Identity Guard Review
Sophisticated identity theft protection featuring IBM® Watson™ artificial intelligence
Eager to determine whether Identity Guard was a trustworthy identity monitoring solution, we took a deep dive into every aspect of the service, including subscription options, pricing, security, user experience, customer support, and their mobile application.
First, we compiled a brief overview of what Identity Guard offered:
- Individual plans for personal use ranging from $8.99 to $24.99 per month
- Identity theft insurance** with a maximum reimbursement of $1 million
- Monitored three credit bureaus (with Total or Ultra plans)
Gabe Turner, our Chief Editor, tested out Identity Guard on our Youtube channel. Watch below to see the app in action.
Next, we looked at each way Identity Guard helped protect users from identity theft.
Primarily, Identity Guard protected our identities by monitoring our credit. With the top-tier plans, they monitored credit from all three reporting agencies, namely Experian®, TransUnion®, and Equifax®. As Ultra plan subscribers, we received monthly credit score* updates.
Aside from credit changes, scores and reports, Identity Guard also monitored our finances. From our 401(k) and investment accounts to high-risk transactions, debit and credit cards, Identity Guard had a close watch on them all. Any bank account takeovers or requests to open checking or savings accounts with our information was promptly sent our way. We were even notified whenever our address was detected on any financial forms!
Finally, we were pumped to test out Identity Guard’s cybersecurity features like their safe browsing tools, dark web scan, and anti-phishing mobile application. Read on to find out more about what each one entailed.
- Dark web scan: The dark web, an area of the Internet where all users are anonymous, is a hotbed of cybercrime. As part of our membership, Identity Guard sent us alerts if our credentials were found on the dark web. The one time this occurred, Identity Guard explained the situation plainly and prompted us to change our passwords.
- Criminal and sex offense monitoring: If the system found our names on a sex offender registry or police report, we would have been notified as soon as Identity Guard detected it.
- USPS address change monitoring: We appreciated that Identity Guard made sure our mail wasn’t being redirected to anyone else. In fact, their team would have notified us if someone even attempted to make that happen.
- Home title monitoring: If someone opened a home title in our names, Identity Guard let us know immediately.
- Risk management report: Identity Guard produced a report that showed us how at risk we were for identity fraud.
- Safe browsing tools: Identity Guard even had a browser extension that helped protect our privacy online, fighting against phishing attacks, blocking ads, flash, trackers, and mining.
- Anti-phishing mobile app: Aside from the Identity Guard Classic app, the company also offered us the Anti Phishing by Identity Guard app, which detected and blocked phishing websites on Chrome, Dolphin, and Samsung Internet.
- Social insight report: Using artificial intelligence from IBM® Watson™, the social insight report analyzed our Facebook account to assess our “online image” and even suggested improvements.
We regularly received communication from Identity Guard via SMS, app, and email alerts. If our identities were stolen, we were eligible to receive up to $1 million in reimbursement, the industry standard for identity theft insurance.
Privacy and Security
We learned that Identity Guard offered information to third parties or free services, although it wasn’t used for advertising or marketing purposes. Of course, it was up to us how much information we wanted to input into the Identity Guard app, but the more information we gave, the more the services could monitor (and also share with third parties, potentially), so it was a bit of a double-edged sword. At a minimum, this included our username, password, birthday, Social Security numbers, and payment information.
Fortunately, their customer data was encrypted, but it was only encrypted with 128-bit encryption, and the industry-standard is 256-bit. While the company hadn’t experienced any data breaches so far, it was clearly not the best choice for those of us that were extremely concerned about privacy.
On a more positive note, setting up and using Identity Guard was very easy. After we filled in our information and paid, we viewed our alerts in the Identity Guard Dashboard and verified our identity in two ways: we answered a few multiple-choice questions and a couple of threat questions.
The more information we gave Identity Guard, the more data they could spit back at us, especially for the AI-powered features like the social insight report and risk management report.
Once we’d input all our information, it was easy to navigate between the Dashboard, the alerts, and Watchlist. Plus, our credit reports and scores*.
Identity Guard had options for business and personal use and within those two categories, individuals and groups. Regardless of which subscription plan we selected, we got to choose from annual or monthly contracts.
|Identity Theft Insurance with $1 Million Maximum Reimbursement||✓||✓||✓|
|Customer Support Based in U.S||✓||✓||✓|
|Risk Management Report||✓||✓||✓|
|Data Breach Notifications||✓||✓||✓|
|Dark Web Monitoring||✓||✓||✓|
|High Risk Transaction Monitoring||✓||✓||✓|
|Safe Browsing Tool||✓||✓||✓|
|Bank Account Monitoring||X||✓||✓|
|Monthly Credit Score from 1 Bureau||X||✓||✓|
|Credit Monitoring from 3 Bureaus||X||✓||✓|
|White Glove Resolution Concierge||X||X||✓|
|Social Media Insights Report||X||X||✓|
|Bank Account Monitoring||X||X||✓|
|Credit and Debit Card Monitoring||X||X||✓|
|401k and Investment Account Monitoring||X||X||✓|
|Criminal and Sex Offense Monitoring||X||X||✓|
|USPS Address Change Monitoring||X||X||✓|
|Home Title Monitoring||X||X||✓|
|Annual Credit Report from 3 Bureaus||X||X||✓|
|Monthly Individual Price||$8.99||$19.99||$23.99|
|Monthly Family Price||$14.99||$29.99||$31.99|
|Yearly Individual Price||$90||$200||$239.88|
|Yearly Family Price||$150||$300||$320.04|
Identity Guard started at just $8.99 per month for one person or $14.99 per month for the entire family. We had no trouble finding a plan that worked for us.
