Our personal data is shared much too often on way too many websites. We are required to share it every time we are signing up on a new website or for a new service. We provide our contact details, our financial data and so on, without knowing how sensitive this data is. Identity thieves target anyone, from individual to corporation and ID theft happens in various forms: from social media hacking schemes to account takeovers, medical identity theft and so on, the possibilities are countless.
The effects of ID theft are unpleasant and oftentimes long-lasting, because it isn’t exactly easy to bounce back from identity theft. Financial consequences are usually the worst, because you can have your credit cards stolen, bank account emptied and recovering your money can take you even years sometimes. But there are other repercussions to be mentioned as well, such as having your credit score affected to the point in which you won’t be able to apply for credit or even get a job. Not to mention about the stress and anxiety that you have to put up with.
Identity theft protection services – Are they worth it?
In addition to being extremely careful with your data, accounts, passwords and so on, you could also benefit from an ID theft protection service. These services can’t always prevent ID theft from happening, but they can alert you in time to minimize its effects. They usually monitor all your information and, in many cases, your credit as well, and notify you in case of any suspicious activities related to your identity. Monitoring services protect you on a 24/7 basis, so your data is watched over around the clock.
While it is true that you can also succeed in doing yourself what an identity theft protection service does, you most likely won’t be able to do it non-stop and it is an exhausting task for anyone to undertake. It is much more efficient to pay a small monthly fee and let the pros do the job for you.
Identity Guard vs LifeLock – Which one is better?
Both Identity Guard and LifeLock are major leaders in the ID theft protection services industry and among the top 5 services in our Best Review Guide lineup. They both offer quality ID monitoring, complex features and top-notch customer support.
Identity Guard is a service developed by a company based in Virginia. The company is called Intersections Inc. and was founded in 1996. Now, more than 20 years later, Identity Guard protects over 47 million identities, with the help of the IBM Watson software (artificial intelligence). This is the number 1 ID theft protection service in our lineup.
Starting 2002, Identity Guard also has a Canadian version of the service, via collaboration with Aimia, a loyalty management service provider.
How much does Identity Guard cost?
Identity Guard offers several protection plans to its customers.
Value is the most affordable plan, priced at $8.99 per month.
Total is the next choice and it costs $19.99 per month.
The priciest and most comprehensive plan is Premier, priced at $24.99 per month.
These are the prices for monthly billing, but there is also the possibility to opt for annual billing, which will help you save some money. Here are the prices of the three plans with annual billing:
Value - $7.50 per month
Total - $16.67 per month
Premier - $20.83 per month
What does Identity Guard have to offer?
One of the most appealing features of Identity Guard identity theft protection service is its partnership with IBM. IBM Watson is a really complex software developed by IBM. It is based on artificial intelligence and it can process billions of bits of information in an extremely short time. Watson monitors your information on a 24/7 basis and can detect from malware to phishing attempts, data breaches and more.
This software scans for your information everywhere on the internet, including the Dark Web, hidden chat rooms and so on and alerts you immediately, in case it finds anything suspicious related to your identity (tax fraud, email changes, requests for opening a new bank account with your personal information, wire transfers, 3-bureau credit changes such as new credit inquiries, etc.).
Identity Guard also offers a browser extension that works on all common browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari) and blocks malvertisements, tracking cookies, etc.
This ID theft protection service also offers family plans which also covers your children. You will receive notification if their information is detected anywhere on the internet.
Identity Guard has a complex mobile app as well and it works on both iOS and Android devices. The app includes some useful features such as credit monitoring alerts, risk management score, ID verification alerts, anti-phishing protection and more.
LifeLock is another popular and reputable ID theft protection service and the fourth one in our lineup. The service was developed by LifeLock Inc., a company founded over 10 years ago. LifeLock boasts on having more than 4 million members using its service.
How much does LifeLock cost?
There are 4 plans available with LifeLock: Standard, Select, Advantage, Ultimate Plus.
Standard is priced at $8.99 per month for the first year and $11.99 after that.
Select is priced at $8.99 per month for the first year and $14.99 after that.
Advantage is $17.99 per month for the first year and $24.99 after that.
Ultimate Plus is $25.99 per month for the first year and $34.99 after that.
The first two plans come with $25,000 stolen funds reimbursement. The Advantage plan includes a $100,000 reimbursement for stolen funds and the Ultimate Plus plan $1 million reimbursement.
What does LifeLock have to offer?
Identity & social security number alerts are included with all plans and so is credit monitoring for one bureau. Ultimate Plus includes credit monitoring for all 3 major bureaus.
Some other useful features included are: VPN for up to 5, 10 or unlimited devices, depending on the plan you opt for, bank account and credit card activity alerts for the pricier plans, annual 3 bureau credit reports + credit scores (just with Ultimate Plus) and more.
There is also a mobile app included, which is compatible with both iOS and Android.
Lost wallet protection is another useful feature included with this service, as is the black-market surveillance (more than 10,000 criminal websites are monitored).
Which one is better: Identity Guard or LifeLock?
As you can see, both services are rich in features, have mobile apps and a clean user-friendly interface.
LifeLock is better when it comes to customer support and interface. It also has the Lost Wallet feature that is not included with Identity Guard. Identity Guard on the other hand is a bit more affordable, has a better offer when it comes to its family plan and the IBM Watson software is really useful.
Although both services offer useful features to their customers, overall, we find LifeLock to be a better choice from the two.