We should all be a little on edge when it comes to identity theft. It’s no longer out of the ordinary for companies we do business with to experience data breaches. Plus, scammers, hackers and thieves continue to get craftier with their approaches to stealing our information.
Identity theft services seek to help us catch identity theft before it does too much damage. But, it’s important to note that no identity theft protection company can eliminate the risk of theft entirely.
PrivacyGuard offers an identity theft protection product that includes credit monitoring and recovery support if your identity is stolen.
PrivacyGuard Identity Theft Protection at a Glance
Credit reports and scores – You get credit reports and CreditXpert credit scores from all three bureaus monthly. According to PrivacyGuard, CreditXpert uses common scoring methods to give you a credit score estimate. This isn’t the FICO scoring method which is used by most lenders. But, you can still use CreditXpert to gain a general sense of your credit score health. PrivacyGuard also has a score tracking tool that charts changes in your score monthly.
Daily Credit Monitoring – Credit alerts will inform you of credit inquiries, new accounts opened, public records added, change of address requests or derogatory remarks.
Identity Theft Protection Recovery – If your identity is stolen, PrivacyGuard has fraud recovery specialists that assist you in taking back your identity. They can help with disputing accounts, contacting your creditors and other paperwork. A toll-free hotline is also available for members if you have questions about your credit report.
Extra Services – Beyond the basic identity theft services PrivacyGuard reimburses for the cost of obtaining certain records including your driving history and MIB files. An MIB file holds the medical information you provide to health insurance companies.
Medical insurance fraud is another form of theft you need to watch out for. PrivacyGuard suggests you stay aware of the medical history in your file in case someone attempts to use your insurance to get free health care.
PrivacyGuard Doesn’t Have Identity Theft Insurance
Noticeably absent from the PrivacyGuard product is an identity theft insurance policy considering the price tag. We’ll get to how much this costs next.
When companies offer identity theft insurance it usually covers missed wages, attorney fees and other costs you incur while taking back your identity after fraud. PrivacyGuard will help in the logistics of identity theft recovery, but you have to foot the bill out-of-pocket.
How Much PrivacyGuard Costs
PrivacyGuard is currently running a special. Using the product for 14 days will cost you $1. After the 14-day period ends, $19.99 will be withdrawn from your account each month.
Ultimately, you can get credit monitoring and credit scores free on a variety of platforms including Credit Karma and Discover. So, what you’re really paying for in this service beyond what you can get for free elsewhere is identity recovery support.
Other Identity Theft Alternatives
Here are two other identity theft products you may want to consider before settling with PrivacyGuard.
Identity Guard will monitor your credit daily. This service provides credit score and credit report updates from all three credit bureaus quarterly. In addition to credit monitoring, you get identity monitoring, public record monitoring, lost wallet protection, personal recovery assistance and $1 million of identity theft insurance. This will cost you $19.99 per month.
Is PrivacyGuard Worth the Cost?
PrivacyGuard helps you catch identity theft by regularly checking your credit report for account changes. Again, this is something you can do for free at Credit Karma, Credit.com or www.annualcreditreport.com. Some credit card companies now offer scores and reports with products, check there first before spending your money.
That said, there is one advantage of PrivacyGuard credit monitoring. You get access to credit reports from all three bureaus in one spot. Free sites usually give you access to reports from up to two credit bureaus. You can solve this problem by signing up for more than one free site. Credit Karma, for instance, uses TransUnion and Equifax.
Another thing you can’t get for free is identity recovery support. If you’re willing to pay for this service, PrivacyGuard is still on the expensive side. A product like Identity Guard will give you more for your money.
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