PrivacyGuard has been around for a long time and offers a substantial amount of credit data, including all three credit reports and scores upon signup, three-bureau credit report monitoring and updated credit reports and scores monthly. PrivacyGuard's personal information monitoring isn't as in-depth as some services, but it provides Internet black market monitoring for your social security number and financial accounts, as well as Internet security software from Norton.
PrivacyGuard offers individual plans priced at $14.99/month (after our 25% discount), paid month-to-month rather than annually like some services. Each plan protects one adult; PrivacyGuard does not offer a family plan or any coverage options for children. All new subscribers can try the service for 30 days for just $1 to decide whether it's for them. If you're unsatisfied at any point during your subscription, PrivacyGuard makes canceling as easy as a few clicks from your online account.
Signing up for PrivacyGuard is a quick and simple three-step process. After entering basic information about yourself, such as your name and address, you are asked to verify your identity by providing your social security number. Once your credit card information has been entered, you will be asked to confirm that you wish to sign up. Immediately after signup, you can activate your three-bureau credit monitoring, receive your credit report and access all of the other identity theft protection features PrivacyGuard provides.
PrivacyGuard's service has been around for a long time, a fact that is apparent in its user interface. While you won't have a problem getting the information you need, the account center is a bit dated and could use a refresh. On the positive side, PrivacyGuard goes to great lengths during the sign-up process to be very clear about what you are committing to and what you are receiving.
When it comes to protecting your identity, PrivacyGuard offers monitoring for your social security number, bank accounts and credit/debit card numbers. It scans public records and data sources for misuse of your social security number, as well as the Internet black market to be sure your information is not being traded or sold. Although the information being monitored does not extend to medical insurance cards or your home address, keeping track of social security numbers and financial information will help catch instances of criminal use.
PrivacyGuard provides all subscribers with free Internet security software from Norton, which is a great benefit, although the current version being offered is not the most recent 2015 software but a slightly outdated version from 2014. The program will provide good antivirus protection and its inclusion will save you some money — although using an outdated version might put your computer at risk for not receiving necessary updates to keep all threats out.
Three-bureau credit report monitoring is a solid tool to help catch potential identity theft. Your credit report includes information about your credit history and and serves as a map for any relationship you've had with financial institutions or companies. When an identity thief opens or applies for a credit card or other account with your name it will show up on your credit report. By actively monitoring all three of your credit reports, you're more than likely to catch the fraudulent credit before it gets too far.
PrivacyGuard also offers some useful extra benefits and tools, such as multiple financial calculators. It also features neighborhood reports (which include information such as home values, demographics, crime rates, pollution measurements, etc.) for virtually every neighborhood in the United States. In addition, PrivacyGuard offers reimbursement for access to your driver's record as well as secure storage for your credit card and other financial account information. This storage allows you to quickly access your accounts online should your wallet be stolen or you are otherwise without access to that information.
When you sign up for PrivacyGuard, you can instantly activate your three-bureau credit report monitoring and get access to your three-bureau credit report and all three credit scores. The scores you receive are based on the CreditXpert scoring system. While this isn't exactly the same as FICO, the most popular credit scoring formula, in our testing we've found that CreditXpert scores more closely approximate your FICO score than any alternative and are usually within just a few points. We highly recommend the type of three-bureau monitoring that PrivacyGuard offers because each bureau usually has different credit information on file for you. Creditors often only report to one bureau, and it only takes negative information on one of your credit reports to make you ineligible for a loan or indicate that you are a victim of identity theft.
As an added security feature, PrivacyGuard requires you to enter the last four digits of your social security number anytime you wish to access your credit information on the site. The service does a good job of organizing your credit information in an easy-to-read format, going beyond just giving you the facts by giving you highly detailed explanations of your scores. It details both factors that are helping your score and factors that are hurting it. It also gives a solid breakdown of the discrepancies in your credit reports across the three different bureaus. This information can be very helpful in detecting erroneous information that one of the bureaus may have on file. You also get an excellent what-if simulator that will estimate how your scores might change if you took various actions such as paid down a debt or had a credit inquiry.
PrivacyGuard updates your reports and scores monthly, so you always have very current data. This is more frequently than any other credit report monitoring service in this price range and is a great benefit. The service then provides a nice graphical representation of how your credit scores change over time. Overall, PrivacyGuard's credit information and tools are second to none.
PrivacyGuard has some other nice identity theft protection benefits, including up to $1,000,000 identity theft insurance and identity fraud support. These benefits will come in very handy in the unlikely event you become an identity theft victim while enrolled in PrivacyGuard. We particularly like the fraud support, which gives you a dedicated caseworker to help you navigate the confusing and laborious process of restoring your identity.
PrivacyGuard's customer service representatives are available by phone or email. The representatives can be reached by phone Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. We found the customer service representatives to be very helpful and both forms of communication — phone and email — to be effective. When we had an issue with our account that required being transferred to several departments within PrivacyGuard's customer service, each person we spoke to was helpful and thorough in their attempts to assist us.
Overall, PrivacyGuard offers first-rate credit report monitoring, along with decent Internet black market and public records scanning for some of your most important personal and financial information. Although the security software is slightly outdated, it's a good value. Overall, if you are looking to get the most up-to-date credit reports and scores possible alongside identity theft protection, this is a solid service, especially for the price.
Disclosure: NextAdvisor.com has a financial relationship with PrivacyGuard whereby NextAdvisor is compensated if consumers choose to enroll in PrivacyGuard via links on the NextAdvisor.com web site.
|Price:||30-day trial for $1; $14.99/mo (after our 25% discount)|
|Fraud Monitoring:||Monitors 3-bureau credit reports, Internet security, SSN, bank account numbers, debit/credit cards|
|ID Theft Insurance/|
|Reports Delivered:||All 3 bureau reports & scores monthly|
|Computer Security:||Norton Internet Security 2014|
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