Hi there! Have you ever worried about having your identity stolen? I don‘t blame you – it‘s enough to give anyone anxiety. According to the Federal Trade Commission‘s latest data, there were over 1.4 million reports of identity theft just in 2021.
The worst part? Identity theft can cost victims serious time and money to recover from. The Identity Theft Resource Center found that it takes victims an average of 200 hours and over $700 out-of-pocket to resolve each incident.
Yikes! Those numbers were enough to convince me it was time to sign up for an identity theft protection service. But choosing between LifeLock and Identity Guard left me unsure. Both seemed to offer helpful monitoring and alerts.
To solve my dilemma, I did a deep dive on the two industry leaders. After comparing their features, pricing, and more, a winner emerged – LifeLock! Here‘s a detailed look at what I found during my research.
At a Glance: LifeLock vs. Identity Guard
|$9.99 – $29.99/mo
|$6.99 – $19.99/mo
|Credit, SSN, bank accounts, dark web, public records, more
|Credit, bank accounts, dark web, public records
|Up to $1M – $3M policy limits
|Up to $1M policy limits
|Ease of Use
|Clear alerts, intuitive interface
|Vague alerts, clunky interface
Based on the core features and pricing, LifeLock clearly seems to come out ahead. But keep reading for the full breakdown!
Monitoring and Alerts – What Do They Watch For?
The main value of any identity theft protection is its monitoring and alerts. This gives you an early warning system to detect fraud before it escalates.
Here are the key areas LifeLock and Identity Guard can monitor:
Credit Reports and Scores
Credit reports – Both services watch for new accounts or loans opened in your name, late payments, address changes and other credit report activity.
Credit scores – LifeLock provides monthly VantageScore credit scores while Identity Guard only updates scores quarterly.
Credit freezes – Only LifeLock allows you to easily freeze credit with all three bureaus to block access.
Bank and Investment Accounts
Account takeovers – LifeLock and Identity Guard alert you to unauthorized withdrawals or transfers from bank/investment accounts.
Account openings – Both services inform you when new accounts or credit cards are opened using your info.
Balance changes – You‘ll get notifications if balances in existing accounts suddenly drop, which may indicate theft.
Public Records Monitoring
Court records – LifeLock and Identity Guard check court records for bankruptcies, judgments or name changes filed falsely in your name.
Criminal records – They warn you of crimes committed in your name, which may indicate an identity thief‘s handiwork.
DMV records – Both monitor Department of Motor Vehicles records for duplicate licenses or registrations.
Dark Web Surveillance
LifeLock and Identity Guard scan black market sites, chat rooms and underground forums for:
- Social security numbers
- Bank account details
- Email addresses
- Medical ID numbers
This allows them to detect if your info is sold by criminals online.
Alerts for Data Breaches
If your accounts or personal info are compromised in a hack, LifeLock and Identity Guard will inform you. This allows you to take quick action to prevent identity theft.
LifeLock can notify you of suspicious changes to your address on file with the US Postal Service or National Change of Address database. Identity Guard does not offer address monitoring.
Social Media Monitoring
LifeLock watches for unauthorized changes to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media profiles. Identity Guard currently provides no social media account monitoring.
As you can see, LifeLock objectively offers more extensive monitoring capabilities compared to Identity Guard. The additional social media, address and sex offender checks make LifeLock more likely to catch early signs of identity theft.
Real-Life Monitoring Alerts
Wondering how these alerts work in practice? Here are two examples:
Suspicious Credit Report Changes
After signing up for LifeLock‘s credit monitoring, you suddenly get an email alert with the subject "Alert: Hard credit check from auto lender."
In the alert, LifeLock informs you that Equifax reported a new hard credit check from an auto lender you don‘t recognize. This indicates someone may have applied for an auto loan in your name fraudulently.
LifeLock‘s agents recommend placing a fraud alert on your credit and ordering your free annual credit reports to check for other suspicious activity. This allows you to nip ID theft in the bud before further damage occurs.
Black Market Website Data Found
A month later, you receive another alert from LifeLock, this time with the subject "Alert: Your info found on dark web forum."
LifeLock‘s monitoring technology discovered your email address, SSN and birthday listed for sale on a black market forum used to trade stolen identity data.
