PROS / This service provides a suite of computer security programs, credit dispute assistance and reports other services lack.
CONS / This service does not have an option to add children to your plan.
VERDICT / With regular monitoring of your financial and personal information, PrivacyGuard is a good service if you have concerns about inaccuracies in your credit reports.
PrivacyGuard is similar to most of the other identity theft protection services on our lineup. This service monitors your personal and financial information, sends you and the credit reporting bureaus alerts in case of suspected fraud and provides expert coaching if your identity is stolen while you are a member of the service. It offers $1 million in identity theft insurance to recoup losses from any theft and its aftermath. In addition, PrivacyGuard provides you with useful reports that help you look for other areas of identity theft and pertain to your own safety.
Like many ID theft services, the backbone of PrivacyGuard is daily credit monitoring. This service checks the three main credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. It looks for information that might indicate an attempt to steal your identity, such as changes in address, new accounts opened, public records added to your credit file or derogatory information posted to your file. If it finds something, it contacts you with the information to determine if there has been an actual theft. If the alert is legitimate, PrivacyGuard helps you resolve the issue.
As a member, you can register up to 10 credit cards and document numbers with PrivacyGuard. If any of these are lost or stolen, the service will cancel the cards or advise you to get a replacement ID.
In the unlikely case of identity theft, this service does not handle all the paperwork beyond dealing with registered credit cards. Rather, the on-call experts simply provide you with the documentation you need to file disputes to resolve the issues but can advise you on every step of the way. The website says the identity theft insurance covers up to $1 million in damages, from refiling fees to lost wages. However, the customer service representative we spoke with indicated this may vary by state.
Not only does PrivacyGuard supply you with computer security software to protect your computer and digital information, but you can also request information to help secure other areas of your life. For example, the service reimburses you if you file for a copy of your driving record, which could impact your employment and insurance eligibility. If you are moving or house shopping, this service can supply you with a neighborhood report with statistics on home values, crime rates, local demographics and even climate. Finally, if you are concerned about protecting your medical insurance, it reimburses you for a Medical Insurance Bureau file. This file contains information sent to your insurance agency regarding your health, from chronic conditions to medical tests the insurance has paid for, to noted risky activities you participate in like skydiving. This can help you determine if someone is using your medical insurance fraudulently and help you resolve issues that might be affecting your rates.
You can contact customer service representatives by phone or email, and the website contains thorough information on the service. The site also has alerts to current identity theft issues and a blog about identity theft news, the service and even tips on practical ways to avoid identity theft.
PrivacyGuard does not do as much as some of the higher-tier services on our lineup. In addition to credit monitoring and advice on resolving identity theft issues, it offers insurance up to $1 million to help you recover in the unlikely event you are a victim of identity theft while enrolled in its program. However, it stands out from other services because it provides you with the tools to protect your identity on your own.