Privacy Guard is one of many credit reporting and identity theft protection services out there. It promises to do help you keep track of your score and protect yourself from fraud, if it were to happen.
So, we’re going to do a Privacy Guard review here at Elite Personal Finance to help you understand what it is, whether you should use it, and how it stacks up against other offerings such as Lifelock, Identity Guard, and MyFico.
What Is Privacy Guard?
So you’re probably wondering “What is Privacy Guard, anyway?” and are looking for a way to determine whether it is legit or not.
This company was started in order to help prevent fraud, help people understand their credit, and give them a chance to bounce back in case they ever become a victim of identity theft.
They offer a variety of services, including:
- All 3 Bureau Credit Report
- All 3 Bureau Credit Scores
- Credit Monitoring Daily
- Monthly Credit Score Tracking
- Toll-Free Support Hotline
- Support for Victims of Identity Fraud
It is not to be confused with LEO Privacy Guard, which is an Android app. It is also not to be confused with GNU Privacy Guard, which is a cryptographic software suite.
Privacy Guard Complaints (BBB and others)
Privacy Guard gets a fair few complaints. Here at Elite Personal Finance, we found that the way that they try to get you to signup for the service is a little sneaky. When you try to signup, they offer the first days for $1, which is usually not a problem.
However, they won’t tell you the price until you get to the signup page and it requires your credit card information. It will automatically bill you for $19.99 per month.
Oddly enough, after trying to go back in the signup page, they show an exit pop which allows you to claim the exact same service for $14.99 per month and then changes what you will be billed. You are still given the offer for $1 for the first 14 days.
During this article, we will be quoting this $15/month price when comparing to Lifelock, Identity Guard and myFICO.
Will Privacy Guard Give Me a Refund?
Some more Privacy Guard complaints come from the BBB (Better Business Bureau). They have a rating of A- with the BBB, but there have been complaints of users having experiencing poor customer service on the phone, especially when trying to get a refund.
Even though Privacy Guard offers a refund if you are not satisfied, it can be difficult to cancel your order after signup. People all over the web have complaints about this, and it’s generally good practice to give a refund to an unsatisfied customer.
Some people have complaints about having their service cancelled for no reason, and then being required to get on the phone to have it reactivated. Others have complained about being sent to another website after signup.
For $15/month, it sounds like a lot of hassle in dealing with poor customer service. You might be better off choosing Lifelock, myFICO, or Identity Guard.
Privacy Guard Review of their Available Offerings
Privacy Guard only offers a one package. It costs $15/month and offers a few different services.
Unlike Lifelock and Identity Guard, they don’t have any upgraded packages or any offerings that are more comprehensive than the ones they currently advertise.
Currently, this is what they offer:
- Credit Report and Score: They will give you your credit report and credit score from all 3 bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion). Not only that, they will give you your CreditXpert credit score, which reflects the strength of your overall credit. Lenders do not use CreditXpert scores for considering you for a loan.
- Score Tracking and Alerts: They will allow you to track the movements in your credit score and will alert you if something hurts your credit in a big way. They will also allow you to set alerts for milestones or for certain activities. They do this by tracking your Experian ScoreX Plus score on a monthly basis.
- 3 Bureau Credit Monitoring: They will allow you to monitor your credit score across all 3 bureaus and check for any sort of inconsistencies.
- Assistance in Credit Disputes: They will help you dispute any fraudulent claims on your credit report and make the entire process a little bit easier.
- Toll-Free 24/7 Support: Privacy Guard has a support line that doesn’t cost you anything and that you can call anytime with your concerns. This can be used for credit information or identity theft help.
- Identity Fraud Scanning: They will alert you if an inquiry is placed on your credit. This is to protect you from fraud.
They offer a fair bit, but is it good for $15/month? Let’s compare to 3 of their big competitors: LifeLock, Identity Guard, and MyFico.
Privacy Guard vs Lifelock
Lifelock is an identity theft protection suite that starts at only $10/month. They include many different services and will allow you to upgrade for an extra fee.
So, pitting Privacy Guard vs Lifelock, how well do they stack up against each other? For simplicity’s sake, we’ll compare Life Lock’s $10/month plan with PG’s basic offering.
Let’s see what they have in common:
- 24/7 Support: Both companies will allow you to access their support hotline at any time.
- Identity Fraud Alerts: Both companies will alert you in case of fraud happening in your name.
- Identity Restoring Support: Both companies will help you restore your good name in the event of a crisis.
What does PG do that Life Lock’s $10/month plan doesn’t?