The alert recommends you change any passwords associated with that compromised email account immediately. LifeLock also provides tips for placing a credit freeze to block criminals from opening new accounts with your SSN.
This dark web notification allows you to proactively protect yourself from identity theft before anything is opened in your name.
Identity Theft Insurance
In the worst case scenario that you do become an identity theft victim, the insurance policies from LifeLock and Identity Guard provide protection. This reimbursement coverage helps pay for:
Reimbursement for stolen money – Covers unauthorized electronic transfers or stolen funds.
Personal expense compensation – Pays costs for lawyers, document fees, phone bills, lost wages and other identity restoration expenses.
Credit requisition expenses – Covers costs of ordering credit reports and scores.
However, LifeLock offers superior levels of coverage:
|Identity Guard Coverage
|$1 million policy
|$1 million policy
|$1 million policy
|$1 million policy
|Up to $3 million policy
|$1 million policy
LifeLock also provides higher limits for categories like stolen funds reimbursement at up to $1 million, compared to just $1,000 from Identity Guard.
The enhanced identity theft insurance from LifeLock can provide greater peace of mind. Their highest coverage plan even exceeds the average stolen funds loss of $2,350 per victim according to a 2022 Javelin Strategy report.
Now let‘s discuss the pricing. LifeLock tends to cost more than Identity Guard, but offers extra value:
|Identity Guard Pricing
LifeLock offers discounts for annual subscriptions which can lower the monthly costs. You can also get protection for your whole family. LifeLock adds kids under 18 to parent accounts for free.
With Identity Guard, you pay $9.99 extra per month for each adult you add to the family plan. But children are covered for free.
So weigh the costs against the extent of protection you desire. LifeLock is likely worth the extra monthly fees if you want maximum monitoring and insurance. But Identity Guard can fit the bill if you require only basic coverage.
Ease of Use Comparison
I tested out the account portals and mobile apps for both LifeLock and Identity Guard extensively. I have to say, LifeLock‘s user experience blew Identity Guard‘s away.
LifeLock‘s website homepage and mobile app provided clear alerts and notifications. I could quickly grasp the actions needed to address each identity threat.
Meanwhile, Identity Guard‘s alerts lacked detail and left me unsure at times how to respond. Their portal navigation felt unintuitive and clunky.
For me, LifeLock‘s superior interface provides additional value on top of its monitoring capabilities. The complexities of identity protection are hard enough without struggling through a poorly designed account portal!
LifeLock Pros and Cons
Let‘s recap the main advantages and disadvantages of LifeLock as an identity theft solution:
- Up to $3 million insurance policy limits for stolen funds & expenses
- Broad monitoring of credit, SSN, bank accounts, dark web, public records, and social media
- Clear alerts and easy-to-use website and mobile app
- Familiar brand from Symantec with over 10 million members
- More expensive monthly premiums than competitors like Identity Guard
- Must pay extra fee to add credit lock feature
- Multiple lawsuits in past related to deceptive advertising
Identity Guard Pros and Cons
Here are the highlights of what Identity Guard does well along with drawbacks to consider:
- Affordable basic and mid-tier monthly plans
- Covers up to 5 adults on family plan for one monthly fee
- Solid monitoring of credit, bank transactions, public records and dark web
- No charge for children under 18 on family plan
- Maximum $1 million policy limits less than LifeLock
- Website and mobile app less user-friendly
- Alerts can lack detail on nature of identity threats
- Mixed reputation and complaints of poor customer service
My Verdict: LifeLock Is the Winner!
While both services bring valuable protection to the table, LifeLock emerges as the clear winner in this face-off review.
The deciding factors for me are LifeLock‘s extensive monitoring, superior insurance coverage and easier interface. LifeLock simply provides more robust all-around identity theft protection.
LifeLock outshines Identity Guard in monitoring your credit reports, scores, social media, address records and sex offender sites. And with up to $3 million in insurance, LifeLock has you better covered if the worst occurs.
Given the multitude of ways identity thieves operate today, I‘ll gladly pay LifeLock‘s higher premiums for the peace of mind. Identity Guard is still a solid choice on a budget. But for truly comprehensive monitoring and insurance, LifeLock remains first in class.
I hope this detailed look at LifeLock vs. Identity Guard helped make sense of these two popular options! Let me know if you have any other questions.
Stay safe out there,