Costco Identity Guard Review
If you have never been the victim of identity theft or known someone who has been the victim it is hard to know what the experience is like. The Merriam-Webster definition is:
The illegal use of someone else’s personal identifying information (such as a Social Security number) in order to get money or credit. (Source)
But in the modern world theft can be used for much more than money or credit. You can impersonate someone, gather false documents, and a whole lot more when you steal their information.
Here are just a few facts to get your mind wrapped around the truth behind this type of theft.
- 7% of American citizens experience identity theft every year. That is over 15 million victims each year.
- The average yearly cost is 50 million US dollars.
- In 2014 over a billion records were leaked from various companies, these contained everything from basic personal information to SSN and more.
- Most importantly, almost anything that has your information on it can be used for the purposes of theft.
Costco offers these protection services through the brand name “Identity Guard”. It was first branded all the way back in 1996, and now services millions of different people.
Costco may not offer the most comprehensive protection in a few aspects but they really do provide identity theft protection that works. You never have to worry about contact and communication problems if an issue pops up. They have a toll-free number that is available from 8 a.m. to 11 at night. Monday – Friday, and also 9 a.m. to 6 on Saturdays.
They do claim to use bank-level encryption which supposedly makes login much more safe and secure. Their website is even PCI-compliant, which pretty much guarantees your information is safe. In fact, their yearly SSL license cost alone exceeds $1,000 for their certification. When requesting important information, they will usually just ask for the last four digits or letters of the document.
How does It Know if Your Identity is Stolen?
One of the best ways to track whether your information has been stolen or not is to track your credit score. Whenever a card or another loan is made it appears on your score, even if it was made by someone pretending to be you. One of the major features offered is credit score monitoring. You will be able to see if something happens on your score but because they know that you can’t always be looking at their website they will also monitor it for you and notify you if there is anything out of the normal. This is a major asset because you don’t even need to be doing work to benefit from that feature. Not only do you get to view your credit scores, they will generate a report for you every year so that you can know just how good your credit is and what you can do to improve it.
There was a time when you carried your social security card in your wallet and didn’t have to worry much about it. Now your card can be used for all kinds of nefarious purposes. Another feature is SSN monitoring. They work with the federal government in order to keep track of how your number is being used. For example, they will alert you if a new social card is issued under your name. That way you will know if someone is trying to impersonate you.
What Happens if Your Identity Gets Stolen Anyway?
Now, let’s say you have lost your personal information and you are wondering why you paid for a service like Identity Guard in the first place. It isn’t just there to protect you from your personal information being stolen, it is also used to get you back on your feet if such a thing happens. One of the many features that they offer is theft insurance. Should your name be stolen the company will help you recover your data with up to one million dollars. Right now that might seem like an incredibly large sum of money and that is because it is. But when it comes to the world of theft, it isn’t hard to rack up that kind of money. People can open cards in your name, can buy cars, and much more. That doesn’t even include the legal fees, processing fees, and more that you will need to pay in order to hopefully get your name back.
There are various sources across the internet and in the physical world where there might be public records with your personal information. While these are public you don’t want other people editing them or using that information to steal your identification. They monitor public records information that may pertain to your name, SSN, or other information and looks for changes. If a change is noticed you will be alerted. You will also receive a quarterly report on your public record information.
What can Identity Guard do to Protect you?
The number one place for your name to get stolen is while you are on your computer. They have prepared a small suite of tools to help you keep your computer safe and secure. Your subscription includes Anti-Virus software to keep your computer free of spyware and ransom-ware, keystroke protection software to make sure that no one is spying on what you are typing, and a password vault so that you can store all of your passwords in a secure environment.
Many of the features that they offer involve alerting you of what is happening. Being able to be alerted by a means that works for you is important. Identity Guard offers the ability for you to be alerted of suspicious activity by phone, email, or text, or by multiple methods if you desire. This allows you to get a prompt notification in the way that suits you.
Have you ever lost your wallet or had it stolen? If you have then you know what a pain it is to recover from that. If you haven’t, not only do you have to deal with getting new cards, new ID, and other new items but you have to find a way to get money. Identity Guard will help you with the process of replacing the items in your wallet but they do more than that. They will help you work with your bank or other financial institution to get up to $2,000 into your hands from one of your accounts so that you don’t have to worry about continuing on with your life.
Lifelock: How Does it Stack Up?
While they are one of the best in the industry at protecting your information and helping you recover, they do have competition. Here are some of the competitors should you choose to compare plans:
The majority of these other providers offer less coverage with their services.
|Stolen Wallet Assistance|
|3-Bureau Credit Analyzer|
|Credit Score||3 Scores||1 Score|
|Credit Report Updates||4 Times/Year||Once per year|
|Social Security Monitoring|
|ID Verification Alerts|
|Public Record Report|
|Change of Address Alert|
|Vehicle Registration Protection|
Your family is important and Identity Guard recognizes that. While each family member over 18 will have to make their own account, your kids under the age of 18 can be added to your plan. Many people think that only adults get their name stolen, but that’s not entirely true, kids do as well. It is important to protect their information too. A child will have a much harder time protecting their own information after all.
You may have noticed that a bank account you have or a current insurance plan offers some level of safety. In most cases this is simply a credit score check regularly or insurance to help you back onto your feet should someone steal your name. When you sign up for a service such as this you are signing up for protection, monitoring, and recovery. You get the peace of mind that you will be as safe as you can be and should you need to recover you will have someone there to assist you through the process.
For a free trial on LifeLock you can go here.
Identity Guard® Essentials
- SSN monitoring
- Online monitoring
- ID verification alerts
- Account takeover alerts
- Theft victim assistance
- Lost wallet recovery
- $1 million theft insurance
- ID vault securely encrypts and stores your usernames, passwords and bank cards all in one safe place with 1-click access
Identity Guard® Total Protection®
Everything included above, plus:
- Address change monitoring
- Daily 3-bureau credit monitoring
- Quarterly 3-bureau credit report and score updates
- 3-bureau credit analyzer
- Mobile app accessible
- Public records monitoring
- PC keystroke encryption software
- PC antivirus software
Identity Guard® for Kids
Price: $9.99/month when purchased on its own or $5/month extra when purchased with Total Protection Plan
- Child’s ID footprint report with analysis
- Public records monitoring
- SSN monitoring
- Registered bank accounts monitoring
- Personal recovery assistance
- Unlimited toll-free customer service
Discounts for Costco members
If you’re an existing Costco member, you could save up to $10 per month when you sign up for their Total Protection plan. This plan is already a great deal to begin with, but when you add in the discount, you may very well be getting one of the best deals available for theft protection on the market today.
In today’s modern world it isn’t hard to have your name stolen and it only takes seconds. In order to protect yourself and your ID, it is important to invest in a solid software suite. While this software is only one of the many options available it is one of the best on the market. It has the most features and a dedicated staff to keep your information safe.