Identity Guard® Review: Credit Report Monitoring
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[Editor's Note: As a special offer, Identity Guard® is offering a discount of $5.00 off every month ($14.99 instead of $19.99, 25% off) and a free 30-day trial to NextAdvisor.com visitors. There is no coupon code required to take advantage of this offer but you must click on a link from our site. So simply click on any Identity Guard link on NextAdvisor.com to take advantage of this discounted pricing.]
If fear of identity theft is your primary reason for credit report monitoring, there is no question that Identity Guard Total Protection is your best option. Even if identity theft is just one factor, Identity Guard's exhaustive list of features, discount and 30-day free trial make it worth serious consideration. In addition to daily 3-bureau credit report monitoring, Identity Guard Total Protection offers an extremely impressive and potent arsenal of tools to help stop theft and credit card fraud. With the NextAdvisor discount, the service costs $14.99 per month after the 30-day free trial. There are no annual contracts and you can cancel your membership at any time.
Signing up for the free trial is quick and you just need to enter some basic personal information like your name, address and social security number to get started. This is all done on a secure, encrypted web page, so you do not have to worry about the security of your personal information. Once your enrollment is complete and you have set up your personal log in information, you will be able to visit the member area anytime. In the member center, you can see which identity protection tools you have and haven't activated as well as what updated information is available to you. They are also great about letting you know via email when you have new reports or scores available. Be sure to register your credit card and bank accounts right away to take advantage of their excellent identity theft protection.
Credit Monitoring, Reports and Scores
Immediately upon enrolling, Identity Guard Total Protection® gives you daily 3-bureau credit report monitoring with email alerts, your credit scores based on data from all 3 bureaus and a 3-bureau credit report. The scores are based on the CreditXpert scoring system, which isn't the same as the FICO system that most lenders use, but is a very good approximation of it. When we cross-referenced our credit scores from Identity Guard with our actual FICO scores, they were virtually identical. Identity Guard gives you credit scores from the 3 bureaus and an updated public record report every 3 months.
You'll receive a 3-bureau credit report when you enroll and quarterly updates to this report thereafter. The 3-bureau report combines all 3 of your credit bureau reports (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) into a single report, making it easy to review for any errors or fraudulent activity. Furthermore, the information you get on your tri-bureau report combined with ongoing 3-bureau credit monitoring makes Identity Guard a very effective service for keeping a close eye on your credit.
Your subscription includes access to a very useful Credit Analyzer. You can try out different scenarios, such as paying off your credit card by a certain amount or applying for a new loan, to see how your credit will be affected.
Identity Theft Protection and Tools
Identity Guard also features proactive identity theft protection, including monitoring public records for changes in your name (as well as giving you a public record report and an updated one every quarter), scanning for application or social security fraud, and monitoring the Internet's black market for any use of your credit cards or other personal information. If they find use of your personal information, you will be alerted immediately.
Children are often targeted by identity thieves. Thus, Identity Guard members also have the option to add kID Sure, an excellent identity theft protection tool that helps protect children. kID Sure® monitors criminal records, DMV records, utilities records and scans the Internet black market for their social security number. This plan allows you to add up to 15 children to an existing adult's plan for only $5/month. The children you sign up have to be under the age of 18, and you have to be their legal guardian.
In addition, Identity Guard provides lost wallet protection (they can cancel your credit card accounts and give you up to a $2,000 advance if you need it). In the event of a credit card theft, you can report the incident to Identity Guard and its professionals assist you with reporting your cards as stolen and getting new cards issued to you.
Identity Guard also includes $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance to cover you in case you somehow are still victimized while enrolled in the service. The real value of the identity theft service is their Identity Theft Recovery Unit, where you'll have the help of experienced fraud recovery agents to help you throughout the entire process. We've found that the real cost of identity theft is the victim's inability to get credit for long periods of time, the cutting off of current credit accounts, and the time, effort and expense it takes to restore the victim's good name and the ID Theft Recovery Unit helps you minimize these costs as well as get your good name and credit back as quickly as possible.
One of the most notable extra services provided by Identity Guard Total Protection is the Zone Alarm Internet Security Suite at no additional cost, an award-winning Internet security solution including anti-virus, firewall, anti-phishing and anti-spam software with hourly security updates. This normally costs $49.95 to buy, but is a part of your Total Protection enrollment and includes all virus definition updates and annual renewals as long as you maintain your membership. Unfortunately this feature is currently only available for PCs. Of course if you don't want or need this security software you don't have to download it. Your subscription also comes with anti-keylogging software.
Identity Guard offers generous customer service phone hours (8am-11pm M-F and 9am-6pm Sat) as well as postal mail and e-mail contact methods. When we tried contacting them, there was a bit of a wait time; however, the customer service representative on the line was able to provide useful information about the service. Reporting for lost or stolen cards can be done on the phone.
Overall, Identity Guard Total Protection can't be beat in terms of features and functionality. It offers both a great credit report monitoring service and, from our perspective, the best identity theft protection you can get. Take it for a spin with the 30-day free trial and get your credit report and scores today.
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Identity Guard® Forum Posts
- How much does Identity Guard cost for both myself and my fiance?
Because you each have your own social security number, each of you will need his/her own credit monitoring subscription. Each Identity Guard...
- How much does Identity Guard cost?
Identity Guard is offering a discount of $5.00 off every month ($14.99 instead of $19.99, 25% off) and a free 30-day trial to NextAdvisor.com...
- How long will the Identity Guard discount last?
This discount will last indefinitely, and if by any chance Identity Guard decides to change it while you are a member, they will forewarn you via the...
- Can I have an account with Identity Guard for just a month?
When you sign up for the 30 day free trial with Identity Guard, you can instantly view your three bureau credit report and score. The service is...
- Will Identity Guard count against my score?
No, when you request your credit reports and scores through Identity Guard, this is considered a "soft inquiry" and will not affect your...