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Today’s digital environment is much riskier than it used to be. Identity theft is a big concern for individuals and families, especially since people tend to put their personal information – such as their address or credit card numbers – on the internet to purchase products or subscribe to services.
As convenient as the internet is, it can also be dangerous. Identity theft is trivial for many cybercriminals.
That’s why it’s important to invest in identity theft protection. These services can monitor the internet for your personal information and alert you if they detect signs of identity fraud, such as sharp dips in your credit score.
Yet finding the right identity theft protection service can be tricky. Today, let’s take a look at Identity Guard: one of the industry’s most well-known companies.
By the end of this Identity Guard Review, you will know whether or not this service is worth your time and money.
What is Identity Guard?
Identity Guard is one of the best identity theft protection services that leverages artificial intelligence and other next-generation technologies to monitor your credit score, track your personal information’s appearances on the regular and dark web, and provide other benefits for subscribers.
It was founded in 1996 and has only become more sophisticated and effective over time. To date, millions of Americans rely on Identity Guard to protect their identity and to monitor their credit.
How Does Identity Guard Work?
Identity Guard is partnered with IBM Watson: an artificial intelligence system that uses cognitive computing to predict certain digital habits that may make subscribers vulnerable to identity theft.
Furthermore, Watson scans news articles, social media posts, and other “dark web” locations to check for instances of personal information cropping up without your say.
If there is a weakness or flaw discovered, Watson – and Identity Guard – can alert you and help you act quickly to avoid identity theft and secure your personal information once again.
It can also proactively deliver warnings to help you shore up your digital defenses before it’s too late. Depending on the plan you choose, Identity Guard can also offer credit monitoring.
This allows you to track your credit score for dangerous dips, which are often signs of identity theft (since cybercriminals may open a new bank account or perform other actions that affect your credit score).
Identity Guard Features
Identity Guard has a chock full of valuable features that make it worth your time. Let’s break these down one by one.
Identity Guard can provide credit monitoring with certain subscription plans. The highest-priced plan monitors your credit score across all three big reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
Your subscription plan may also entitle you to monthly credit score updates and credit reports.
Identity Guard monitors your finances as well, checking your investment accounts (such as a 401(k)) for high-risk transactions.
It can also watch your debit and credit card balances for suspicious activities, such as sudden or massive purchases in places far away from your registered address.
Identity Guard constantly works to scan the web and your accounts for suspicious behavior. This way, you don’t have to check your accounts and the internet at large for signs of identity theft.
Real-Time Quick Alerts
One of Identity Guard’s best features is its real-time quick alerts. These can be set up to be sent to your email address or mobile device in the form of a text if any risky information is discovered or if your personal information is determined to be at risk.
Dark Web Monitoring
Identity Guard scans and monitors the dark web constantly with the help of IBM’s Watson.
It checks for subscribers’ credentials and, if it detects anything, it’ll alert you and offer some helpful steps to alleviate the security concern.
The alerts that Identity Guard sends you are comprehensive and inform you about what parts of your personal information are at risk and what you can do to correct the issue.
These threat alerts are instantaneous and will include a description of what the personal information leak is.
Risk Management Reports
These are even more comprehensive reports that include detailed explanations of how you might be at risk for identity fraud.
This is actually a great feature since it’ll help you avoid the same mistakes in the future, boosting your digital security over the long run as you alter your habits.
In addition to the classic app, you can install on your mobile device, you can also download a dedicated anti-phishing app.
This can detect and block any phishing attacks from websites using popular browsers like Google Chrome.
Phishing attacks leverage your personal information for identity fraud purposes. Advanced hackers only need a few basic items to wage a sophisticated phishing attack that compromises your entire identity.
As mentioned, much of Identity Guard’s power comes from its partnership with IBM’s Watson: a kind of AI system.
Watson performs much of the analysis to determine whether your personal information is really at risk or if it has shown up for a legitimate reason on the web.
This does, over time, result in fewer false flag reports or mistakes. Watson is always getting better and more sophisticated.
Safe Browsing Extension
You can additionally download a browser extension from Identity Guard. This will protect your privacy online while using a popular browser by blocking advertisements and phishing attacks as you visit websites.
It’ll also block certain cookies that can track your browsing activity and send it to potentially malicious parties.