Identity Guard had three personal options: Value, Total, and Ultra. Clearly, the Ultra plan provided the most coverage for both individuals and families, although it was a bit pricey at either $29.99 per month or $299 per year for an individual. We signed up for a year because we knew we were testing the service, and it included a 17 percent discount. All plans included a $1 million reimbursement maximum for identity theft, but only the Total and Ultra plans monitored credit scores and reports from all three credit-reporting bureaus.
|Social Security Number Monitoring||✓||✓|
|Online “Black Market” Monitoring||✓||✓|
|ID Verification Alerts||✓||✓|
|Account Takeover Alerts||✓||✓|
|Identity Theft Victim Assistance||✓||✓|
|Lost Wallet Protection||✓||✓|
|$1 Million Identity Theft Insurance||✓||✓|
|ID Vault Password Protection||✓||✓|
|Address Change Monitoring||X||✓|
|3 Bureau Credit Monitoring||X||✓|
|Credit Report Updates from all 3 Bureaus||X||✓|
|Credit Scores from all 3 Bureaus||X||✓|
|Quarterly Credit Score Updated||X||✓|
|3-Bureau Credit Analyzer||X||✓|
|Account Access via Mobile App||X||✓|
|Public Record Monitoring||X||✓|
|PC Keyboard Encryption Software||X||✓|
|PC Antivirus Software||X||✓|
|Individual Annual Price Per Code||$36||$120|
|Team Annual Price Per Code||$76||$264|
Identity Guard offered both individual and group business plans with even more cybersecurity features like keyboard encryption software, antivirus software, and more. In contrast to other identity protection tools, Identity Guard’s pricing was based per code rather than per user.
Identity Guard’s customer support was less than stellar. We called their phone line, which was open weekdays from eight a.m. until 11 p.m. and Saturday between nine a.m. and six p.m., EST. While we found a section of frequently asked questions on the Identity Guard website, online support was pretty minimal. The lack of a live chat option was another issue we found disappointing.
The Identity Guard Classic App
We used the Identity Guard Classic app to receive user alerts, access our credit information, and check out the latest news on identity theft incidents.
Unfortunately, the app had a really low rating from iOS users, only a 2.2 out of five stars.
One user wrote in a recent one-star review,
“App is overly simplistic with little to no details. I have three credit tracking services and Identity Guard missed everything that affected my credit score. I opened new accounts, no alerts.”
Android users felt a bit differently, giving the app a 4.5 rating on the Google Play store.
Identity Guard IBM® Watson™ users should do their own research about the apps iOS and Android apps that work with that version. We only tested out the Classic version.
Overall, we appreciated Identity Guard’s comprehensive features and low prices on the lower-tiered plans. However, we still felt that anyone super concerned about privacy might want to find an identity monitoring service that does not share information with third parties.
Identity Guard’s identity theft insurance** had a maximum reimbursement of $1 million.
** Identity Theft Insurance underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group‚ Inc. The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms‚ conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms‚ conditions‚ and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.
* The score you receive with Identity Guard is provided for educational purposes to help you understand your credit. It is calculated using the information contained in your TransUnion credit file. Lenders use many different credit scoring systems, and the score you receive with Identity Guard is not the same score used by lenders to evaluate your credit.
Identity Guard® FAQs
- Is Identity Guard any good?
Overall, we appreciate Identity Guard’s comprehensive features and low prices. However, we have some privacy concerns as a result of the service sharing user information with third parties.
- Which is better, LifeLock or Identity Guard?
We recommend LifeLock over Identity Guard. While plans with both companies start at $8.99 per user per month, LifeLock’s iOS app is rated better. Users give it a 4.6 in the Apple Store, which is much higher than the 2.2 Identity Guard has.
- What does Identity Guard do?
Identity Guard monitors changes in our credit file as well as our checking and savings accounts. If changes are detected, Identity Guard alerts us through email, SMS, or the Identity Guard Classic app. There are also more cybersecurity features available, like dark web monitoring and anti-phishing software.
- How much does Identity Guard cost?
Personal subscriptions to Identity Guard cost between $8.99 and $29.99 per month or between $90 and $300 per year. Family subscriptions cost between $14.99 and $39.99 per month or between $150 and $350 per year for families.
- Which identity protection tool is best?
In our opinion, PrivacyGuard provides the best identity theft protection. They have extremely comprehensive credit and identity monitoring, affordable pricing starting at $9.99 per month, and flexible contracts.
- Where is Identity Guard located?
Identity Guard is located in the United States. That means that they’re under the jurisdiction of the three international surveillance alliances, Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes. If there’s reasonable cause, the company could be forced to hand over customer information.