Identity Guard | Identity Theft Protection Overview

November 7, 2012

Identity Guard (Overview)Identity Guard is a company that provides identity protection services to consumers.

Why Consider an Identity Protection Service?

Identity theft is a big, serious business.

Credit card and bank account numbers, social security numbers, and website login information are stolen every day around the globe. This sensitive data is then resold on black markets from one criminal to the next. The bad guy (or guys, more likely) at the end of the road commit fraud by purchasing as much loot as possible online and shipping it to a nondescript location, clean out your bank accounts, and try to open new lines of credit in your name.

It’s a massive, sad industry with long repercussions for its victims. It can take up to 26 hours of work to wipe out the damage done by identity theft. There’s a lot of paperwork involved: a police report, certified letters to defrauded creditors, and contacts with the three major credit bureaus to name a few.

An identity theft protection service’s goal is to help you avoid that situation. They monitor various aspects of your financial life and look for suspicious activity and alert you to it.

What Services Does Identity Guard Offer?

Identity Guard offers four monthly plans that offer a varying range of protection.

All four plans include:

  • Identity theft insurance – you get paid if thieves steal money from you that is not recovered.
  • ID theft recovery assistance – you receive access to an identity theft recovery center.
  • Internet surveillance – if your personal information (SSN, credit card info, etc.) is revealed online you’ll be alerted.
  • Some online tool access – basic tools to let you look at your credit and plan for your financial future.
  • Lost wallet protection – the company will assist you in canceling your credit cards.

After that the benefits you receive depend on the monthly cost.

We’ll cover cost in a moment, but some additional options available to you include:

  • Credit scores – quarterly credit scores from the three credit bureaus.
  • Credit bureau monitoring – if a new line of credit is opened in your name you will be alerted (from mortgages to car loans to cell phone accounts).
  • Public record monitoring – the most expensive plan will monitor public records to make sure you are aware of new aliases, addresses, licenses and registrations, and court cases against you.

How Much Does Identity Theft Protection Cost?

The plans range from $4.99 per month to $17.99 per month. All plans include the first set of benefits listed above.

The second plan is $9.99 and the third plan is $14.99. They offer the exact same benefits except for two notable distinctions. The $9.99 plan offers identity theft insurance, but unlike the other three plans that pay out up to $1 million in insurance, it only pays out $2,500 and has a $250 deductible. I found that kind of strange. It also only offers 1 credit score (the two more expensive plans offer 3 credit scores).

What Alternatives Do I Have?

If you don’t want to pay a monthly fee to have your identity protected there are still options available to you. You can set up a self-monitoring service using This site is the official, government mandated website that lets you check your credit report once per year with each credit bureau. Instead of checking all three reports at the same time you simply space them out throughout the year – once every four months. (If you’re married you can rotate who checks their score and check every two months.)

This won’t provide you instant monitoring, but can give you some peace of mind in keeping tabs on what might be going on with your credit profile.

You can download free tools to help you keep your computer clean of malware and viruses that can assist thieves in stealing your personal data. Some tools of note include AVG Antivirus (Free Edition), CCleaner, and Spybot Search and Destroy.

Do you have identity theft protection? What do you think about Identity Guard? Leave your thoughts below!


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Kevin Mulligan is a debt reduction champion with a passion for teaching people how to budget and stay out of debt. He's building a personal finance freelance writing career and has written for, Discover Bank, ING Direct, and many others.

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