[Editor’s Note: For a limited time, Identity Guard® is offering a discount of $5.00 off every month ($14.99 instead of $19.99, 25% off) and a free 30-day trial to NextAdvisor.com visitors. There is no coupon code required to take advantage of this offer but you must click on a link from our site. So simply click on any Identity Guard link on NextAdvisor.com to take advantage of this limited time discount pricing.]
If fear of identity theft is your primary reason for credit report monitoring, there is no question that Identity Guard Total Protection® is your best option. Even if identity theft is just one factor, Identity Guard’s exhaustive list of features and 30-day free trial make it worth serious consideration. It provides the most data you can get as well as the longest free trial. In addition to daily 3-bureau credit report monitoring, a 3-bureau credit report and free credit scores from all three bureaus, Identity Guard Total Protection offers an extremely impressive and potent arsenal of tools to stop identity theft and credit card fraud.
Identity Guard goes far beyond other credit report monitoring services by also monitoring public records for any changes in your name (as well as giving you a free public record report and an updated one every quarter), scanning for application or social security fraud, and monitoring the Internet’s black market for any use of your credit cards or other personal information. They also include anti-keylogging software, lost wallet protection (they can cancel your credit card accounts and give you up to $2,000 advance if you need it) and a Personal ID Risk Assessment. Identity Guard Total Protection includes $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance to cover you in case you somehow are still victimized while enrolled in the service.
Perhaps the most notable extra service that’s included in Identity Guard Total Protection is the free Zone Alarm Internet Security Suite, an award-winning Internet security solution including anti-virus, firewall, anti-phishing and anti-spam software with hourly security updates. This normally costs $49.95 to buy but is free with your Total Protection enrollment and includes all virus definition updates and annual renewals as long as you maintain your membership. Of course if you don’t want or need this security software you don’t have to download it. Note that the Zone Alarm software is currently only available for the PC and is not compatible with Mac.
Children are often targeted by identity thieves. Thus, Identity Guard members also have the option to add kID Sure, an excellent identity theft protection tool that helps protect children. kID Sure monitors criminal records, DMV records, utilities records and scans the Internet black market for their social security number. This plan allows you to add your children to an existing adult’s plan for only $5/month. The children you sign up have to be under the age of 18, and you have to be their legal guardian.
Immediately upon enrolling, Identity Guard Total Protection gives you daily 3-bureau credit report monitoring with email alerts, your credit scores from all 3 bureaus and a 3-bureau credit report. The scores are based on the CreditXpert scoring system, which isn’t as popular as the FICO system that most lenders use, but is a very good approximation of it. When we cross-referenced our credit scores from Identity Guard with our actual FICO scores, they were virtually identical. Identity Guard gives you credit scores from all 3 bureaus and an updated public record report every 3 months.
You’ll receive a 3-bureau credit report when you enroll and quarterly updates to this report thereafter. The 3-bureau report combines all 3 of your credit bureau reports (from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) into a single report, making it easy to review for any errors or fraudulent activity. Furthermore, the information you get on your tri-bureau report combined with ongoing 3-bureau credit monitoring makes Identity Guard a very effective service for keeping a close eye on your credit.
Your subscription includes access to a very useful credit analyzer. You can try out different scenarios, such as paying off your credit card by a certain amount or opening up a new loan, to see how your credit score will be affected. If you are monitoring your credit, this analyzer can help you to make the best choices to raise your credit score.
Identity Guard recently updated their member center so that it is now extremely useful. They make it easy to see what identity protection tools you have and haven’t activated as well as what updated information is available to you. They are also great about letting you know via email when you have new reports or scores available. Be sure to register all your credit card and bank accounts right away to take advantage of their excellent identity theft protection. In the event of a credit card theft, you can report the incident to Identity Guard and they will handle all the details for you, including reporting the cards as stolen and getting new cards issued to you. Identity Guard offers generous customer service phone hours (8am-11pm M-F and 9am-6pm Sat) as well as postal mail and e-mail contact methods. When we tried contacting them, a customer service representative answered almost immediately, and was able to provide useful advice about the service. Reporting for lost or stolen cards can be done on the phone or through your account, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
As a huge bonus, Identity Guard Total Protection now gives users who sign up from NextAdvisor.com a 30-day free trial of their service. So even if you decide to cancel the service after your 30-day free trial, you get to keep at no cost all 3 credit scores, the tri-bureau credit report and a public records report.
Overall, Identity Guard Total Protection can’t be beat in terms of features and functionality. It offers both a great credit report monitoring service and the best identity theft protection you can get.