Citi Credit Monitoring Services Review

Update:  The Citi Credit Monitoring Service Program was terminated 3-31-2015.  

We recommend you look at our LifeLock monitoring review as an alternative to the Citi monitoring plan.

Iden­ti­ty­Mon­i­tor is a ser­vice pro­vided by Citibank. Citibank has been in busi­ness for the past 200 years thanks to its abil­ity to do busi­ness through what they call Respon­si­ble Finance. What this means to Citibank is that they have invested hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars into small busi­nesses, infra­struc­ture, and other choice oppor­tu­ni­ties to help the aver­age con­sumer be able to work for them­selves, pro­tect them­selves, and achieve any­thing they wish to achieve. Iden­ti­ty­Mon­i­tor comes under the realm of pro­tec­tion for CitiBank cus­tomers, but is avail­able for any­one who is wish­ing to have credit and iden­tity theft protections.

Daily Mon­i­tor­ing for Daily Results

The key to being able to catch an iden­tity thief in the act is to mon­i­tor your infor­ma­tion on a daily basis. Iden­ti­ty­Mon­i­tor does this through credit monitoring reports every day to deter­mine if any changes have been made to crit­i­cal com­po­nents, such as your address, your delin­quent accounts, or new lines of credit, whether secured or unsecured.

Iden­ti­ty­Mon­i­tor also helps you have a hand in keep­ing your iden­tity safe by pro­vid­ing you a com­plete credit report and credit score analy­sis upon sign­ing up for their iden­tity theft pro­tec­tion ser­vices. You then get access to this infor­ma­tion for free on a monthly basis. This allows you to man­u­ally review your credit infor­ma­tion to insure that all the infor­ma­tion shown is autho­rized by you.

Iden­ti­ty­Mon­i­tor Gives You Effec­tive Alerts

If Iden­ti­ty­Mon­i­tor detects infor­ma­tion that may cause an iden­tity theft to poten­tially occur or believes that a theft has already occurred, then you will be noti­fied via the Notify Express sys­tem that Citibank has set up. This alert sys­tem lets you know when there is any change to your infor­ma­tion that may be an indi­ca­tor of fraud. You can also be noti­fied in the way that works the best for you: through stan­dard U.S. mail, e-mail, text mes­sages, or by a phone call.

Get the Sup­port That You Need

With an Iden­ti­ty­Mon­i­tor sub­scrip­tion, you get around the clock access to your credit infor­ma­tion with a sim­ple log-in. Some folks have ques­tions about what it takes to ade­quately keep their iden­ti­ties and credit safe, If you believe that you have been the vic­tim of iden­tity theft, you also have imme­di­ate access to Citi’s Iden­tity Theft Solu­tions department.

Should you become the vic­tim of iden­tity theft, you have access to a $10,000 – $25,000 insur­ance pol­icy in most states to help you be able to work to recover your iden­tity. This can help you to be able to defend your­self effec­tively, cover the costs of restor­ing your iden­tity, and even cover lost wages that may occur while you are work­ing to restore your iden­tity. It may not be as much as the insur­ance poli­cies of other com­pa­nies, but unlike other iden­tity theft poli­cies, there is no limit to the amount of claims that you can have. Each claim you make gives you access to another policy!

Sign­ing Up for Iden­ti­ty­Mon­i­tor is Easy!

You can sign up today for Iden­ti­ty­Mon­i­tor with­out being a mem­ber of Citibank! All you have to do is fill out your per­sonal infor­ma­tion and once you’ve agreed to the terms and con­di­tions, you’ll have instant access to your Exper­ian credit infor­ma­tion. A sim­ple and free upgrade is all that is required to get all three of the major credit bureau’s infor­ma­tion about you around the clock.