- Credit Report and Score: They will give you your credit report and your credit score upon request.
- Credit Report Tracking: Privacy Guard allows you to track your credit score and set milestones or alerts.
- 3 Bureau Monitoring: They will monitor your credit score from TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.
It must be noted, however, that all of these things are offered by LifeLock’s $20/month plan.
How does Lifelock’s $10/month plan beat out PG’s $15/month plan?
- Lost Wallet Protection
- $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance
- Cuts Down Pre-Approved Credit Card Offers
- Address Change Notification
In other words, their $10/month plan offers more to protect your identity than PG does. However, PG’s $15/month plan offers more by way of monitoring your credit and making sure you know what is on your report.
The verdict: It depends on what you need, but Lifelock’s $20/month package is much more comprehensive than Privacy Guard’s $15/month package, and for only an extra $5/month. If you’re considering Privacy Guard for its credit monitoring services, go with Life Lock instead.
Privacy Guard vs Identity Guard
Identity Guard is a well-trusted theft prevention service that also starts at $10/month. It is available through Costco as well as through their own website.
So how does Identity Guard’s Essentials offering compare with PG?
Let’s see what they both offer.
- Identity Theft Alerts: Both companies will alert you in case of possible fraud.
- Support and Victim Assistance: Both companies offer a support hotline that can be called at any time.
What does Privacy Guard offer?
- Credit Report and Score
- Credit Report Tracking
- 3 Bureau Monitoring
As is with LifeLock, Identity Guard offers all of these services, and more, in its $20/month plan.
What does IG offer in its $10/month plan that PG does not? Let’s find out.
- SSN Monitoring: Identity Guard will monitor activity on your Social Security number, which could mean that you are a victim of severe identity fraud.
- Black Market Site Surveillance
- $1 Million Insurance for Out of Pocket Recovery Costs
- Password Protection
- Bank Account Alerts: If someone tries to take use your bank information, you will be alerted to the activity so you can take steps to rectify the situation.
As far as Privacy Guard vs Identity Guard goes, the situation is the same as with Life Lock. IG offers much more when it comes to identity fraud protection, and PG offers more with regards to credit monitoring.
Again, IG will give you all the services that PG does for an extra $5/month.
Privacy Guard vs myFICO
myFICO is a product offered by FICO, formerly known as the Fair Isaac Corporation. This company invented the credit score formula and has been using them for decades to determine creditworthiness.
They offer 3 plans, their cheapest being $20/month.
So what do both PG and myFICO offer? Let’s look at the plans.
- Credit Score Tracking
- 24/7 Support
- Credit Score Monitoring
What does Privacy Guard offer over myFICO?
- Access to reports from all 3 Bureaus: myFICO only gives you your Equifax score, whereas PG will give you all 3 scores.
- Credit and Identity Fraud Alerts
What does myFICO offer than PG does not?
- Lost Wallet Protection: If your wallet is stolen, MyFico can help you cancel your cards and help prevent any sort of medical fraud.
- $1 Million Insurance for Out of Pocket Costs
Overall, myFICO is pretty expensive for what it offers. However, it does more for fraud than Privacy Guard.
Is Privacy Guard Worth the Cost?
Privacy Guard offers a pretty solid offering when it comes to credit monitoring. The price is pretty good, and you get access to 24/7 support.
However, the reviews speak for themselves. Poor customer service, hard to get a refund, and sneaky tricks on the signup page really make most people want to run for the hills.
Not only that, but PG lacks the $1 million in coverage that all 3 of the compared companies offer.
Choose your identity theft services wisely, as fraud could affect you for the rest of your life. Elite Personal Finance’s Privacy Guard review does not recommend this product.
Some Elite Personal Finance Tips for Protecting Your Identity
- Safeguard any and all personal information. Be careful where you use your name on the Internet. Don’t share your exact date of birth with any website that will host it publicly. Do not use the same passwords for every login on the Internet.
- Shred any unwanted mail and keep any pre-approved credit cards (without activating them). Some of your mail might have personal information on it, and for that reason you need to shred it so your name is unintelligible.
- Scan your computer for viruses or keyloggers. When you login to a website, a keylogger can record your keystrokes and send them to thieves across the world.
Seniors and students need to take particular notice, because you are more likely to have your identity stolen by a family member or someone close to you than by a stranger. Keep your information as secure as possible, and if you can, go in person for any sort of registration or purchases.
For more information on keeping your identity secure, please read this article on the 10 best ways to protect yourself from identity theft.
If you liked this post, please add Elite Personal Finance to your RSS feed, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and if you have something to say comment below.