Identity Guard® Review 2020March 2020 Identity guard Review & Deals
Machine learning capabilities with IBM Watson integration
A dedicated recovery case agent
Protection against cyberbullying
No two-factor authentication
Customer support is not available 24/7
No free trial
Once you’ve selected your plan and made the initial payment, Identity Guard will leap into action, scanning the internet for the information you’ve provided so far. At this point, you’ll be able to make your first visit to the online dashboard from which you can manage your Identity Guard account and keep track of passport numbers, credit cards, and other accounts.
By breaking the set-up process into steps, Identity Guard makes it easier for users to complete, although the 32 security questions are bound to keep you busy for some time. Nevertheless, it’s worth answering as many as you can to the best of your ability as these will form the basis of your watch list. You can also go back to answer the security questions if you do not have time to answer them during the sign up process.
For some, entering such sensitive information will result in nothing short of a panic attack so, if you’re one of those people, make sure you’ve connected your VPN before you start sharing the details of your occupation, income, preferred web browser, and favorite clothing store.
The modular design of Identity Guard’s online dashboard makes it simple to use and to navigate, although it lacks the seamless integration of some other identity theft protection tools. The main screen shows notifications alerting you to potentially suspicious activity or threats while a link from that main dashboard will take you straight to your credit report and risk assessment score. This score is created by Identity Guard’s unique Watson artificial intelligence feature which uses your profile and answers to threat questions to substantiate its report.
By using the horizontal navigation bar at the top of the screen, users can easily check out their reports which include both the TransUnion VantageScore* and a bar graph indicating why your credit score is what it is.
This is slightly different from the user interfaces on Identity Guard’s Android and iOS mobile apps which display both your credit scores and your alerts on the main interface. Beyond that, however, Identity Guard’s mobile apps have much the same functionality as the online dashboard as well as consistent design elements.
While this isn’t uncommon among identity theft protection tools, it’s nevertheless disappointing. Those developing software to help protect against identity theft seem to believe they operate in a different world to the rest of us, so while their blogs are filled with articles advising about the importance of encryption, few seem willing to reveal the details of their encryption or precisely how they’re preventing outsiders from accessing users’ sensitive data.
When you consider the lengths VPNs and other cybersecurity tools go to, to inform their users about exactly how their encryption works and how long it would take to break, statements like those made by Identity Guard seem decidedly inadequate. Having said that, few identity protection tools offer such insights, so it appears to be the industry standard. Let’s hope Identity Guard will be one of the first to challenge those standards and give its users better insights into its security measures and encryption usage.
If Identity Guard wants to move with the times, it should make two-factor authentication its top priority in 2020 but, in the meantime, users should ensure they use a strong password to protect their account because opting for something like “password” is tantamount to handing all your financial data over to a cybercriminal and giving him or her a tip afterward.
Social Security Number Monitoring – Once you’ve created an account, Identity Guard will constantly comb through thousands of data sources checking to see if your Social Security number has been leaked, stolen or exposed. If your SSN is detected somewhere it ought not to be, Identity Guard will notify you of the vulnerability, giving you the chance to secure your data before any further damage occurs.
ID Verification Alerts – should Identity Guard detect any changes being made to your current accounts, or notice that an application for a new credit card or cellphone contract has been made in your name, it will send you an ID Verification Alert, so you can verify whether it was you who made the application or if someone else is posing as you.
Black Market Monitoring – Identity Guard ventures into the dark recesses of the internet that few others dare to go. In doing so, however, it keeps a round-the-clock eye on your personal information, ensuring that you’ll be the first to know if any sensitive data is detected on an underground forum, chat group, or dark website.
Identity Theft Recovery – Not only does Identity Guard give its users $1 million insurance** to cover any losses incurred as a result of identity theft, but it will also give you professional assistance to help you deal with identity theft and recover from the situation as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Additional areas of protection covered by Identity Guard include:
- Address monitoring
- SSN monitoring for children (available with family plans only)
- Safe browsing options
- 3-bureau credit monitoring
- $1m insurance
- Risk management score
- Mobile apps
- Online dashboard
They will all also alert you to:
- High-risk transactions
- Personal information detected on the Dark Web
- 3-bureau credit report (available in the Premier plan only)
- Back account takeovers
Even basic plan subscribers enjoy the additional benefits of anti-phishing features on the mobile app, and safe browsing on every device, from Android to Windows.