Pric­ing & Value

Iden­ti­ty­Mon­i­tor offers only one plan of ser­vice that cov­ers daily mon­i­tor­ing of your credit infor­ma­tion and assis­tance in restor­ing your iden­tity. You can try Iden­ti­ty­Mon­i­tor for the first 30 days for just $1, and then after­wards is $12.95/month. It should be noted that Citibank, in their terms and con­di­tions, state that they can mod­ify or can­cel the Iden­ti­ty­Mon­i­tor pro­gram, includ­ing a change in the price of the pro­gram, with­out noti­fy­ing you about these changes.

Pro­tect Your Iden­tity & Your Credit Today

Thanks to the Fed­eral bailout, Citibank is more sta­ble than ever when it comes to being able to pro­vide an essen­tial ser­vice to its cus­tomers. Becom­ing a cus­tomer of Citibank to make sure your credit and iden­tity are effec­tively cov­ered puts a bank on your side when it comes to fight­ing for you. Try out Iden­ti­ty­Mon­i­tor today for just a buck and dis­cover how good it feels know­ing that your iden­tity and your credit are in safe hands.

TransUnion Credit Monitoring Review

We ranked the TransUnion credit monitoring service fourth on our list because it’s provided by one of the 3 major credit reporting bureaus and a trusted company when it comes to credit reports & credit related services.  When you sign up for TransUnion’s $1.00 / 7 day trial you get immediate access to your TransUnion credit report plus 3 bureau credit monitoring.  These are great benefits to be sure, but their services are very TranUnion specific, as you can imagine.  If you’re looking for your Equifax & Experian credit report information, you won’t find it with this service.  You will be better served going with a comprehensive monitoring package that includes 3 bureau credit monitoring AND allows you access to credit reports from all 3 bureaus.  IdentityGuard & Lifelock would be better choices if this is an option you require.

Pricing

The TransUnion monthly subscription costs $19.95, which is about the average price for most monitoring plans.  However, once again, for that price we think there are better options that will include more detailed monitoring, alerting and credit tools.

Plan Services

With the TransUnion subscription you also receive:

  • Lost wallet protection
  • Credit file change alerting
  • Personalized credit analysis tools
  • 1 million dollars id theft insurance

You also have the ability to place free credit freezes on your TransUnion credit reports.  This is normally a $10 charge for each lock/unlock you place.  However it’s included in the TU credit monitoring monthly subscription.

trans union credit monitoring dashboard
TransUnion Monitoring Dashboard

Customer Service 

TransUnion customer support is available via phone M-Th 8am-12am ET and Fri-Sun 8am-8pm ET.  It’s extremely easy to get a live representative on the phone, and we found them to be extremely courteous and knowledgeable when we placed a test call.

Our Conclusion

While we like the security that comes with using a monitoring plan from a trusted company such as TransUnion, we believe the TU service is fairly limited and doesn’t offer as much as the services we ranked above it.  With no access to Experian or Equifax credit reports as well as no FICO score availability, we would recommend this service only to those are are concerned solely with their TransUnion specific reports & information.

TransUnion Credit Reporting Faq’s

TransUnion is one of the three credit reporting bureaus along with Equifax and Experian.  The three credit reporting agencies keep track of your credit history and provide reports to prospective lenders and mortgage brokers.  TransUnion not only reports on your credit, but they have processes in place to help make corrections to your report. On their site, TransUnion asks: “Have you applied for a credit card and been denied because of bad credit?” Credit card companies may be closing the door to you because of inaccurate information! TransUnion helps to fix your credit record, but only if you know what  your TUnion credit report says and specifically what needs to be fixed.

TransUnion allows you to run a credit check on yourself quickly and easily.  You could even pull your credit report online while on a lunch break or in your pajamas at home. The sooner you see the Experian, Equifax or TransUnion credit reports that lenders and credit card companies see, the sooner you can make the changes needed to improve your credit rating and change in your life.

With a menu of reporting format options ranging from a free credit report to a low-cost $29.95 three in one credit report profile including a free credit score, there is almost no reason that you can’t quickly and conveniently obtain your credit report information and immediately report any payment, debt, name, or address mistakes to TransUnion.

Do you need to purchase a personal TransUnion credit report?

