Getting an early notice of fraud is a great way to minimize the damage done. A service like PrivacyGuard™ that reviews your credit file and checks for your personal information on various databases like the dark web can alert you of potential fraudulent actions.
PrivacyGuard is the runner-up on CNBC Select’s list of the best credit monitoring services and best identity theft services, falling slightly behind front-runner IdentityForce® due to the higher cost of plans.
That said, PrivacyGuard is still a competitive service with well-rounded coverage that can provide alerts from all three credit bureaus whenever there’s new information as well as scan the dark web for your personal details.
PrivacyGuard offers three plans: Identity Protection, Credit Protection and Total Protection. The plans are geared toward identity theft protection, credit monitoring or both.
Here’s a comparison of what each PrivacyGuard plan has to offer, so you can choose the plan that provides the best coverage for your needs.
$9.99 to $24.99 per month
Experian, Equifax and TransUnion
Yes, for Identity and Total Protection plans
Yes, up to $1 million for Identity and Total Protection plans
All PrivacyGuard plans offer some level of fraud protection, but the exact type differs. Like the names hint, the Identity Protection plan offers identity theft alerts, while the Credit Protection plan has credit monitoring. The Total Protection plan is a combination of the two.
The plans differ greatly when it comes to cost, credit monitoring and identity theft protection alerts.
Below we compare the three plans across four key factors: cost, the number of credit bureaus monitored, identity theft insurance and identity monitoring alerts.
All of the PrivacyGuard plans come with a monthly fee, however you can try the service for $1 for the first 14 days. Then the fee depends on the service you choose. Here are the costs:
Winner: The Identity Protection plan is the best low-cost option, but if you want a plan geared toward credit monitoring, consider Credit Protection. The most expensive plan, Total Protection, is a great comprehensive option.
A hallmark of the best credit monitoring services is triple-bureau protection, which reviews your credit report information at all three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. This is the highest level of credit monitoring and ensures that there are no red flags on any of your credit reports.
Here are the credit bureaus each plan monitors:
Winner: Credit Protection and Total Protection, since these plans offer 24/7 triple-bureau protection.
Only two of three plans provide identity theft insurance, which reimburses you for eligible expenses when your identity is compromised.
The Identity Protection and Total Protection plans offer the standard coverage of up to $1 million to help you recoup expenses that result from restoring your identity. The Credit Protection plan does not offer identity theft insurance.
Winner: Identity Protection and Total Protection, since these are the only plans that offer up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.
While credit monitoring can be done on your own or by signing up for a free service, it’s a lot harder to check if your personal information appears on the dark web or is misused. That’s where identity monitoring alerts come in handy.
The Identity Protection and Total Protection plans look for signs of your personal information, like your social security number, name, address and date of birth, on a variety of online databases including the public and dark web.
These two plans will notify you if your information is found on any of these places. The Credit Protection plan doesn’t offer identity monitoring alerts.
Winner: Identity Protection and Total Protection are the only plans to offer identity theft monitoring.
In order to get the most holistic coverage, you’ll want to choose a plan that offers both identity theft and credit monitoring alerts. Total Protection is the only PrivacyGuard plan to offer all of these features, making it the best choice for comprehensive coverage.
If you prefer a credit monitoring service only, opt for Credit Protection.
But credit monitoring is easier to do on your own or with a free service, so you may want to skip the Credit Protection and Total Protection plans and sign up for Identity Protection.
Regardless of the plan you choose, you’ll receive some form of fraud protection that can help you catch fraudsters before the problem becomes a big headache to resolve.