It’s tax season, so you’re probably wondering what your credit score is. Well, to be honest, that’s something you should be tracking year-round, although I get that it’s not the most fun activity. However, monitoring your credit report and scores is actually a great way to monitor your identity in general. Identity monitoring services like PrivacyGuard are also helpful for monitoring other areas like public records, neighborhood reports, and other areas where you’d want to know if your credentials were found.
In this PrivacyGuard review, I’m taking a look at this identity monitoring service and determining who it would be good for. Let’s get started!
The main function of PrivacyGuard is to monitor your credit scores and reports from the three credit-reporting agencies, namely Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.
You’ll receive a monthly update, which is about as often as possible. Now, that’s just the basic credit protection, but PrivacyGuard also offers monitoring for identity protection including:
- Dark web
- Social Security Numbers of adults and children
- Driver’s License and passports
- Bank account
- Debit and credit cards
- USPS address changes
- Email, phone, name and birthday
- Identification/application verification
- Public records
We’ll talk more about what subscription gets you what feature in a little bit, but this covers all of PrivacyGuard’s offerings, which is totally comprehensive when compared to other identity monitoring services. You’ll get alerted of any changes or updates via email or SMS notifications, and if your identity is stolen, you could be liable for up to $1 million in reimbursements, plus help from a dedicated ID fraud resolution agent as well as online fraud assistance.
If you want the most protection, PrivacyGuard offers even more features like:
- Reduced pre-approved credit card offers
- Neighborhood reports
- Registered offender locator
- Emergency travel assistance
- Medical records reimbursement
- Lost and stolen wallet protection
- Annual public records report.
While these features may not have to do with identity or credit monitoring specifically, they put you in a good position when it comes to fielding credit card offers, keeping on top of neighborhood crime, and adding some insurance for traveling or lost wallets.
PrivacyGuard Privacy and Security
If you’re trusting PrivacyGuard to monitor your identity, then they’re going to need to know a lot of your personal information, from your Social Security Number to your bank account information, so it’s important that this information stays private. Now, one good thing that I’ll say right off the bat is that you can access PrivacyGuard’s app through multi-factor authentication, meaning fingerprint/ face recognition. That prevents unauthorized users from accessing your account, which is a clear win, but is it enough to protect your data?
- Social Security Number
- Phone Number
- Birth date
- Service usage history, which could include your IP address, browser type, operating system, etc.
Trilegiant Corporation, which owns PrivacyGuard, maintains that while this information can be shared for joint marketing with other financial companies, only information about your “transactions and experiences” will be shared with affiliates for their “everyday business purposes,”, not “information about your creditworthiness”. Unfortunately, this practice of collecting and selling data to third parties is incredibly common in our current digital landscape, so PrivacyGuard isn’t doing anything that every other identity monitoring service isn’t also doing.
While PrivacyGuard doesn’t offer any information about the methods they use to encrypt your data, this is also unfortunately pretty common when it comes to identity monitoring services. However, the company hasn’t had any security breaches in the past and has never gotten into trouble with the Federal Trade Commission for improperly storing customer data, which we can see as a plus.
To begin using PrivacyGuard, first I had to select a plan. Then, I entered in a username, password, along with some information like my name, address, birthday, Social Security Number and billing information. From there, I had to answer a few multiple choice questions to verify my identity, and then, I had to call a phone line to answer even more multiple choices questions. But even though I authenticated my identity over the phone, when I tried to log into PrivacyGuard, I received an authentication error.
I called back and it turns out I had to wait 15 minutes before logging in, which the woman on the phone hadn’t told me before. Oh, well. After about 15 minutes, I logged on successfully and was able to see my credit score along with any monitoring alerts. Overall, the setup process took about 20 minutes, which is a little longer than other services but for good reason, authenticating my identity.
It was super easy to navigate my alerts, although I must say that PrivacyGuard’s website is a bit passé in terms of aesthetics. But this isn’t a fashion show, and aside from the minor speed bump in the setup, I think PrivacyGuard is super user-friendly for the average consumer.
When it comes to PrivacyGuard’s subscriptions, you have three main options. You can pay $19.99 a month for Credit Protection by itself, $9.99 a month for Identity Protection, or $24.99 a month for Total Protection, which combines identity and credit protection with some additional features. I recommend doing Total Protection, especially because PrivacyGuard doesn’t make you sign up for a long-term contract.
Their pricing is super reasonable starting at only $9.99 for Identity Protection alone, going all the way up to $24.99 a month for the total package. I’ve seen similar services charge all the way up to $49.95, so this is definitely fair. Now, if you want to cancel your PrivacyGuard subscription for whatever reason, you’ll only be charged $1, given that you’re within a two-week period. This is an incredibly low price to try out their services, making PrivacyGuard nearly risk-free.
PrivacyGuard Customer Support
Need help with any aspect of PrivacyGuard? You can check out their online FAQs, call their phone line, or email them. When I had a question regarding encryption, I emailed support, about I was told I’d receive a response within five business days. Seven days later, I got a response asking me why I was asking, so that was unhelpful. However, that may say more about their transparency than their customer support.
The Digital Protection App
If you have an iPhone, you’ll use the Digital Protection app, while the app is called Digital Protection by PrivacyGuard on the Google Play store. The app is where you’ll monitor your identity and credit on the go. It provides a secure mobile browser that protects against phishing, plus a secure keyboard that protects against malware and makes sure that nothing is accidentally sent to the cloud.
While there’s not enough reviews for an overall Android rating, the iOS app only has a 2.6 rating, which is pretty disappointing. One iPhone user wrote in a recent one-star review,
“Can’t even use because you can’t log on too it because it is asking for information you haven’t even submitted. Way too confusing as to why someone would make an app like this.”
So while PrivacyGuard certainly has it’s advantages, a user-friendly app is not one of them.
Despite PrivacyGuard’s shortcomings, I would definitely recommend it as an identity monitoring service overall. However, I think it really depends on what you’re looking for, which is why I broke it down below.
PrivacyGuard is good for you if you want…
- Comprehensive credit and identity monitoring: PrivacyGuard hits all the major marks when it comes to protecting your identity and monitoring your credit.
- Affordable pricing: Starting at only $9.99 a month, PrivacyGuard has very reasonable pricing.
- Monthly contracts: Unlike many of it’s competitors, you won’t have to sign up for a year with PrivacyGuard.
But don’t get PrivacyGuard if you are looking for…
- Stellar customer support: You may not receive a response in a timely manner, or a response at all, for your support requests, based on my personal experience.
- User-friendly app: Unfortunately, PrivacyGuard needs to update it’s iOS and Android apps.
- What is PrivacyGuard?
PrivacyGuard is a credit and identity monitoring service.
- How much does PrivacyGuard cost?
PrivacyGuard costs between $9.99 and $24.99 a month.
- Are PrivacyGuard credit scores accurate?
PrivacyGuard credit scores are accurate, sourced through the three credit-reporting agencies Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.