Right now you can run a personal credit check for only $9. Do you want to compare your Experian, Equifax and TransUnion credit reports side-by-side to be sure none of them are reporting damaging or flat out wrong information about your credit history? If so, the three in one credit report is the way to go.

Yes, credit reporting agencies sometimes make mistakes. TransUnion may not even know it and their mistakes could cost you. It is up to you to make sure that your debt payment history information is reflected accurately on TransUnion’s report. Does your credit report tell lenders that you made two late payments — but you didn’t? Does the report say that you still have an outstanding auto loan debt — but your car is paid off? Correcting wrong info can possibly increase your credit score. Increasing your credit score could mean the difference between a lender saying YES instead of NO.  Transunion also offers id protection services that will keep track of your credit reports for fraud and identity theft.

Here is what a TransUnion credit report will show you:

  • Names you have used
  • Current and prior addresses
  • Names of your creditors
  • The amount of secured and unsecured debt taken out in your name
  • Whether that debt is in the form of a revolving or installment account
  • The current balances versus the limits on those accounts
  • How prompt or late payments have been
  • Your employment history and employer addresses
  • Public records of judgments or liens against you

How do you get your TransUnion credit report right now? Just visit their site at www.transunion.com.

ProtectMyID Review

How Does ProtectMyID Stack Up Against Other Credit Monitoring Services?

If you are look­ing for an advan­tage when it comes to have your iden­tity pro­tected, then you might con­sider join­ing up with Pro­tect­MyID. Why? They are a part of the fam­ily of ser­vices that are pro­vided by Exper­ian Online, mean­ing that they have a direct link to your credit pro­file and infor­ma­tion. Com­bine iden­tity pro­tec­tion with the spe­cific ana­lyt­i­cal tools that have caused Exper­ian to grow into a bil­lion dol­lar com­pany serv­ing cus­tomers in 80 coun­tries, and you’ve got your­self a pow­er­ful iden­tity pro­tec­tion part­ner on your side.

How Does Pro­tect­MyID Mon­i­tor Your Identity?

Sur­veil­lance Alert is an e-mail and SMS alert appli­ca­tion that mon­i­tors your credit report for over 50 dif­fer­ent types of indi­ca­tors for pos­si­ble iden­tity theft. Some com­mon exam­ples that you would be able to see would be if an account was sent to a col­lec­tion agency, whether a new loan was opened up under your name, or if some­one was try­ing to open up lines of unse­cured credit – like with a credit card.

This credit sur­veil­lance is par­tic­u­larly good in elim­i­nat­ing a new type of iden­tity theft that is intended to help pay some­one else’s med­ical bills. By sub­mit­ting your iden­tity to a hos­pi­tal or a clinic, the hos­pi­tal will begin billing you and poten­tially your insur­ance for ser­vices. Pro­tect­MyID mon­i­tors daily for changes in your credit reports and can help stop med­ical fraud as soon as it is discovered.

 

SSN Mon­i­tor­ing

Pro­tect­MyID also mon­i­tors for the intro­duc­tion of your Social Secu­rity num­ber into sources where iden­tity thieves might be able to access it. Think of it as check­ing the “iden­tity theft black mar­ket” for your per­son­ally iden­ti­fy­ing num­ber. This helps to keep your core iden­ti­fi­ca­tion mate­ri­als safer from com­pro­mise than just by mon­i­tor­ing the inter­net for events that have occurred after your num­ber has been stolen.

Change of Address Monitoring

One of the com­mon ways that thieves start plant­ing the seed for an iden­tity theft inci­dent is when a thief sub­mits a change of address card at the post office, which then directs your mail to the thief. Pro­tect­MyID mon­i­tors change of address noti­fi­ca­tions at the national level and noti­fies you if some­thing unusual hap­pens with your address.

Chil­dren and Family

Pro­tect­MyID also offers pro­grams that help to pro­tect the iden­ti­ties of your chil­dren and advice on how to pro­tect loved ones that may have passed away.

How Does the Pro­tect­MyID Alert Sys­tem Work?

