Identity Guard® Total Protection® Review: Identity Theft Protection
|Sign up for Identity Guard® Total Protection®|
|Most complete identity theft protection service we reviewed; 3-bureau credit report monitoring; credit report/score updates every quarter; 25% discount & free 30-day trial|
[Editor's Note: Identity Guard® is offering a discount of $5.00 off every month ($14.99 instead of $19.99, 25 percent 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 discount pricing.]
In our opinion, Identity Guard Total Protection® is the most comprehensive identity theft protection protection service we have reviewed and it really lives up to its total protection moniker. Identity Guard has the most extensive fraud monitoring we've found and offers its whole service at a great price with NextAdvisor's discounted offer, just $14.99/month (regularly $19.99/month) after the 30-day free trial. The service has a vast array of features that help protect the many ways identity thieves might attack, through your credit files, your social security number, your bank accounts, your computer and more.
Identity Guard Total Protection costs $14.99/month (including NextAdvisor's 25 percent discount), and requires no annual contract or commitment. Besides the superior identity theft protection for adults, Identity Guard also offers identity theft protection for children with its kID Sure program. This plan allows you to add up to 15 children to an existing adult's plan for only $5/month. The existing adult must be the legal guardian of the children, and the children must be under the age of 18 years old.
The signup process for Identity Guard is relatively quick — you will go through a short series of screens asking you for information, including payment information. Once you completely answer the questions and fill out the information, your identity protection begins. Your credit scores and three-bureau reports are available online immediately upon signup. If you want hard copies mailed to you however, you can call their customer service number and get them at no extra charge.
If you decide that you'd like to help protect your children's identity with kID Sure®, you can just click on the "Add kID Sure" button from your Identity Guard home page when you log into the site.
Identity Theft Protection
Identity Guard starts your protection with daily monitoring of your credit report at all three bureaus, which begins as soon as you complete the enrollment process. We find Identity Guard's thorough credit report monitoring to be a highly valuable tool because it alerts you in the event that there are certain changes detected in your name.
In addition to credit report monitoring, Identity Guard provides some of the most extensive fraud monitoring of any of our reviewed services. Identity Guard monitors public records for certain changes in your name, scans databases for application or social security fraud, and monitors the Internet's black market for the use of your credit cards or other personal information. If Identity Guard notices certain changes to or presence of your registered personal information in its data sources, then the service will promptly send you alerts via email, phone calls or text messages. When you sign up your alerts are automatically set to email, however you can opt to change the alerts when you sign into your account or call a customer service representative to assist you. We found these alerts to be a valuable service because if in fact the activity is fraud then you have more of an option and opportunity to catch the fraud before it gets too far.
Identity Guard also provides anti-keylogging software, lost wallet protection (a representative from the Identity Theft Recovery Unit can cancel your credit card accounts and send you up to $2,000 advance from one of your accounts if you need it) and a Personal Public Record Report. Another important level of security that Identity Guard includes is ZoneAlarm Internet Security software, a total Internet security suite. This software includes multiple types of protection for your computer including anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, anti-phishing and more.
Identity Guard also offers protection for children with its kID Sure program. This plan allows you to add your children to an existing adult's plan for only $5/month. kID Sure monitors for your child's information on criminal records, DMV records, utilities records, as well as scans for social security number exposure on the Internet black market. The children you sign up have to be under the age of 18, and you have to be their legal guardian.
Identity Guard Total Protection aims to protect your identity across multiple fronts, including your credit, your Internet use, your computer use, and your mobile use. While no protection can be 100 percent complete, Identity Guard offers the most comprehensive protection we've found.
Credit Report Monitoring Information
Similar to many credit report monitoring services, Identity Guard Total Protection completes daily scans of all three of your credit files and notifies you of certain changes. It also gives you all three of your credit scores every quarter. It also has some very useful credit tools, such as the Credit Analyzer which allows you to see what effect taking different actions (such as paying off a balance or missing a statement) could have on your credit score.
All of these features make Identity Guard not just the top identity theft protection service, but a great credit report and score monitoring service as well. None of our other identity theft protection services offer so much credit data. If certain information is found on your credit report, Identity Guard will alert you by email promptly. The service's direct links and instructions on how to place fraud alerts make it very easy to complete them yourself if you want to take that extra preventative step. You get all those for free with your 30-day trial so even if you decide you don't like it; you get to keep at no cost all three credit scores and a public records report.
Identity Theft Assistance
In the unlikely event that you are a victim of identity theft while an Identity Guard Total Protection member, Identity Guard supplies you with $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance coverage and access to their Identity Theft Recovery Unit. While the $1,000,000 policy is nice, we feel the large dollar amount of these policies are not really necessary because people are not liable for fraudulent transactions made in their name so the direct monetary loss of identity theft is not usually anywhere near seven figures. We do greatly value the Identity Theft Recovery Unit, though, as 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.
Identity Guard has an extremely useful member center, which makes it easy to see what protections you have and haven't activated as well as what updated information is available to you. The service is also great about letting you know via email when you have new reports available. Be sure to register your credit card and bank accounts right away. In the event of a credit card theft, you can report the incident to Identity Guard and a representative will help you handle, including reporting the cards as stolen and getting new cards issued to you.
Identity Guard offers generous customer service phone hours (8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET on Saturday) as well as postal mail and email contact methods. When we tried contacting them, a customer service representative answered almost immediately, and was able to provide useful information about the service. Reporting for lost or stolen cards can be done on the phone.
Overall, Identity Guard offers the most protection of any identity theft protection service we've reviewed. It's not the cheapest service (nor is it the most expensive), but for those that also want to keep tabs on their credit data or are just really serious about identity theft protection, Identity Guard Total Protection is the best way to go and offers a great value.
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