How Much Does Identity Guard Cost?
It depends on what Identity Guard plan you choose. Individual costs range from as low as $7.50 per month to $25 per month. Family costs range from as low as $12.50 per month to $33.33 per month.
However, it is important to know that you can save money with any plan if you purchase a year upfront.
The savings usually amounts to about a month’s worth of protection over a year, so it may be worthwhile to subscribe for a year if you plan on sticking with identity theft protection over the long-term.
For example, the most basic plan is only about $6.67 per month for individuals if you purchase a year upfront.
Identity Guard Plans
Let’s take a closer look at Identity Guard’s various plans.
Identity Guard Value
Price: $7.50 for individuals or $12.50 for families
The Value plan is basic and affordable. It includes the AI scanning mentioned earlier, the anti-phishing mobile app, safe browsing tools, and other identity theft protection features.
For example, subscribers will get a dedicated case manager if their identity is stolen and access to an online identity management dashboard.
Identity Guard Total
Price: $16.67 for individuals and $25 for families
This plan is a little more comprehensive and includes everything mentioned above in addition to three-bureau credit monitoring, plus a monthly review of your credit score.
In addition, you get bonus features like tax refund alerts and alerts for potential bank account takeovers.
Identity Guard Ultra
Price: $25 per month for individuals and $33.33 per month for families
This Identity Guard plan has it all, including everything mentioned in the previous plans. It also comes with credit and debit card monitoring, investment account monitoring, USPS address change monitoring, home title monitoring, and criminal and sex offense monitoring.
Identity Guard Advantages and Disadvantages
- Identity Guard leverages powerful AI to scan for identity threats. This tool is getting better all the time
- It’s reasonably affordable, particularly for families
- Identity Guard includes a mobile app and several other safe browsing tools for more well-rounded digital protection
- Select Plans include Credit Monitoring
- Does not offer digital protection specifically for your computer (i.e., antivirus)
- Credit report information can be sporadic depending on the plan you choose
Alternatives to Identity Guard
LifeLock is a popular alternative to Identity Guard. LifeLock is about the same price and includes many of the same features. Its big advantage is that it includes credit bureau monitoring for at least one bureau with all plans, rather than just advanced plans.
Learn More: LifeLock Review
#2. Identity Force
Identity Force is another potential option with a few major benefits, such as junk mail opt-out features and social media identity monitoring.
However, it only provides two subscription plans. It doesn’t offer any refunds if you decide to cancel the service before your contract expires.
Furthermore, its credit score monitoring includes a simulator, not a legitimate report from one of the three big bureaus.
Learn More: IdentityForce Review
#3. ID Watchdog
Here’s another popular alternative that’s a little cheaper than both Identity Guard and LifeLock.
However, it lacks a few dark web monitoring features and the sophisticated AI Watson’s assistance, so users are more likely to receive false flag reports from time to time.
#4. Credit Sesame
Credit Sesame is a valuable, if limited, choice since it’s just a website that tracks your credit scores.
But it does offer a free option, making it a good choice for folks who need some basic identity theft protection and monitoring without spending a dime.
Learn More: Credit Sesame
Which is Better: LifeLock or Identity Guard?
Identity Guard is better overall compared to LifeLock, in part because you get more insurance. LifeLock only provides you with up to $25,000 of insurance if you subscribe to the basic plan.
In contrast, Identity Guard provides $1 million of insurance for all plans and more comprehensive dark web monitoring and more detailed fraud analysis reports.
Is Identity Guard Worth It?
If you recognize how vital your personal information is then Identity Guard is worth the monthly fee. Moreover, if you also recognize how important it is to safeguard your families personal information is, then Identity Guard is a must.
Identity Guard will scan the dark web, provide tailored services, and will help you protect information that should not be disclosed.
Is Identity Guard Safe?
Identity Guard employs bank-level security to safeguard your PII. They also tap into artificial intelligence and next-generation technology to offer you robust identity theft protection.
Bottom Line: Identity Guard Review
Overall, Identity Guard is a high-quality identity theft monitoring service that provides various useful features and brands of reports.
Its AI-powered dark web monitoring, browser protection, and mobile app/quick alerts make it a solid pick for individuals or families looking for long-term identity theft protection.