Pro­tect­MyID pri­mar­ily uti­lizes e-mail and SMS texts to alert their cus­tomers that there is a pos­si­ble iden­tity theft that has been iden­ti­fied. These alerts occur the moment there is new data added to your iden­tity, which then allows you to be able to deter­mine if that new data is autho­rized or not. If you do not have any new data added within a month’s period, then you receive an all clear e-mail from ProtectMyID.

Pro­tect­MyID also offers a mobile app for smart­phone users that shows a list of all alerts that have been received. It also lets you take an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion theft risk assess­ment so that your cur­rent lifestyle and habits can be eval­u­ated and pos­si­bly improved. You also receive one touch assis­tance to get in touch with a Theft Res­o­lu­tion Agent should you encounter an alert that you feel needs to be investigated.

Recov­ery Assis­tance from ProtectMyID

Since Pro­tect­MyID is part of Exper­ian, their res­o­lu­tion ser­vices con­nect the cus­tomer with the best spe­cial­ists in the field for repair­ing the dam­age done by iden­tity theft. Being part of this exclu­sive credit agency group means that res­o­lu­tion spe­cial­ists know where to go and what to do in order to pro­tect you from any fur­ther damage.

Pro­tect­MyID offers users a $1,000,000 insur­ance pol­icy against an iden­tity theft inci­dent and a $2,000,000 pol­icy for every child’s iden­tity theft event that occurs while cov­ered with a valid pro­gram. This helps to pay up to a month’s worth of lost wages, for fill­ing out the paper­work required to restore your iden­tity, legal costs, com­pen­sa­tion for unau­tho­rized money trans­fers, and any costs for a pri­vate investigator.

Pro­tect­MyID is Easy to Use!

Set­ting up your iden­tity pro­tec­tion through Pro­tect­MyID is sim­ple. All you need to do is fill out your per­sonal infor­ma­tion into their secure data­base, and then Pro­tect­MyID does the rest. You get access to the impor­tant num­bers that you need to con­tact a Theft Res­o­lu­tion Agent, a free mobile app, and alerts sent directly to your e-mail or by SMS text if you choose that method to know when some­thing nefar­i­ous is going on. Mem­ber­ship also gives you access to the Exper­ian set of finan­cial tools that can help you grow your net worth.

Addi­tional Tools and Features

Lost Wal­let Protection

This is prob­a­bly one of the scari­est of inci­dents when you lose your wal­let with all your credit cards, med­ical IDs, social secu­rity num­ber, driver’s license, and any num­ber of other impor­tant doc­u­ments. All of these cards could be used mali­ciously by the iden­tity thief. If you have ever lost a wal­let, you know you will be mak­ing a lot of phone calls to can­cel credit cards, get new insur­ance cards, and order replace­ment debit cards.

Child Secure

Dur­ing the lull between when your child is born and when they reach their early adult years, an iden­tity thief can get the child’s social secu­rity num­ber and do many dam­ag­ing things with it. The worst part is that it often goes unde­tected for years since no thinks to check their child’s credit report.

Pric­ing & Value

You can sign up today for Pro­tect­MyID for just $15.95/month. You can click here to sign up for a $1.00 / 7 Day trial and only pay $19.95/month after.  Chil­dren can be added through Child­Se­cure for an addi­tional $6.95/month per child.

You can enroll today with Pro­tect­MyID to start securing your identity

Pro­tect Your Credit Today

Though Pro­tect­MyID may not give you access to free credit scores, they do give you ben­e­fits in other ways with pro­tec­tions of your iden­ti­fi­ca­tion mate­ri­als that other orga­ni­za­tions do not. With the Exper­ian rela­tion­ship, you also have a direct link to your credit report so that you have an imme­di­ate knowl­edge of any poten­tial iden­ti­fi­ca­tion theft events. This allows you to be able to be more proac­tive in pro­tect­ing your­self. If you’re look­ing for a fast and afford­able way to pro­tect all of your assets, Pro­tect­MyID is the com­pany for you. Enroll today and expe­ri­ence iden­tity pro­tec­tion the Exper­ian way!

