There are a lot of perks to living in our connected world, but there are also a lot of dangers. Never before has so much of our personal and financial information been stored in so many different places. The very connectivity that makes life so convenient in so many ways can also make our most important and most private information accessible to criminal hackers. As hard as financial companies and others work to keep our information private, there’s no sure way to avoid identity theft.
But there are ways to monitor your personal information for signs of identity theft, and there are ways to act quickly to limit the impact of identity theft and remediate the damage done by these kinds of crimes. Identity security and monitoring services keep track of their customers’ identities and provide real-time alerts when suspicious things crop up. These types of services offer a restoration process and insurance coverage in the event that your identity is stolen. Let’s take a closer look at one of your options: ID Watchdog.
ID Watchdog has been around since back in 2005, and it was recently acquired by Equifax, which you may recognize as one of the three major credit reporting bureaus — and as the company hit by one of the most notorious security breaches in recent memory. Despite their parent company’s woes, ID Watchdog has a pretty good reputation for privacy and security, and helps protect its customers from the worst consequences of identity theft.
Like most services of its type, ID Watchdog offers 24/7 assistance from its identity theft specialists. If you get an alert and need to tell ID Watchdog that you were not responsible for the activity connected with the alert, then you’ll be able to reach them at any hour. You’ll also be able to chat in just about any language you speak — ID Watchdog offers support in more than 100 languages (given than you’re reading this in English, that probably isn’t a huge concern for you, but it’s nice to know, right?).
ID Watchdog also offers insurance coverage that will help you recoup losses in the event that your identity is stolen while you’re an ID Watchdog customer. Those plans very from state to state, but often feature $1 million in coverage (a pretty typical figure for these sorts of plans).
Equipment and Apps
You don’t need to install any kind of equipment to use ID Watchdog — it is strictly an information and identity monitoring service, not a physical security service. You don’t even have to have any computer program or app, though ID Watchdog does offer an optional mobile app. If you choose to use the mobile app, you’ll be able to receive app alerts that will notify you of potential security breaches (if you’d prefer not to use the app, you can elect to receive your alerts via phone call, text, or email instead).
Features, Services, and Plans
ID Watchdog offers the services that you would expect from an identity protection company. The core of their approach is monitoring, which covers things like major financial transactions and even, ID Watchdog says, the sale of your personal information on the Dark Web. If ID Watchdog spots anything out of the ordinary, they let you know by sending alerts, which customers can choose to receive as phone calls, texts, emails, or app alerts.
If your identity is stolen while you’re covered by ID Watchdog, they’ll deploy their “Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialists (CITRMS®)” (did you get all of that?) and help you put things back together.
ID Watchdog also monitors National Provider IDs (NPIs). The NPI system tracks health care providers. This feature won’t matter to most of us, but it’s a perk for doctors, who should be wary of the security of their NPI.
ID Watchdog has two plans on offer: “ID Watchdog Plus” and “ID Watchdog Platinum.” Both plans include identity monitoring services that cover things like U.S. Postal Service address changes, subprime loans, public records, and more. Both plans include the recovery services and insurance coverage. Stepping up from Plus to Platinum will net you one significant new perk, though: you’ll get a full credit report that includes your credit score as determined by all three major credit reporting agencies.
Unlike some of its competitors, ID Watchdog does not offer any monitoring of your social media presence.
- ID Watchdog Plus ($14.95 per month): Identity monitoring (including Dark Web monitoring), customizable alerts, identity theft resolution services, credit monitoring, NPI monitoring
- ID Watchdog Platinum ($19.95 per month): All of the above plus credit scores and credit report
ID Watchdog’s two main plans, ID Watchdog Plus and ID Watchdog Platinum, are both quite affordable by the standards of identity protection services. ID Watchdog Plus will cost you $14.95 per month, while ID Watchdog Platinum will cost you $19.95 per month. As mentioned above, the main difference between these two plans is that the latter and pricier plan includes a full credit report with scores from all three major credit bureaus.
ID Watchdog is a solid option for protecting your personal information. It’s a worthy competitor to the top services in the space — though it does ultimately fall just a bit short of LifeLock and IdentityForce, in our evaluation.