock review for more details.
Identity Guard provides three-bureau credit monitoring, but it only gives credit reports once a year. If you need your credit reports more frequently, then IDShield would be a better option.
Identity Guard is a secure identity theft protection application, and where it truly stands out is monitoring. Primary amongst its features is its use of IBM Watson to scan through billions of websites to identify data breaches. The company also claims that Watson helps it spot threats faster than other companies. It even offers social media monitoring, a feature not provided by other applications.
Although there’s no free trial, Identity Guard’s base price is low, and it offers $1 million in insurance coverage across all its plans. So if you’re on a budget and don’t require regular credit reports, then Identity Guard will be apt for you.