Identity Guard Review

Sophisticated identity theft protection featuring IBM® Watson™ artificial intelligence

Aliza Vigderman Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Jul 3, 2020
9.5
/10
Editor's Rating
Credit monitoring, financial monitoring, a dark web scan, criminal monitoring; these are just some of the areas that Identity Guard monitors. Starting at just $8.99 a month, you can't find prices much lower than Identity Guard.

This Identity Guard review covers exactly what’s included in their subscriptions along with pricing, security, user experience, customer support and the mobile application. Let’s get started to see if Identity Guard is a trustworthy identity monitoring service and who it would be best for.

  • Individual plans for personal use range from $8.99 to $24.99 a month
  • Identity theft insurance** with a maximum reimbursement of $1 million
  • Three credit bureaus monitored with Total or Premier plans

Identity Guard

Features

Here’s exactly what Identity Guard does to help protect users from identity theft.

Credit Monitoring

Identity Guard helps protect identities primarily by monitoring credit. With the top-tier plans, they’ll monitor credit from all three credit-reporting agencies, namely Experian®, TransUnion® and Equifax®. Users will receive monthly credit score* updates with the Total and Premier plans.

Financial Monitoring

Aside from credit changes, scores and reports, Identity Guard also monitors finances. Any bank account takeovers or requests to open checking or savings accounts with a user’s information that Identity Guard finds will be promptly sent to the user with the Total and Premier plans. They’ll also be notified if their address is detected on any financial forms, so long as Identity Guard detects it first. In the same vein, Identity Guard monitors 401(k) and investment accounts, high-risk transactions as well as debit and credit cards.

Extra Features

Finally, Identity Guard also has some cybersecurity features like safe browsing tools, a dark web scan, and an anti-phishing mobile application. Let’s talk more about what each of these entail:

  • Dark web scan: The dark web, an area of the Internet where all users are anonymous, is a hotbed of cybercrime. Identity Guard will send users an alert if their credentials are found on the dark web, alerting them if they are so they can change their passwords.
  • Criminal and sex offense monitoring: If my name was found on a sex offender registry or police report, I’d be notified as soon as Identity Guard detected it.
  • USPS address change monitoring: I want to make sure that my mail isn’t being redirected to anyone else, so Identity Guard would let me know if that happened.
  • Home title monitoring: If someone opens a home title in my name, Identity Guard will let me know as soon as they detect it.
  • Risk management report: This report shows how at risk of identity fraud any particular user may be.
Identity Guard Risk Management Score
Identity Guard Risk Management Score. Screenshot from the website.
  • Safe browsing tools: Identity Guard has a browser extension that helps protect users’ privacy online, which protects against phishing attacks, an ad and flash blocker, tracking protection, mining protection and more.
  • Anti-phishing mobile app: Aside from the Identity Guard Classic app, the company also offers the Anti Phishing by Identity Guard app, which can detect and block phishing websites on Chrome, Dolphin and Samsung Internet.
  • Social insight report: Using artificial intelligence from IBM® Watson™, the social insight report analyzes their Facebook account to assess their “online image” and even suggests improvements. As of a recent update from the company, all accounts use IBM® Watson™.

Users will receive SMS, app and email alerts. If their identities are stolen, they are eligible to receive up to $1 million in reimbursement at maximum, the industry standard for identity theft insurance.

Privacy and Security

Since Identity Guard is based in the United States, the company is subject to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes, the international surveillance alliances. This means that under certain circumstances, they could be legally forced to hand over customer data, which is why we checked out Identity Guard’s privacy policy to see exactly what customer data they keep.Personal Data EncryptionFirst of all, anyone considering Identity Guard should know that they may offer information to third parties or free services, although it won’t be used for advertising or marketing purposes. Of course, it’s up to the user how much information they want to input into Identity Guard, but the more information they give, the more the service can monitor (and also share with third parties, potentially), so it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. At a minimum, this will include the user’s username, password, birthday, Social Security number and payment information.

Fortunately, customer data is encrypted, but it’s only encrypted with 128-bit encryption, while the industry standard is currently at 256-bit. While the company hasn’t had any data breaches so far, it’s clearly not the best choice for those that are extremely concerned about privacy.

User Experience

On a more positive note, setting up and using Identity Guard was very easy. First, we selected our plan and created a username and password, filling in other information like:

  • Birthday
  • Social Security Number
  • Name
  • Address
  • Billing information.
Filling out Identity Guard Information
Filling out Identity Guard Information. Screenshot from website.

After we paid, we were in the Identity Guard Dashboard, but to view our alerts, we needed to verify our identity in two ways: by answering a few multiple-choice questions as well as some threat questions.

