Identity Guard Review: Credit Report Monitoring
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[Editor's Note: For a limited time, 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 limited time discount 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. It provides the most data you can get as well as the longest free trial. In addition to daily 3-bureau credit report monitoring, a 3-bureau credit report and free credit scores from all three bureaus, Identity Guard Total Protection offers an extremely impressive and potent arsenal of tools to stop identity 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 in a secure, encrypted web page, so you do not have to worry about the security of your personal information. You will be taken to your home page with all of your credit information right away. 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 all 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 from all 3 bureaus and a 3-bureau credit report. The scores are based on the CreditXpert scoring system, which isn't as popular 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 all 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 (from 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 opening up a new loan, to see how your credit score will be affected. If you are monitoring your credit, this analyzer can help you to make the best choices to raise your credit score.
Identity Theft Protection and Tools
Identity Guard also features proactive identity theft protection, including monitoring public records for any changes in your name (as well as giving you a free 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 any 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 your 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) and a Personal ID Risk Assessment. In the event of a credit card theft, you can report the incident to Identity Guard and they will handle all the details for you, including reporting the 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. Because you are not financially liable for fraud that happens with your bank accounts, the real value of the identity theft service is their Identity Theft Recovery Unit. This is because the real cost of identity theft usually lies in victims' 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 your good name. The ID Theft Recovery Unit helps you minimize these costs and 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 for no additional cost with 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 advice about the service. Reporting for lost or stolen cards can be done on the phone or through your account, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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 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 immediately.
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Identity Guard Forum Posts
- How can I fix my credit?
There are a number of steps you can take to improve your credit. Check out this post on ways to boost your credit score:...
- How secure is Identity Guard's signup?
Identity Guard's signup page is very secure. They use SSL technology to encrypt all of your personal information and this is all done on a secure...
- What does a Identity Guard membership include?
There is a lot included in an Identity Guard membership. On top of comprehensive identity theft protection, people who sign up for Identity Guard will...
- Does Identity Guard have a special intro price?
Yes, after the 30-day free trial of Identity Guard, NextAdvisor readers get a special introductory price of $14.99 per month. Read our full review and...
- Where can I get an updated credit report every month?
You are correct that Identity Guard provides you with an updated 3-bureau credit report and scores every three months. ...