5 Simple Ways You Can Protect Your Credit

Protecting your credit from the harmful effects of identity theft, fraud, and errors is an essential consideration in the modern world, and there are several ways that you can make sure your personally identifying information is safe at all times. By being proactive with respect to your current credit report, you can address issues before they occur and ensure that your financial future has as good of an outlook as possible. Here are five ways you can keep your credit secure.

1. Shredding documents

Shredders are a cost-effective way to reduce the chances that identity thieves will find valuable information in your trash. A host of different thieves routinely comb through trash receptacles searching for your information that will be used to apply for loans with your name or get a credit card without your permission. Document shredders are designed to quickly turn old credit cards, bank information and junk mail into a pile of paperwork that is totally illegible. Making sure that your children are also safe is an imperative, and you can easily shred any papers that contain information about any of the members in your family.

2. Receiving free credit reports

Everyone is entitled to a review of their annual credit report from the three major credit reporting bureaus. Even if you’re used to checking your report on a regular basis, you can probably ensure security by receiving your report from each bureau every four months. By providing you with the details that let you dispute errors or prevent identity theft, you can take a positive step and work to make sure that your credit score is always as high as possible. Credit reports contain detailed information about any outstanding loans that have been issued in your name, and by regularly reviewing your credit score, you can be sure that nobody else is using your information to purchase goods or services.

3. Monitoring your credit score

With a host of different ways to make sure that you’re always aware of any changes in your credit history, you can also prevent most expensive damage from occurring. Several firms offer easy ways to keep up to date with your credit history by monitoring all related activity and make sure that you can easily note any errors and dispute transactions that were incurred without your knowledge.

4. Using fraud alerts

Credit fraud alerts are another way to make sure that nobody has access to your personal or commercial line of credit. The alerts are easily added to your credit report, and they are used to notify potential creditors and lenders about issues before they arise. Fraud alerts help to make sure lenders must verify your identification before they provide anyone with an open line of credit or a loan in your name.

5. Keeping your information safe

By working with trusted sites and vendors who have earned a stellar reputation, you can be sure that while you’re shopping on the Internet, your information is safe from prying eyes. Sites that are secure should have an “http,” at the top of the page. This means that the Web page is certified by a trusted company. In addition, you can look for icons that may be visible at the bottom of a page. Checking for information that is contained in reviews from other consumers allows you to gain a deeper understanding about the possibilities that a particular site is going to use your information to benefit from your outstanding credit history.

Keeping your credit secure is easier when you know the options that are at your disposal. By implementing the above five tips into your daily lifestyle, you can create a positive financial future.

LifeLock Credit Monitoring Review

Life­Lock has been around since 2005 and has been rated as Consumer Reports best credit monitoring providers. Life­lock takes iden­tity theft pro­tec­tion seri­ously and brings in advi­sors from a wide vari­ety of sources that to help them continuously refine and improve their pro­tec­tion ser­vices. With com­pa­nies like VeriSign and Amer­i­can Express, U.S. gov­ern­ment agen­cies like the Secret Ser­vice, and secu­rity experts like Kevin Mit­nik, Life­lock is work­ing tire­lessly so that you can have peace of mind. Let’s take a closer look at what they offer.

What Does Life­Lock Offer?

Life­Lock breaks down what they offer individuals into three cat­e­gories: a Standard Plan, an Advantage plan, and an Ultimate Plus plan.

The Life­lock online dash­board gives you a clear overview of your alerts and credit file details.

Life­lock Standard Plan -Enrolling in the Standard Plan gives you access to an online dash­board that lets you see what is going on with one click con­ve­nience. Your iden­tity is mon­i­tored for poten­tial threats in credit and non-credit are­nas and for pub­lic expo­sure that may not have been autho­rized by you. You also get com­pre­hen­sive recov­ery ser­vices if your iden­tity is stolen while cov­ered by Life­Lock, as well as reme­di­a­tion ser­vices if wal­let or purse is stolen. The basic plan nor­mally costs $9.99/month but if you sign up here, you can get ser­vice for only $8.99/mo or $98.90/year+ 30 Days Free.