Identity Guard Threat Questions
Identity Guard Threat Questions. Screenshot from website.

The more information is given to Identity Guard, the more data they can spit back at the user, particularly for the AI-powered features like the social insight report and risk management report. Once we filled in some information, it was easy to navigate between the Dashboard, the alerts, the Watchlist, plus our credit reports and scores*.

Subscription Options

Identity Guard has options for business and personal use and within those two categories, individuals and groups. Users can choose from annual or monthly contracts with any plan.

Personal

ValueTotalUltra
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 MonitoringX
Monthly Credit Score from 1 BureauX
Credit Monitoring from 3 BureausX
White Glove Resolution ConciergeXX
Social Media Insights ReportXX
Bank Account MonitoringXX
Credit and Debit Card MonitoringXX
401k and Investment Account MonitoringXX
Criminal and Sex Offense MonitoringXX
USPS Address Change MonitoringXX
Home Title MonitoringXX
Annual Credit Report from 3 BureausXX
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 has three personal options: Value, Total, and Premier. Clearly, the Premier plan provides the most coverage for both individuals and families, although it’s a bit pricey at either $24.99 a month or $249.96 a year for an individual. We recommend signing up for a year, as it includes a 17% discount. All plans include a $1 million reimbursement maximum for identity theft, but only the Total and Premier plan monitor credit scores and reports from all three credit-reporting bureaus.

 

Business

EssentialsTotal Protection
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 MonitoringX
3 Bureau Credit MonitoringX
Credit Report Updates from all 3 BureausX
Credit Scores from all 3 BureausX
Quarterly Credit Score UpdatedX
3-Bureau Credit AnalyzerX
Account Access via Mobile AppX
Public Record MonitoringX
PC Keyboard Encryption SoftwareX
PC Antivirus SoftwareX
Individual Annual Price Per Code$36$120
Team Annual Price Per Code$76$264

Identity Guard also offers both individual and group business plans with even more cybersecurity features like keyboard encryption software, antivirus software as well as more identity monitoring features, from public record monitoring to lost wallet protection. Pricing is different, based per code rather than per user.

Customer Support

Users that need help with Identity Guard can call their phone line weekdays from eight AM until 11 PM or Saturday between nine AM and six PM, EST. For Identity Guard with IBM® Watson™, the artificial intelligence software from IBM, the number is 1-855-443-7748, but for the Classic accounts, call 1-800-452-2541. Or, email customercare@identityguard.com for IBM® Watson™ users and customersupport@identityguard.com for Classic users. While they do have a section of online FAQs, it’s pretty minimal and there’s no live chat option, which was a bit disappointing.

The Identity Guard Classic App

The Identity Guard Classic app is where users get alerts, access credit information, changes to public records, addresses, accounts and apps in their names, and check out the latest news on identity theft incidents.

The Identity Guard Classic App
The Identity Guard Classic App. Screenshot from Google Play store.

Unfortunately, the app has 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.”

Fortunately for Android users, the app has a 4.5 rating on the Google Play store. Hopefully, Identity Guard can update its iOS update to make it more in line with its Android app.

Now, if you’re a IBM® Watson™ user, you’ll get still an app for iOS and Android, but we only tested out the Classic version.

Recap

Overall, we appreciate Identity Guard’s comprehensive features and there are low prices available on the lower-tier plans. However, those super concerned about privacy may want to find an identity monitoring service that does not share information with third parties and is not based in the United States.

Identity theft insurance** with 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 there are low prices available on the lower-tier plans. However, those super concerned about privacy may want to find an identity monitoring service that’s not based in the United States and that doesn’t share information with third parties.

  • Which is better, LifeLock or Identity Guard?

    Overall, we’d recommend LifeLock over Identity Guard. LifeLock has a much better iOS app, as the LifeLock ID Theft Protection app has a 4.6 on the Apple store compared to a 2.2 from Identity Guard. Plans from both companies start at $8.99 per user per month.

  • What does Identity Guard do?

    Identity Guard monitors any changes to a user’s credit file as well as their checking and savings account. If changes are detected, Identity Guard will alert the user 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 is Identity Guard per month?

    Personal subscriptions cost between $8.99 and $24.99 a month or between $90 and $249.96 for an individual, or between $14.99 and $24.99 a month or between $150 and $250.04 a year for families. For business subscriptions, the annual individual cost per code is either $36 or $120, while the annual family cost per code is either $76 or $264, depending on the features. Users who purchase through Security Baron receive a 20% off discount.

  • Which identity protection is best?

    PrivacyGuard provides the best identity theft protection. They have extremely comprehensive credit and identity monitoring, affordable pricing starting at $9.99 a 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.