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LifeLock vs. TrustedID vs. GuardDogID vs. Equifax ID Patrol

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ID theft and monitoring services reviewed and compared. This report compares some of the recognized names in the field of identity protection services. It goes in depth to cover the services, strengths, weaknesses and pricing aspects of each player.

According to Javelin Strategy & Research, an estimated 8 million U.S. residents became victims of various forms of identity theft and fraud in 2010. As per Federal Trade Commission, more than 247,000 identity theft cases were reported to it last year. Though, identity protection services were not as popular in the earlier stages, they are becoming increasingly important in the present times.

Each day, we all hear on the news of one company after another company having their data records hacked for many millions of their customers. And sooner or later, one of these companies is going to be a company that we have used. This means that thieves have now gotten access to our important information such as our social security numbers, addresses, date of birth, credit card numbers and debit card numbers. At this point, we have to start watching and worrying about our bank accounts and credit cards being used illegal.

With a myriad of options available, it may not be easy to choose the right one. However, there are certain points that one must consider before enrolling with any company. Read about the reputation of the vendor or you may rely on word-of-mouth and customer experience. Inquire about the type and range of information covered under the service agreement. Also, compare the recovery assistance process, type of customer service, types of protection, pricing, performance guarantee, loss insurance etc. offered by different players.

TrustedID

TrustedID Inc, one of the well known names in the domain, acquired its Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation in 2006. It offers free trial services to its potential customers.

Pros

An A+ rating from Better Business Bureau:

  • Trusted name in the market with good reviews across forums.
  • Rated "Overall Best-in-Class" and "Best-in-Class for Whole-Identity Monitoring" by Javelin Strategy and Research in September, 2010.
  • Backed by a strong management team with long industry experience.
  • Has excellent customer support.
  • Boasts of quick identity-theft instance resolution.
  • Offers $1,000,000 limited service warranty coverage.
  • Offers award winning IDEssentials service pack. This includes:
    • Proprietary Identity Threat Score technology for assessment of the degree of risk to the customer data.
    • Daily monitoring of credit reports at the three credit bureaus.
    • Protection against the theft of medical or social security benefits.
    • Fraud alert services.
    • Highly effective anti-spyware and anti-phishing software along with the service package, free of cost. It can be installed in up to three computers.
    • Instant online access to the credit reports.
    • Active internet scanning to identify any misuse of the customer’s identity data in the black markets or otherwise.
    • Considered a better option than the competitors for protecting the entire family. Apart from spouse, parents and children, all the relatives in the household are covered in the same family package.
    • Replacement and protection of driver’s license, identity cards, credit or debit cards etc., in case of a wallet theft.
    • Junk-mail protection. These mails are major sources of identity theft. 
  • Provides CreditLock services as an add-on to IDEssentials, whereby the customer can prevent the credit bureaus from sending out the reports to any party without their permission, to prevent fraudulent credits being raised in the customer’s name. The customer can contact TrustedID anytime to unfreeze the account.
  • Offers award-winning organizational services, styled as Data Breach Defense services, that include scanning of the internet black markets, free credit reports on an annual basis, fraud alert and identity restoration. The main service solution is branded as IDAssure.
  • Allows the option for employers to provide IDAssure under the Employee Benefits Program.
  • Allows 14-day free trial.
  • Offers between 28-30% discount on yearly subscriptions.

Cons

  • 29 complaints reported and closed with BBB in last three years. The complaints related to billing (8), customer service (7), contract (4), refund (3), product (2), sales practice (2), service (2) and delivery (1).
  • Does not act on the behalf of the customer in case of an identity theft. The service warranty offers guidance and reimburses all the expenses, including lost wages, investigator’s or attorney’s fee, paperwork expenses, and so on. However, the customers have to arrange for all the resources themselves.
  • Information protection does not cover vehicle registration number, public records, insurance records, driving license and loan information.
  • Does not offer insurance.

Pricing

  • IDEssentials (Individual): $14.99 per month or $10.42 per month (annual subscription)
  • IDEssentials (Family): $27.99 per month or $20 per month (annual subscription)
  • CreditLock: $10 per credit bureau + Processing fee (total price for the package varies with age and state of domicile)

Prices are subject to change.