Life­lock Advantage Plan –  The Advantage Plan expands on the Standard Plan by offer­ing more spe­cific ser­vices, such as:

  • Pay­day Loan monitoring
  • Pub­lic Record monitoring
  • Crim­i­nal web­site mon­i­tor­ing for use of your ID (known crim­i­nal websites)
  • Around the clock access to your credit reports and your Tran­sUnion credit score
  • An enhanced online dashboard
  • Mon­i­tor­ing of your bank accounts for infor­ma­tion changes
  • Daily mon­i­tor­ing of all of your credit information

The Advantage plan normally costs $19.99/month, but you can sign up here and pay $17.99/month or $197.90 annually + 30 Days Free

Lifelock Ultimate Plus Plan – Life­lock Ulti­mate Plus  is a con­sid­er­able upgrade from the basic ser­vice. The most impor­tant ben­e­fit of Ulti­mate over the Standard Plan is the daily mon­i­tor­ing of your credit infor­ma­tion. This will cause an imme­di­ate alert to be trig­gered if any sus­pi­cious hap­pens in your credit file.

The Life­lock Ulti­mate Plan is nor­mally $29.99/mo but with our Life­lock promo code “9” you can get it for only $26.99/mo with the first 30 days for FREE. If you want to save even more you can pre­pay the entire year for only $296.90 (a sav­ings of $36.00 over the monthly option).

Life­lock Credit Score Man­age­ment Service – The Credit Score Man­age­ment Plan is an add-on ser­vice for those who choose the basic plan and want more defenses for their iden­tity, but not at the level of the Ulti­mate Plan. You get daily credit mon­i­tor­ing, a monthly update of your Tran­sUnion credit score, alerts to changes in your credit score, and annual credit reports from the three major credit bureaus.

LifeLock also offers a supplemental plan called LifeLock Junior, available with any adult membership, to protect your child’s social security number.

How Does Life­Lock Alert You?

Life­Lock will send you an e-mail, phone call, or text to let you know that there is the poten­tial of hav­ing your iden­tity stolen. There is also a risk fac­tor chart that is on your online dash­board that shows you what your cur­rent risks of iden­tity theft are. If given a high level of iden­tity theft risk, you are noti­fied online as well as through your cho­sen con­tact method so that you can get into con­tact with a Life­Lock agent to assist you.

In addi­tion, if you lose your wal­let or purse in either Life­Lock mem­ber plan, you can con­tact Life­Lock, who will, in turn, con­tact your finan­cial insti­tu­tions and com­plete any nec­es­sary paper­work on your behalf.

The Life­Lock Ser­vice Guarantee

Life­Lock believes in 5 points of total iden­tity pro­tec­tion, with one of the most impor­tant being the recov­ery ser­vice guar­an­tee that is offered. Not only does Life­Lock give you access to a ded­i­cated reme­di­a­tion spe­cial­ist should your iden­tity be com­pro­mised, but you’ll have access to LifeLock’s $1 mil­lion guarantee.

$1 Mil­lion Guarantee

LifeLock’s has an attrac­tive guar­an­tee in that it will spend up to $1,000,000 to restore a client’s good name in the event this per­son becomes a vic­tim of iden­tity theft while under the company’s watch. Of course there are lim­i­ta­tions on this mil­lion dol­lar ser­vice guar­an­tee how­ever it is an aggres­sive com­mit­ment to the client and can prove to be quite a life­saver con­sid­er­ing the expense involved in hir­ing pro­fes­sion­als such as attor­neys and inves­ti­ga­tors to undo the dam­age of this crime.

Unlike other agen­cies who offer a sim­i­lar guar­an­tee, every­thing with Life­Lock is “in house” and just one phone call away. You don’t have to attempt to find pro­fes­sion­als reme­di­a­tion spe­cial­ists on your own time.

How Easy is Life­Lock to Use?

