The world is online, there is no doubt about it. With that, the world economy has gone online as well and has made the largest global marketplace in human history. Just as in the open-air Roman markets thousands of years ago, in this digital market there are thieves waiting to pounce. However, this time the thieves aren’t just out for that satchel of coins around your waist, but your entire identity. This includes all they need to reach into every part of your financial life, from your bank account to your credit card.
The good news is that companies have spring up to help defend against these roving cyber-bandits and put things to rights when your identity is stolen. The two most popular companies that specialize in online identity protection are Lifelock and Identity Guard. Before choosing a company to trust your identity to it is important to know the difference between how the companies protect you and their guarantees.
Identity Guard has 3 levels of protection plans that you can choose from. As each plan gets a higher degree of protection, they begin to cost more. All of them come with IBM® Watson™ Artificial Intelligence. Here are the 3 levels of protection from least to most expensive:
- Value Plan – Under this plan, you receive high-risk transaction alerts and will be helped along through the process of recovering your identity should it be stolen.
- Total Plan – In this plan, you receive 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring, Monthly Credit Score*, and Bank Account Takeovers.
- Premier Plan – This plan has everything from Value & Total plans plus comes with an annual credit report based on data from Equifax®, Experian®, and Transunion®. This plan also offers the Social Insight Report and potential cyberbullying alerts for the family plan.
Choosing which plan is right for you depends on your finances, how much do you stand to lose and how much can you afford. Identity Guard is a proactive way to helping protect your identity.
Note: Soon Identity Guard will include Sex Offender Monitoring, too.
Lifelock works in a different fashion then Identity Guard. Lifelock does not ask for a deductible if your identity gets stolen and you do not choose between levels of protection. If your identity is stolen under Lifelock’s watch, you receive a service guarantee to get your identity back.
If you are to have your identity stolen, Lifelock will put out an alert to all credit monitoring bureaus. Usually, when people do this themselves the fraud alert can go inactive if it is not constantly renewed. Lifelock will renew your fraud alert do it stays active and you stay protected.
Lifelock also offers the same kind of wallet protection service that is offered by Identity Guard. They will help you cancel your credit cards and end-all preapproved applications sent under your name. Lifelock goes further than just your wallet, as this company will help you replace most of your vital stolen documents such as passports, traveler’s checks, and your social security card. They will also monitor what are known as “black market” websites where stolen identities are sold and traded illegally. This is one of the most effective ways of tracing where your identification information is traveling.
Finally, there is the matter of the service guarantee. The owner of Lifelock is so certain of his company’s ability to protect people’s identity that he allegedly posted his own social security number online. The service guarantee has no deductible and the company will be with you every step of the way as you try to regain your identity and clear your name. However, it is important to read the fine print as Lifelock says that it will only issue the guarantee if the lost identity is the result of some failing of Lifelock’s system. If the Lifelock lawyers decide it is not Lifelock’s fault, you may be out of luck.
Which is the Best?
There is no way to be certain as to which company is best at its task. You must weigh the options and the prices of each of these companies before deciding upon which one is right for you. However, armed with this information you will be better able to discern the differences between these two – Lifelock and Identity Guard – companies.
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* The score you receive with Identity Guard is provided for educational purposes to help you understand your credit. It is calculated using the information contained in your TransUnion credit file. Lenders use many different credit scoring systems, and the score you receive with Identity Guard is not the same score used by lenders to evaluate your credit.