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Identity Guard Review: A Great Identity Theft Monitoring Service for Families

Its top tier is well worth the price tag if you have multiple people in your household.

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Identity Guard can work well for anyone looking for identity theft protection, but it’s an especially good value for families since its family plans cover five adults and unlimited children. It’s by far one of the best offerings we’ve seen on the market.

Like most identity theft protection services, all Identity Guard plans include dark web monitoring, data breach notifications and US-based customer service. They also offer up to $1 million in identity theft insurance protection, which can pay for legal expenses, lost wages, travel expenses and other costs associated with restoring your identity.

Identity Guard has multiple paid plans to choose from. Like competitors, it works basically as a notification service. So instead of having to monitor all aspects of your credit and identity yourself, Identity Guard takes on this grunt work for you and will notify you if something looks suspicious.

Who should use Identity Guard?

Identity Guard’s services may be a good fit for individuals and families who want to have their personal data and credit monitored for them at all times. Once you sign up for Identity Guard and provide your Social Security number, the company immediately starts protecting your identity by scanning the dark web for your personal identifiable information, or PII.

ID Guard theft protection in 5 steps
Screenshot by Holly Johnson/CNET

Identity Guard’s Value plan offers the least amount of protection at a price of $9 per month for individual plans. Value comes with basic identity theft monitoring services, alerts and $1 million total in identity theft insurance. The trade-off is you will have to monitor your credit and bank account activity on your own. So if you’re interested in a more complete identity theft protection service, we suggest opting for one of the company’s higher tiers, Total or Ultra. 

Both Identity Guard’s Total and Ultra plans monitor your credit reports and contact you if someone tries to open an account in your name. You’ll also get a monthly credit score and bank account monitoring.

With the Ultra plan, you’ll get added premium benefits such as the monitoring of your social media, credit and debit card, 401(k) and investment accounts and home title. But most importantly, Ultra is the only plan Identity Guard offers with white glove fraud resolution, meaning most of the work to recover your identity if it’s stolen will be done by an account specialist. 

Families who want the most protection possible should opt for the Ultra plan. It’s what I have because I get both the features I want within a great family plan. I wanted protection for investment accounts, as well as white glove fraud resolution to help me restore my identity if something goes awry. And this plan doesn’t cost much more than the Total plan. 

If you’re in the market for an individual plan, it’s worth mentioning that you can get similar or better features to what Identity Guard offers with Aura, which owns Identity Guard, or IdentityForce at a lower price. Aura’s family plan is also one of the industry’s best and includes up to five adults and unlimited children. Based on our checks, however, it doesn’t offer features like social media monitoring and USPS address change monitoring that some people may want. 

What products does Identity Guard offer?

Identity Guard offers three different tiers of coverage you can pay for: Value, Total and Ultra. Each varies in the level of identity and credit monitoring you’ll receive. You can also opt to pay for Identity Guard on a monthly or an annual basis, although annual plans let you lock in a lower monthly cost. Annual plans also come with a 60-day money back guarantee, so you can try the service without any major commitment. 

Which plan works best for you depends on how much you want to pay for ID theft protection and the benefits you want the most. Because the basic Value plan doesn’t offer monitoring of your credit reports, we suggest buying the Total plan at a bare minimum if that’s a feature you can’t live without. Individuals and families should opt for the Ultra plan for the best protection possible. 

Value

Identity Guard’s Value plan offers bare-bones identity theft monitoring for individuals and families. The Value plan offers $1 million in identity theft insurance along with dark web monitoring, data breach notifications and monitoring high-risk transactions such as medical billing and student loan withdrawals.

But it doesn’t keep tabs on your credit reports. Unfortunately, this means you won’t be notified if someone tries to open an account in your name. You can still monitor your credit on your own or sign up for a credit monitoring service. 

The Value plan from Identity Guard also offers a password manager and safe browsing tools that can keep your information safe from hackers and thieves.

Identity Guard Value plan pricing

Individual$7.50 per month (billed annually)*$8.99 billed monthly
Family Plan (five adults + unlimited kids)$12.50 per month (billed annually)*$14.99 billed monthly
*Promotional pricing

Total

Identity Guard’s Total plan offers the benefits of the basic Value plan as well as added perks to help you protect your identity. Features in this plan include bank account monitoring, the monitoring of all three of your credit reports (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) and a free monthly credit score.

As with all Identity Guard family plans, Total members can enlist up to five adults and unlimited children for identity theft protection. Children will get access to monitoring for online accounts and their Social Security number. They can be added by the primary account holder or by other adults added to a plan.

This plan doesn’t include white glove fraud resolution services, however, so if your identity is stolen, you’ll have to take on more of the grunt work to restore your identity.

Identity Guard Total plan pricing:

Individual$16.67 per month (billed annually)*$19.99 billed monthly
Family Plan (five adults + unlimited kids)$25 per month (billed annually)*$29.99 billed monthly
*Promotional pricing

Ultra

The Ultra plan is far superior to the others. It offers all the benefits of Value and Total, plus additional monitoring services to keep your identity safe.

With the Ultra plan, families get white glove fraud resolution services, plus monitoring for social media, credit and debit cards, 401(k) and investment accounts and home titles. Identity Guard also notifies members if a sex offender moves nearby, and even your mailing address at the USPS to ensure no one tries to change it.