Enrolling in a Life­Lock plan is quick, easy, and will only take you 3 min­utes to com­plete the setup. With the online dash­board, you can quickly take in where you cur­rently stand with your iden­tity, as well as access the infor­ma­tion that you wish to access with just a click. With around the clock agents avail­able to serve you should you have any ques­tions, Life­Lock has a sim­ple and straight­for­ward iden­tity pro­tec­tion service.

Around the Clock Support

Life­Lock is the most widely used iden­tity theft pro­tec­tion ser­vice provider. You have access to a live cus­tomer ser­vice agent no mat­ter what time of day it hap­pens to be. Your unique sit­u­a­tion will be ana­lyzed so that you get the most com­pre­hen­sive level of ser­vices that will pro­tect your iden­tity effec­tively. You also get unlim­ited access to your online dash­board, which shows your cur­rent threat level, your credit score, and much, much more.

Pric­ing & Value

Life­Lock pro­vides their ser­vices bun­dled into three dis­tinct pack­ages that can fit anyone’s bud­get.

Is Life­lock Worth It?

Life­Lock does have one of the more expen­sive sets of com­pre­hen­sive ser­vices when it comes to pro­fes­sional iden­tity theft pro­tec­tion. They made a big splash by adver­tis­ing the Social Secu­rity num­ber of their Pres­i­dent as proof of how good their ser­vices are, but they back up what they adver­tise with their five points of pro­tec­tion. Life­lock offers a great ser­vice at a fair price. We recommend you try the Advantage plan free for 30 days and see for yourself.

Providers like PrivacyGuard and MyScore.com also offer identity /credit monitoring services, but don’t offer as many features as Identity Guard and LifeLock.

If you use this link, you can get 30 days of free credit monitoring with LifeLock & save 10% off your subscription.

*please note, if you sign up for a LifeLock plan using any of the links on this page, SIF receives compensation from LifeLock which helps us keep this site as a free resource for consumers.  

Are Credit Monitoring Services Worth the Price?


Identity theft
is a serious issue that impacts millions of people each year. Identity theft is a crime where criminals use a person’s name, Social Security number, birthdate and other personal information for financial gain. A thief may take money from a victim in many different ways. For example, a thief may directly take money from a victim’s bank account, fraudulently use a victim’s credit card or even obtain a loan under the victim’s name. Victims of identity theft have even been arrested by police due to the actions of the thief when using the victim’s name. The average victim of identity theft suffers financial losses of about $6,000 and spends many stressful hours trying to resolve the issues.

In the past, identity thieves would obtain use of another person’s identity by stealing mail, sorting through trash or by using other similar means. However, as more people became aware of these tactics, people began shredding bank statements and other documents containing personal information to prevent this type of theft. Though these traditional types of theft still happen, thieves are now more likely to steal information through electronic means. Modern thieves, who are technologically savvy, can hack into the computer systems of banks, retailers and even government offices to remotely steal information with little chance of being caught. Thieves can also intercept information via the use of skimmers at gas pumps, ATM machines or other locations where people use credit and debit cards.

credit monitoring services reviewThe bad news is that there is little that consumers can do for themselves to reduce the likelihood of being a victim of identity theft through computer hacking. A consumer can closely monitor his or her bank accounts and credit reports, but this will only provide them with information on things that have already happened. The delay in noticing the problem could result in dire financial consequences for the consumer. However, consumers are not powerless against modern identity thieves. There are a number of companies that offer identity theft protection services to consumers. These companies provide a range of services designed to protect consumers from becoming identity theft victims.

Though there are some differences from one company to another, most identity theft companies provide similar basic services to their customers. Companies will provide an alert to their customers when someone pulls data from the customer’s credit report. For example, if a thief tries to apply for a credit card in the customer’s name, the credit monitoring service would alert their customer when the credit card company made a request to one of the credit bureaus. Companies providing protection services also typically provide an agent to assist customers with an identity theft issue and provide some level of insurance protection against financial loss. Most also provide assistance notifying banks or other financial institutions when a customer’s wallet is lost or stolen.

