Identity Guard Platinum is among the better identity-theft-protection services we reviewed during our three-month testing process. For $24.99 per month ($19.99 per month for Tom's Guide readers), it provides excellent credit-score monitoring and a number of helpful tools and utilities, such as a credit score analyzer and anti-keylogging software.
If $24.99 per month sounds too steep, Identity Guard also offers an Essentials plan for $9.99 per month ($8.99 for Tom's Guide readers) that doesn't include address-change monitoring, tri-bureau credit monitoring, credit-score reports or public-record monitoring. There's also a Total Protection plan for $19.99 per month ($14.99 for Tom's Guide readers) that includes everything in the Platinum plan, but which gives you quarterly, rather than monthly, credit-score updates.
Identity Guard Platinum vs the Competition
Credit Scores and Reports
Identity Guard displays your tri-bureau scores on the home screen, with the rating of each (Fair, Good, Excellent) below. Clicking on the Details button beneath each score opens a Credit Score Summary window that shows the date of the next credit update, positive and negative factors that affect your score with each bureau, and a boilerplate explanation of how the bureaus calculate your credit score.
Overall, Identity Guard provides less detail than either IdentityForce or LifeLock. It doesn't list the number of unsatisfactory or derogatory accounts, the number of recent credit inquiries or your credit history with each bureau.
Financial Account Monitoring
With Identity Guard, you can register up to 20 credit cards and multiple bank accounts for Internet monitoring. Registering a bank account requires the account number and the bank's routing number; to register a credit card, you need the card number, expiration date, card company and the toll-free customer service number. However, Identity Guard didn't send me alerts when my checking-account balance changed dramatically or when I made large purchases with my credit card, which limited its utility.
Personal Information Monitoring
Identity Guard provides slightly less comprehensive personal-information monitoring than either LifeLock or IdentityForce. The service regularly scans local and state databases to see if your name and address have been used to fraudulently register for licenses and permits, or were used to falsify criminal records.
Identity Guard also lets you register your Social Security number and home address. (The service automatically uses your billing address.) However, you can't add your driver's license number, additional email addresses or additional phone numbers, as you can with IdentityForce and LifeLock. This proved particularly disappointing, given that LifeLock discovered that my email address and one of my passwords had been compromised.
I received slightly more notifications from Identity Guard than I did from IdentityForce. The service emailed me monthly updates informing me that it hadn't detected any changes or activity, along with tips for protecting my identity during tax season. I also received email notifications when my new credit report was available, as well as a generic email with advice on how to deal with the Premera Blue Cross breach in early 2015.
However, I didn't receive any notifications about my credit score or my account balance. I signed up for text-message notifications, but did not receive any during the three-month testing period. I reached out to Identity Guard to ask about this, but received no response.
Login security was equally disappointing. Identity Guard requires only your username and password to access the site. The service prompts you to create two security questions, but I was never prompted to answer these when I attempted to log in.
Tools and Utilities
On the positive side, Identity Guard offers a Credit Analyzer tool similar to IdentityForce's Credit Score Simulator. This utility lets you see how certain scenarios — such as applying for credit, paying off your debt or maxing out your revolving credit — will affect your score with each bureau. Although the list of scenarios is quite large, IdentityForce's Credit Score Simulator proved a bit more robust than Identity Guard's Credit Analyzer.
Identity Guard provides a number of financial calculators designed to help you figure out how to pay off your credit cards, budget your expenses and plan your retirement. There are also guides about how to protect yourself from identity theft and how credit scores are calculated.
Identity Guard also offers subscribers several free software tools designed to protect your personal information. ID Vault securely stores your login and credit card information, allowing you to log in to websites with a single click or auto-fill your credit card information when shopping online. The second utility, PrivacyProtect, encrypts and decrypts your keystrokes to protect you from keylogging malware. Finally, there's ZoneAlarm, an anti-malware suite used under license by Identity Guard. None of the tools are compatible with OS X.
Like IdentityForce and LifeLock, Identity Guard offers a $1 million identity-theft insurance policy. However, this policy offers $2,000 per week in lost wages for up to five weeks, compared to $1,000 per week with IdentityForce, and also covers travel expenses (up to $1,000) and care for elders, spouses and children (up to $2,000). As with IdentityForce, the remaining funds cover legal fees and any unauthorized transfers of funds (not including interest and fees), provided that you haven't already been reimbursed for the loss.
Identity Guard Platinum is a solid identity-theft-protection service. For $24.99 per month, it offers excellent credit-protection monitoring and a number of helpful utilities. However, its financial activity and personal information monitoring are not as comprehensive as LifeLock's, although it costs almost as much per month. If you're willing to forgo Identity Guard's handy tools and utilities, LifeLock provides better overall protection.
Credit score monitoring: Excellent
Financial activity monitoring: Good
Personal information monitoring: Good
Alerts and notifications: Infrequent
Tools and utilities: Credit score analyzer; financial calculators; antimalware software suite
Login Security: Poor
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