LifeLock

LifeLock Inc. has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2005 and is an established player.

Pros

  • ‘B’ rating from Better Business Bureau.
  • Trusted name in the market with good reviews across forums.
  • Its top management is complete with a distinct Fraud Advisory Board.
  • Has a separate Identity Alert Team for instant reporting of a theft event.
  • Had 100% satisfaction ratings in 2009 from Javelin Strategy and Research for its proprietary product, Identity Alert.
  • Provides 24X7 customer support.
  • Maintains an Identity Resolution Team of qualified professionals, certified by the Institute of Consumer Financial Education.
  • Offers Total Service Guarantee, a $1,000,000 limited service warranty coverage.
  • Acts on behalf of the customer under the service warranty, offering guidance and arranging for lawyers, investigators, attorneys fee, etc.
  • Information protection covers vehicle registration number, public records, insurance records, driving license, financial accounts, and loan information.
  • Offers LifeLock identity theft protection that includes:
    • Threat alerts.
    • Regular monitoring to identify a likely breach.
    • Replacement and protection of driver’s license, identity cards, credit or debit cards etc., under WalletLock services.
    • Recovery services covered under the service warranty.
  • Provides LifeLock Command Center services for advanced protection. Apart from all the features associated with LifeLock identity theft protection, this includes:

·          

    • Expanded database scanning beyond credit reports to identify an incident.
    • Public and court records monitoring.
    • Scanning for alternatives, apart from the standard name searching.
    • Vigilance over payday loans.
    • eRecon active internet scanning, to identify any misuse of the customer’s data in the black markets or otherwise.
    • Advisory in case of unintended information disclosures.
    • Real-time fraud prevention by coordinating with lenders and service providers.
  • Offers an add-on service, LifeLock Credit Score Manager that deals with:
    • Daily monitoring of credit reports at the three credit bureaus.
    • Email threat alerts.
    • TransUnion credit score tracking on a monthly basis.
    • Free credit reports from all the three credit bureaus on an annual basis.
  • Provides organizational services, styled as LifeLock Breach Services, that include response support, communication management, LifeLock membership for the affected community and monitoring of results.
  • Offers LifeLock identity theft protection at discount as a part of Employee Benefits Solutions. The Group Benefits Solutions come at even higher discounts.
  • Offers junk-mail protection. These mails are major sources of identity theft.
  • Offers proprietary TrueAddress services that detect and help resolve any mail redirect events.
  • Offers between 8-16% discount on yearly subscriptions.

Cons

  • 64 complaints reported and closed with BBB in last three years. The complaints related to billing (16), advertizing/sales (8), product/service (36) and warranty (4). Of these, 28 were closed in 2010.
  • In March 2010, the Company settled a Government action decided against it by agreeing to pay the penalty. The case related to false claims made by LifeLock to promote its business.
  • Does not offer insurance.
  • Requires enrollment for each member of the family separately, increasing the total costs considerably.
  • Does not offer family discount.

Pricing

  • LifeLock Standard: $9.99 per month and includes $25,000 reimbursement for stolen funds.
  • LifeLock Advantage: $19.99 per month plus $100,000 reimbursement for stolen funds.
  • LifeLock Ultimate Plus: $29.99 per month plus $1 million reimbursement for stolen funds.

Guard Dog ID

Founded in 2008, Guard Dog ID is a listed player (Pink Sheets: GRDO.PK) in the segment, providing a wide range of security features at competitive prices. It offers free trial services to its potential customers.