What sets Identity Guard apart from the competition, however, is its use of IBM Watson artificial intelligence.
IBM Watson AI is designed to provide the highest level of AI to solve problems and predict potential issues based on past behavior. By integrating IBM Watson AI into its identity theft protection service, Identity Guard’s parent company, Aura, has created a tool that can look at a billion pieces of data in minutes. As an identity protection monitoring app, that means it can find information in the darkest corners of cyberspace and identify risk factors that could make you vulnerable in the future.
IBM Watson technologies come into their own when it comes to protecting children online. Watson AI uses both natural language classifiers and processing methods to “understand and categorize what individuals are sending and receiving. Complex algorithms then identify instances, or potential instances, of cyberbullying or self-harm. If a threat is identified, it triggers an alert that is sent parents”.
Instead of assuming identity theft protection software comes in a one-size-fits-all package, Identity Guard is adapting its technology to reflect the unique risks each of us faces based on our online habits.
Should Identity Guard detect that someone filed a tax return in your name, they will be able to alert you to the cybercrime immediately, helping prevent further complications and expenses.
Despite these impressive features, there are nonetheless one or two more basic ones that Identity Guard doesn’t have, including notifying users when a known sex offender moves into their neighborhood and placing fraud alerts at the credit bureaus on behalf of their customers. Recently, however, Identity Guard did introduce address monitoring which is a common feature of the best identity protection tools, but one which Identity Guard was previously lacking.
Overall, Identity Guard’s features make for a comprehensive identity theft protection service that goes the extra mile in terms of dark web monitoring and has taken the innovative step of using AI to improve risk prediction.
|Individual Plan (Monthly Price)||$7.50/mo||$19.99/mo||$24.99/mo|
|Family Plan (Monthly Price)||$14.99/mo||$29.99/mo||$34.99/mo|
|Individual Plan (Annual Price)||$8.99/mo||$16.67/mo||$20.83/mo|
|Family Plan (Annual Price)||$12.50/mo||$25/mo||$29.17/mo|
Identity Guard prices are among the most competitive, with is entry-level Value plan costing just $7.50 per month on an annual subscription. With most identity protection software costing a minimum of $9.99 a month, this makes it an inexpensive option for those requiring basic-level protection. The Value plan includes Watson AI functionality, high-risk transaction alerts, and a dedicated case manager to assist in the recovery process.
The mid-range package, called Identity Guard Total, starts at $16.67 per month for individuals and $25 per month for families which, again, makes it good value for money. This plan includes address monitoring, as well as tax refund alerts and monthly credit scores.
On the downside, Identity Guard Total won’t give you a 3-bureau credit report or a social insight report. For a fully comprehensive identity protection service, users should opt for Identity Guard’s Premier package which includes both those reports in addition to a monthly credit score.
Family plans include additional child monitoring services designed to help protect your children against identity theft and are slightly more expensive as a result but it’s still a small price to pay if it means keeping your children safe. What’s more, Identity Guard’s family plans are still a lot cheaper than most of the competition, with some charging upwards of $19.99 for basic protection, compared to Identity Guard’s more affordable $12.50 per month for its basic family plan.
While Identity Guard is competitive in its pricing tiers, it loses a few points by failing to provide either a free trial or a money-back guarantee period. Most identity theft protection services offer at least a 30-day money-back guarantee, with some being generous enough to give users a 30-day free trial.
As it stands, Identity Guard falls firmly in the middle somewhere. While it doesn’t have much in the way of online support, and seems to rely rather too heavily on its telephone support system, it nevertheless has an email support option available for those who need it.
In terms of online support, Identity Guard has a comprehensive set of FAQs which include informative answers which use simple language and images to facilitate the troubleshooting process.
Despite these little hitches, Identity Guard’s customer support is not bad and account holders can also access a technical support section that provides trouble-shooting advice, step-by-step installation advice and additional information about how to safeguard your identity. Furthermore, the responses from its email support system typically take just a few hours, which is much faster than many of its rivals.
* 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 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.