Imagine applying for a credit loan and finding out that you have a really bad credit score, even though you have been paying all of your bills on time for years. Then you check your credit report and realize that your identity has been stolen. You’re now hundreds of dollars in debt and you didn’t see a dime of that money. You’re a victim of identity theft. This scenario happens to approximately 15 million victims every year.
Identity theft is a widespread crime, but you can reduce your likelihood to become a victim by signing up for a theft protection service. There are several services that you can sign up for, including Identity Guard and LifeLock. But which one do you choose? Here I review both Identity Guard and LifeLock to hopefully help you make a choice that is the best for you and your family.
Credit and Personal Data Monitoring
It’s important to make sure that your theft protection service consistently monitor your credit reports by checking with the three major credit bureaus. Identity Guard will check on your credit score daily. LifeLock also will monitor your credit report and notify you if there is any suspicious activity. Something that LifeLock does that Identity Guard doesn’t is to place fraud alerts on your account if suspicious activity is found.
A good theft protection service should also scan the internet to check whether your personal data is being circulated on the internet. There are criminal websites that buy and sell people’s personal data, including social security numbers, credit card numbers, and bank account numbers. Both Identity Guard and LifeLock are aware of the black market websites and they make sure to monitor them regularly to check if their members’ personal data are on there. If you sign up with either one of them, you’ll be protected by this kind of criminal activity.
Both Identity Guard and LifeLock also monitor the public databases that have your information, such as your address, for any changes and report them to you. That way, changes that weren’t made by you can be addressed quickly.
Wallet Remediation Services
If you’ve ever lost your wallet or had it stolen, you know how nervewracking it can be to think that someone might have all of your credit cards and your driver’s license and steal your identity in the process. Then you have to call all of your credit card companies and ask them to cancel your cards. What a hassle. Identity Guard and LifeLock both provide a service that helps you take care of that. They’ll contact all of your credit card companies and help you replace your cards. Identity Guard takes one step further and provides you access to at least 2,000 in emergency cash.
Secures Your Information Online
Something that Identity Guard has that LifeLock doesn’t is their Mobile Lockbox. If you have any personal information, such as medical records and passwords, you can store them securely in the Mobile Lockbox instead of just saving them on your desktop computer, which makes your information vulnerable to identity thieves who can hack into your computer. You can access this information with any computer or a mobile device. However, you can take steps to ensure the safety of your personal information by not saving them on your computer at all but instead saving them in another location in your home or a safe deposit at a bank.
Identity Guard also will protect you from keyloggers with their PrivacyProtect feature, so you can purchase things online without worrying about identity thieves who can track what you type on your keyboard.
$1 Million In Case of Identity Theft
Not only will signing up with a theft protection service protect you from identity thieves, but you’ll also get monetary support from both Identity Guard and LifeLock if you still end up becoming a victim of identity threat. LifeLock provides you with a $1 million guarantee, which will go to the costs that you might incur in the process of clearing your credit, including lawyers, court costs, and the like. Identity Guard comes with a $1 million insurance, which will reimburse you the difference between the amount of money you lost and the money that you got back from your credit cards and your bank account. They do not pay toward lawyers or court cases. And you will need to report your loss to Identity Guard within 90 days and allow the company to help you get back what you lost.
Removal From Mailing Lists
A source of identity theft is from pre-approved credit offers that you get in the mail and probably toss away without shredding. LifeLock knows this and protects you by removing your name from the mailing lists for these offers. Identity Guard, on the other hand, doesn’t provide you with this service. Of course, this is something that you could do yourself, so it really depends on what you want out of your theft protection service.
Protection For Your Children
Children are especially vulnerable to identity theft, since they don’t commonly check on their credit reports. Identity thieves know this and they sometime get away with years and years of false loans and charges before a parent finds out that their child’s identity has been stolen. For this reason, more and more theft protection services are providing with a special coverage for children. However, Identity Guard doesn’t have anything like that. You would be on your own in protecting your children’s identity. With LifeLock, you can add your children to your plan and set up their identity threat detection and alerts for your children. They’ll alert you when your children’s personal information is used to apply for loans or credit.
Both Identity Guard and LifeLock have monthly costs. Identity Guard will cost you 19.99 a month to access all the services mentioned in this article (while their basic plan is $8.99 a month), while LifeLock’s basic plan is only $10 a month.
Which Is Better: LifeLock or Identity Guard?
In my honest opinion, I think that you would be protected with either LifeLock or Identity Guard. Both provide great service and will go far in ensuring that your personal information will not be stolen for criminal activity. However, if I had to choose one, I would go with LifeLock. For one, their plan is more affordable and I like that they will take the extra step to remove my address from mailing lists, include my children into my protection plan, and provide me with an online account that I can log on at any time to check on my alerts.
Whether you choose LifeLock or Identity Guard, it would be a wise decision to take steps to protect your and your family’s identity from criminals. I personally recommend LifeLock. Read our Lifelock review here.