Pros

  • ‘A-’ rating from Better Business Bureau.
  • Had only 4 complaints reported and closed by BBB in the last three years.
  • Provides Essential plan with the following features:
    • BreachWire technology to detect data breaches.
    • ID Risk Report, containing simple assessment of individual data risk.
    • Anti-spyware program, JavaCool SpywareBlaster.
    • Community alert in case of missing children.
    • Information of sex offenders in the area.
    • Information about the new computer viruses, designed for identity theft.
  • Provides Advanced protection that contains, apart from the Essential plan features, the following:
    • $1,000,000 identity insurance.
    • Scanning for alternatives, apart from the standard name searching.
    • SSIndicator for scanning social security numbers.
    • Vigilance on public and court records.
    • Replacement and protection of driver’s license, identity cards, credit or debit cards etc., under WalletGuard services.
    • Restoration services.
    • Conducts active internet scanning under NetDeflect, to identify any misuse of the customer’s data in the black markets or otherwise.
    • Offers proprietary SureAddress services that detect and help resolve any mail redirect events.
    • PervertAlert, an information service alerting about the possible movement of sex offenders in the area or their use of the customer’s information.
  • Offers Premium package includes all the Advance plan features and the following:
    • Instant access to credit reports.
    • Alerts for any activity in the credit reports and scores.
    • Payday loan monitoring.
    • Non-credit data surveillance.
  • Offers a one-time CleanID report, a compilation of data from a number of databases that might contain fraudulent entries. This is designed for customers, who do not want continuous protection and are interested in the status of their data as on date.
  • Provides institutional services in the areas of data breaches, small & medium business solutions, enterprise packages, educational institutions solutions and Government agencies packages.
  • Different types of services, such that the customers have to pay only for the services they want.
  • Gives 30-day trial offer.

Cons

  • Incorrectly portrays itself as Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited.
  • Does not offer family package or related discount.
  • Information protection does not cover vehicle registration number, insurance records, driving license, bank account information and loan information.

Pricing

  • Advanced: $9.95 for one month or $8.95 per month for 12 months.
  • Premium: $14.95 for one month or $13.46 per month for 12 months.
  • Superior: $19.95 for one month or $18.33 per month for 12 months.

You can either enroll month to month or annually.

Equifax ID Patrol

Equifax ID Patrol is one of the recognized names in the industry. However, it leaves a lot to be desired under its current service lines.

Pros

  • Provides 24X7 customer support.
  • Provides threat alert services.
  • Conducts daily monitoring of credit reports at the three credit bureaus.
  • Allows unlimited access to Equifax credit report.
  • Allows online dispute filling with respect to errors in the customer’s Equifax credit report.
  • Supplies free credit reports from all the three credit bureaus on an annual basis.
  • Conducts active internet scanning under WebDetect, to identify any misuse of the customer’s data in the black markets or otherwise. Protection covers personal information, including social security numbers and up to 10 card numbers.
  • Provides Credit Report Control services, whereby the customer can prevent the credit bureaus from sending out the reports to any party without their permission, to prevent fraudulent credits being raised in the customer’s name. The reports can be made inaccessible to all or specific companies. The customer can contact Equifax anytime to unfreeze the account.
  • Offers up to $1,000,000 Identity Theft Insurance protection.
  • Offers Complete Premium Plan with all the features of ID Patrol plus regular score monitoring in the Equifax credit report.
  • Provides restoration services.

Cons

  • Got average or below average customer reviews.
  • Expensive, given the limited range of services.
  • Does not offer family package or related discount.
  • Information protection does not cover telephone number, vehicle registration number, public records, insurance records, driving license, bank account information and loan information.
  • Does not provide assistance in case of stolen wallets.
  • Does not offer junk-mail protection. These mails are major sources of identity theft. 

Pricing

  • Equifax ID Patrol: $16.95 per month (currently $14.95 per month)
  • Equifax Complete Premium Plan: $19.95 per month.

Prices are subject to change at any time.

The Bottom Line

On an overall assessment, TrustedID emerges a better option among the established players, while Guard Dog ID is a very promising upcoming player. From the point view of pricing for individual services, all are in the similar range. However, when it comes to coverage for the entire family, TrustedID certainly takes the lead.

The service offerings of TrustedID and LifeLock are similar, but LifeLock has been lagging on the customer satisfaction front. Dicey advertising practices have also caught LifeLock in the regulatory net. Guard Dog ID, on the other hand, is one step ahead with some of its unique areas of protection. Of the four reviewed companies, Equifax ID Patrol is the weakest player. It is surprising that the flagship of such a reputed brand is seriously short on its offerings and pricing policy.

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