Privacy Guard is a credit reporting and monitoring website owned by Trilegiant Corporation, which is a subsidiary of Affinion Group, Inc. Affinion Group is a membership-based provider of travel, shopping, health, dental, entertainment, and consumer protection services. The company was launched in 1973, reported a net revenue of $1,243 million in 2014, and has a B+ rating with the BBB. However, in the last three years it has received 1025 complaints with the BBB and in 2013 reached a $30 million settlement with 47 states and the Department of Consumer Protection over misleading advertising and charging for unauthorized services.
What Services Does Privacy Guard Offer?
Privacy Guard offers users access to their three credit reports and scores, plus daily monitoring of their credit file and email alerts when there are any significant changes. Privacy Guard also provides identity theft protection services. This includes alerting clients of suspicious changes to their credit report and access to a team of fraud recovery specialists who will help contact creditors and with fill paperwork if you are the victim of identity theft or fraud.
Privacy Guard does not provide users with their FICO scores or identity theft insurance. The scores it does offer are generated by CreditXpert Scores, not the credit bureaus or FICO. These scores are only useful for educational purposes, they are not the scores used by lenders.
How Does Privacy Guard Work?
Privacy Guard is subscription-based service that starts with a 14-day $1 trial. If you don't cancel the membership within the 14-day trial period you are effectively agreeing to an indefinite subscription to their credit reporting and monitoring services.
In order to confirm their identity, users must open an account with Privacy Guard and provide their full name, address, date of birth and Social Security Number, as well as a credit card or other method of payment.
How Much Does It Cost?
Privacy Guard has a $1 fee for a 14-day trial, after which it charges $19.99 a month until users cancel the service.
How is Privacy Guard Better/Worse Than Other Credit Reporting Companies?
Privacy Guard gives access to all three credit reports and includes scores based on data from each reporting agency. Users who register for the 14-day trial can receive access to all three credit reports for free. Privacy Guard is backed by a large corporation that specializes in membership-based services that has company over 40 years' experience and a B+ rating with the BBB.
However, the scores offered by Privacy Guard are not FICO scores or the proprietary scores of Experian, TransUnion or Equifax. So, although the scores do help users get a better understanding of their credit profile, they are not the scores used by lenders. Hundreds of users complain they didn't know they were agreeing to a monthly membership or that they paid for services they never authorized. The $30 million judgment against Affinion for misleading advertising and unauthorized is a good reminder of the importance of reading the terms and conditions before making any purchase. Remember that accepting the 14-day trial gives Privacy Guard the right to charge you its monthly fee until you cancel the subscription.