IDENTITY GUARD® is an identity theft protection service that protects your mobile and Internet lifestyle, and personal, sensitive information. I use the Internet for banking, paying bills, personal and business communication, shopping and researching so I’m someone who’s always on guard about my identity, wondering if a service like IDENTITY GUARD® is worth signing up for. As it stands, this is a credit monitoring service that promises to track and protect your credit, identity, Internet and mobile life.
IDENTITY GUARD® Review: What IDENTITY GUARD® Does For You
Unless you receive a bill or notice, how do you know when someone has hijacked your identity? Often, the perpetrators establish false addresses to hide their crimes. But services like IDENTITY GUARD® monitor all types of activities involving your identity. They automatically check your credit scores from all major credit reporting agencies.
Your IDENTITY GUARD® personal identity dashboard includes a public records report, as well as monitoring alerts and messages. You’ll be able to get an ID Risk Assessment® to let you know how likely you are to become a victim of identity theft. An IDENTITY GUARD® membership also entitles you to all 3 credit scores and analysis (and more!) so you know exactly what is affecting your credit rating. Here are its features:
- Receive all 3 of your credit scores
- Daily 3 bureau credit monitoring with alerts
- Public record monitoring
- Credit and debit card monitoring
- Social security card monitoring
- Personal data protection
- Quarterly credit updates
- Bank accounts monitored
- Up to $1 million ID theft insurance
- Fraud victim assistance
- PC security suite
- Convenient online financial calendars
Can You Trust This Identity Theft Protection Service?
IDENTITY GUARD® offers a thirty-day free trial period. You can call to cancel the membership before the monthly fee of $14.95 is billed. PC World has also rated IDENTITY GUARD® as a top identity theft protection service. This service also offers good value as one of the cheaper services that offers all 3 scores (and more) at an affordable monthly rate.
With the 30 day trial, I would think that it’s worth trying out IDENTITY GUARD®. When I decided to try out this identity protection service, I wanted to see my 3 credit scores along with an evaluation. My husband and I noticed some issues with our credit information which we then worked to resolve over the span of a few months. To me, this paid service was worth every penny to give us transparency over our credit records, and to help us prevent possible future identity theft.
Identity Theft Facts
According to the Federal Trade Commission, “1 in 6 Americans will be a victim of identity theft this year alone. In the last twelve months 9.93 million people have had some type of identity theft crime committed against them. Victims spend on average, $1,200 in out-of-pocket expenses and an average of 175 hours in efforts to resolve the many problems caused by identity thieves.”
When someone uses your identity, it causes a plethora of problems. You can become financially liable for bills you did not incur. You can be accused of committing crimes you know nothing about. You can get accused of motor vehicles accidents even if you aren’t currently driving. Identity theft is difficult to prove and can dramatically alter your life for years after the theft occurs.
Types of ID Theft
There are several reasons people steal your identity. Let’s consider some of the most common types of identity theft and where they occur:
- With medical information bureau identity theft, a thief uses your identity to get medical benefits. This can reduce your own medical benefits and cause confusion about your medical treatment in an emergency.
- Social security theft occurs when a thief uses your social security number to secure employment, generate possible tax bills and even collect an instant online tax refund.
- Criminal theft happens when a thief uses your identity as a “get out of jail free” card or to avoid paying fines. You could wind up with a criminal record even if you’ve committed no crimes.
- A DMV ID thief can get a driver’s license in your name and can start collecting infractions ranging from parking tickets to a DUI.
- Financial identity, which is the theft we hear most about, occurs when a thief uses your identity to apply for credit cards or make major purchases including vehicles and real estate.
These are just the kinds of issues you hope to sidestep by using an ID theft protection service. Now these services aren’t expected to solve all your credit issues (there’s no guarantee that they can stop every kind of ID theft), but certainly, the more vigilant you are and the more proactive a stance you take against ID theft and credit monitoring, the healthier your credit is bound to be.
Alternatively, depending on how well you’d like to keep an eye on your credit information, you may instead opt for annual free credit reports (but not credit scores) via AnnualCreditReport.com, but you’ll have to order this information on your own on a regular basis to keep track of your own credit.