Identity theft is a very popular form of crime in this day and age and the internet and all the technological advancements are in part to blame. We are only used to see the bright sight of the internet and all its great advantages (and nobody is questioning those!), but all this cyber world we’ve created can do harm as easy as it can do good.
The internet facilitates our entire existence and we use it to conduct all our daily routines: we communicate online, we shop online, we pay bills online and so on. In order to be able to use all the amazing benefits and services available on the internet, we also need accounts. And in order to have personal accounts, we are required to be registered and provide valuable and personal information, from full name and contact details to credit card information and so on. All this information is extremely sensitive and vulnerable to hacking attempts of all kinds. For every progress made in terms of online security measures, there’s a progress made in the hacking world as well, and hackers are getting smarter and more savvy by the day.
How can ID theft affect you?
Identity theft can easily occur online, using various methods, from malware, spyware to email schemes, through hacking your social media accounts and so on. You can lose your laptop or phone or have them stolen and the list goes on…
Once an ID thief has access to your valuable information, they can empty your bank accounts by getting access to your credit card information, they can apply for credit in your name, they can apply for a loan or a mortgage in your name, they can get medical care using your identity and more.
How can an ID theft protection service help you?
Identity theft protection services don’t have magical powers. They can’t prevent ID theft protection from happening and there’s nothing they can do that you couldn’t do yourself. So why would you pay for such a service, you ask? Well, identity theft protection services use advanced and complex software that can continuously scour the internet for suspicious information related to your identity. They can analyze billions of pieces of data within seconds and they even monitor the Dark Web to see whether details related to your identity appear anywhere. They always keep an eye for signs of tax fraud, bank account takeovers, credit changes and more. And they do that on a 24/7 basis, relentlessly and untiringly. They monitor your SSN, your email addresses, your credit from all 3-credit bureaus (with some providers only) and more.
Sure, you can undertake this exhausting task yourself, but you will need to quit your job and do it non-stop, not to mention the fact that you will never be as sharp and meticulous as their complex tools and their complex algorithms.
In addition to “guarding” your identity around the clock, ID theft protection services let you know immediately if something bad happens, through alerts and notifications, usually within 24 hours from the suspicious activity they’ve detected. This way, you’ll be able to take measures right away and minimize your loss and the consequences.
And another great benefit of ID theft protection services is the fact that most of them also offer ID recovery assistance, which means they’ll help you with restoring your name in case of an ID theft. They also offer generous insurances for up to $1 million for expenses related to restoring your identity.
Identity Guard is one of the most reputable ID theft protection services on the market right now and our number one choice in our top-rated ID theft protection services.
The company that launched the service is based in the US but also offers a Canadian service through its Aimia partner. Aimia specializes in loyalty management services. Identity Guard has helped protecting more than 47 million identities so far.
Identity Guard offers two types of ID theft protection services: Identity Guard Classic and Identity Guard with Watson.
IBM Watson is a complex software created by IBM, with which Identity Guard teamed up so that it can take its ID monitoring services to the next level. IBM Watson is based on AI (artificial intelligence) and can process billions of bits of information within seconds. Thus, the program is capable of monitoring your information on a 24/7 basis, detecting anything from data breaches to phishing attempts and so on.
IBM Watson scans the internet, including the Dark Web, hidden chat rooms and so on, looking for any suspicious information related to your identity and notifies you immediately, if it finds anything wrong.
Identity Guard offers both individual plans and family ones. There are 3 individual plans to choose from: Value ($7.50 per month), Total ($16.67) and Premier ($20.83).
The same options are also available for family plans. Value is priced at $12.50 per month, Total is priced at $25 and Premier is priced at $29.17.
If you don’t want the Identity Guard with Watson monitoring services, you have to contact their sales team to inquire about their plans for Identity Guard Classic.
What does Identity Guard offer?
Identity Guard comes with benefits such as:
- The IBM Watson monitoring (unless you opt for Identity Guard Classic)
- $1 million ID theft insurance with stolen funds reimbursement; the money will be spent for restoring your identity in case of ID theft
- Add-on for safe browsing
- Anti-phishing mobile app compatible with iOS and Android
- Child ID protection if you opt for the family plans
- SSN monitoring
- Dark Web monitoring
- Risk management score
- 3-bureau credit report with the most expensive plan
- Monthly credit score
LifeLock is an ID theft monitoring service offered by a company based in Arizona.
LifeLock teamed up with Norton and the Norton 360 technology blocks more than 140 million threats daily. Your information is blocked when you are connected to unsecure WiFi networks using a secure virtual private network and you also get Norton Antivirus, which is an award-winning software.
LifeLock offers both ID monitoring services as well as ID restoration in case of ID theft.
Depending on the plan you opt for, you get from $25,000 to $1 million reimbursement for stolen funds.
There are 4 plans available with LifeLock: Standard, Select, Advantage and Ultimate Plus.
Standard is priced at $8.99 per month for the first year and $11.99 after the first year.
Select is currently priced the same and after the first year it costs $14.99 per month.
Advantage is priced at $17.99 per month for the first year and $24.99 after the first year.
Ultimate Plus is priced at $25.99 per month for the first year and $34.99 after the first year.
All plans except for the Standard one include the Norton 360 technology. All plans include a 60-day money back guarantee.
What does LifeLock offer?
Here are some of the benefits you get with LifeLock:
- $25,000 stolen funds reimbursement with the Standard and the Select plans, $100,000 with Advantage and $1 million with Ultimate Plus
- Norton 360 technology for online protection
- Credit monitoring for one bureau and 3-bureau (the latter only with the most expensive plan)
- Lost wallet protection
- SSN and credit alerts
- Dark Web monitoring
- Data breach notifications
- Annual credit report and credit score from one-bureau with Advantage and from three-bureaus with Ultimate Plus
- Sex offender registry reports
- Norton 360 mobile app which is compatible with iOS and Android
Although there used to be a bigger discrepancy between LifeLock and Identity Guard, nowadays, both services are really competitive and similar in the features they bring to the table. The score is pretty tight: both services have mobile apps, Identity Guard has IBM Watson, while LifeLock has Norton 360.
LifeLock looks slightly richer in features and it has a better money back guarantee (60 days, compared to Identity Guard, which offers only 30 days).
On the other hand, Identity Guard is more affordable and offers a more generous ID theft insurance of $1 million with all its plans. LifeLock offers $1 million only with its most expensive plan.