Beyond the basics, the major credit monitoring services provide a number of different services. For example, LifeLock’s premium service provides their customers with three credit reports and credit scores each year, monthly credit score reports and alerts for changes to checking, savings and retirement accounts. Identity Guard provides their customers with public record monitoring and spyware protection to reduce the chances of identity thieves stealing information from their customer’s personal computer. LifeLock and Identity Guard’s basic plans start out at about $10 per month. LifeLock’s premium service is about $25 per month and Identity Guard’s is about $30 per month.

Credit monitoring services are also available from the three major credit reporting bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. The monitoring services provided by the credit bureaus are not as extensive as those from the other companies that specialize in credit monitoring. However, the credit bureau’s do provide access to credit reports and provide consumers with activity alerts for about half of the cost of the other credit monitoring services.

While the protection and alert features of credit monitoring services can protect consumers from becoming victims, perhaps the most important feature of the full service plans is the assistance they provide in the event that a problem occurs. Having a real person to help notify banks, correct information with the credit bureaus and even provide information to the police, is a service that can save a person a lot of time and stress. As most people lead busy lives and do not have the time to monitor their accounts on a daily basis or deal with the expense and hassle of becoming an identity theft victim, the small cost of paying for a credit monitoring service can buy a lot of peace of mind.

Identity Guard Review

Review of Identity Guard Services & Features

Identity Guard is one of the most popular and highest rated identity protection/credit monitoring services on the market.  It ranked #1 on the Kiplinger Financial Magazine’s Top Identity Theft Protection Services list and has won numerous other awards for it’s protection and customer satisfaction. The company’s protection services are based on their three tier approach of Monitor, Protect and Recover*.

Protection Services

  • Monitor: use of technology to monitor personal and financial information in order to provide credit, public record and identity monitoring with prompt security alerts regarding potential threats to your identity which can be delivered via email, text or phone.
  • Protect: provides anti-virus software for your computer, and keystroke encryption to allow safe browsing of the internet; their program ID Vault* helps protect logins, passwords and credit card information on your most visited shopping and member sites.
  • Recover: in case your identity is stolen during your membership, Identity Guard will provide personal recovery assistance that puts you in contact with experts and counselors, and offers identity theft insurance and lost wallet protection.

Plan Levels & Pricing

Identity Guard offers three membership level for their individual (single social security number) plans:

The Essentials membership is $9.99 per month and excludes certain features such as public record monitoring, anti-virus software, and password protection, and only provides consumers with 1 credit score report per month;

The Total Protection membership, at $19.99 per month, provides members with all of the services from the Essentials plan, as well as credit scores from all three credit bureaus;

The Platinum membership costs $24.99 per month and provides all of the services of the Total Protection level plus adds a bonus child security feature (kID Sure*) that helps protect your child’s identity. Their free mobile app is a nice added feature for those consumers who are serious about guarding their identity and protecting their credit.

You can save $3.00/month of the IdentityGuard.com homepage price when you sign up through StopIdentityFraud.org

When you sign up for your free 30 day trial, your monthly subscription will automatically begin at the end of those 30 days, unless you cancel your membership.

Couples & Family Plans

Identity Guard recently released 2 new plans that help make credit monitoring more affordable for families of all sizes.

Couples Credit Monitoring – Covers 2 adults in the same household. $26.99/month ($6.99/month savings)

Family Credit Monitoring – Covers 2 adults and up to 15 children in a single household. $27.99/month.

The only downside to these plans is that they don’t offer a free 30 day trial.  But IdentityGuard is has a proven track record as being one of the most trusted identity protection & monitoring companies.  If you want to monitor multiple social security numbers, you won’t go wrong with either of these plans.

Our Conclusion

IdentityGuard is hands down the most comprehensive identity & credit monitoring service on the market today.  With monthly subscription pricing for nearly every budget, a high level of customer service and an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, you should put IdentityGuard at the very top of your list when shopping for identity protection.