Like Total, Ultra comes equipped with three-bureau credit monitoring and a free credit score, but adds the ability to lock your Experian credit report and provides an annual credit report from all three credit bureaus

Identity Guard Ultra plan pricing:

Individual$25 a month (billed annually)*$29.99 billed monthly
Family Plan (five adults + unlimited kids)$33.33 a month (billed annually)*$39.99 billed monthly
*Promotional pricing

Identity Guard products, compared

ValueTotalUltra
Individual$8.99 monthly$19.99 monthly$29.99 monthly
Family Plan (5 adults, unlimited kids)$14.99 monthly$29.99 monthly$39.99 monthly
Top featuresData breach notifications, dark web monitoring, high risk transaction monitoring, safe browsing and a password managerEverything in Value plan plus bank account monitoring, three-bureau credit monitoring and a monthly credit scoreEverything in the Total plan plus white glove fraud resolution, and monitoring for social media, credit and debit cards, 401(k) and investment accounts, USPS address change monitoring, and Experian credit report lock
Identity Theft InsuranceUp to $1 million in identity theft insuranceUp to $1 million in identity theft insuranceUp to $1 million in identity theft insurance

How does Identity Guard work?

Creating an account and adding your personal information on Identity Guard is easy and takes under 30 minutes. Once you select an Identity Guard plan, you’ll enter your full name, address and Social Security number, your monitoring commences. You can also add the following to your account’s dark web monitoring services watchlist:

  • 40 credit and debit cards
  • 1 date of birth
  • 1 driver’s license number
  • 10 email addresses
  • 5 financial account numbers
  • 3 health insurance IDs
  • 1 address
  • 2 passport numbers
  • 5 phone numbers
  • 10 store loyalty cards

Dark web monitoring notifies you if any of your sensitive information above is found on the dark web. If you have additional monitoring services, like credit or account monitoring, Identity Guard will track these accounts for changes or suspicious activity.

Identity Guard will notify you of account changes or suspicious information via email, text or both. If you want to keep track of your information on a regular basis, Identity Guard offers a user-friendly dashboard on its site. There’s also a mobile app on Android and iOS.

ID Guard homepage
Screenshot by Holly Johnson/CNET

The Identity Guard dashboard is intuitive and useful -- it helps you see where you need to fill out information and add more accounts for monitoring. You can head to the “credit” tab under “features” on the upper left-hand portion of your screen to see your current credit score and get an overview of factors that may be contributing to it. You can also find a credit score tracker here that shows your credit score over the past year.

ID Guard credit score tracker
Screenshot by Holly Johnson/CNET

You can freeze your Experian credit report through Identity Guard if you have the Ultra plan. If you want to freeze your other two credit reports, you can do this for free by visiting the Equifax and TransUnion websites.

ID Guard credit freeze
Screenshot by Holly Johnson/CNET

Under the “identity” tab on the top left hand corner of your Identity Guard account, you can see whether your information was spotted on the dark web. This is also where you can create a watchlist of accounts you want monitored on the dark web.

Identity Guard also lets customers request an Identity Protection PIN from the IRS to ensure no third parties can file a tax return in their name. This feature is available with all plans. 

My family and I use the Ultra plan from Identity Guard since we wanted to have all the included benefits and features. For example, I wanted to make sure we monitored our investment accounts, USPS address, home title, and credit and debit cards. I also wanted to have three bureau credit monitoring so I’d be notified if someone tried to open an account in our names, though you can also get this feature with Identity Guard’s Total plan.

Other notable features

IdentityGuard offers a password manager on all of its plans. I don’t use this feature because I already have a separate password manager service, but it’s helpful if you want to save all your passwords to keep them safe and secure.

Screenshot by Holly Johnson/CNET

Since password managers tend to cost a few dollars a month on their own, this can help you get more value out of your Identity Guard subscription.

Identity Guard lets you update the kind of alerts you want and where you want to receive them. For example, you can opt for text alerts in addition to email alerts, which are always turned on. Identity Guard also has a desktop app and desktop browser extension that helps you protect not only your identity, but also unlimited devices.

I don’t use Identity Guard’s mobile app, but it could be helpful if you’re constantly on the go. I prefer to access Identity Guard on my desktop.

How Identity Guard’s identity restoration services work 

If you opt for the Ultra plan from Identity Guard, you’ll automatically get white glove identity theft restoration services. This means you’ll have dedicated account specialists working on your account who assist with the next steps when it comes to restoring your identity. 

These specialists will help you recover your identity, hacked accounts and leaked data. All you have to do is call the company’s 1-800 number to speak with a representative who can help you figure out your next steps. 

They may also suggest additional steps you can take, including freezing your credit reports with all three credit bureaus. And remember, all plans from Identity Guard come with up to $1 million in identity theft insurance per policy period that can pay for legal expenses, lost wages, travel expenses and more when your identity is stolen.

Is Identity Guard Ultra worth the price?

Identity Guard Ultra is worth the price if you can take advantage of its family plan and want white glove restoration. Otherwise, a lower tier or another service might fit you better. 

The Ultra plan offers the best value overall since you get everything Identity Guard has to offer. You can pay less for Ultra coverage if you pay for a full year of protection upfront. This can help you save $6.66 a month (almost $80 a year) right off the bat on individual plans or $4.99 a month (about $60 a year) on family plans.

Is Identity Guard right for me?

Identity Guard is a popular identity theft protection company for a reason. It offers three tiers of coverage and all of its plans come with $1 million in identity theft insurance and the basics of identity theft protection.

That said, it offers a better value for families than individuals. Its family pricing is on par with most competitors, but more affordable than Aura and LifeLock by Norton. If you want a more budget-friendly option, Zander, which offers family plans for less than $13 a month, might be worth considering.

Holly Johnson is a credit card expert and writer who covers rewards and loyalty programs, budgeting, and all things personal finance. In addition to writing for publications like Bankrate, CreditCards.com, Forbes Advisor and Investopedia, Johnson owns Club Thrifty and is the co-author of "Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You'll Love."
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