Experian Identity Theft Protection Review

When identity thieves steal your information, you’re faced with a long, costly road of repairing your identity and finances. Experian, one of the big three credit reporting agencies, now offers identity theft protection—but is it the right fit to keep you safe?

Experian logo with colored blocks

Best for Family Protection

4/5
  • Plans available for adults and kids
  • Monthly or annual pricing options
  • Dark web monitoring
  • Social network monitoring

About Experian Identity Theft Protection

Experian, along with TransUnion and Equifax, has been keeping track of people’s credit since 1996. Since the company experienced a massive data breach when it was hacked in 2015, it has worked hard to not only monitor people’s credit but also to become a leader in identity theft protection.

Best for the Family
Experian logo with colored blocks

Experian’s identity theft protection services are offered through a subscription to its IdentityWorks plans. You can pay monthly or annually. There are two different plans: IdentityWorks Plus and IdentityWorks Premium. The two plans are very similar, with the IdentityWorks Plus program being the basic option. They offer standard identity theft protection options (credit reports, Social Security number monitoring, identity theft insurance) and include a few bonus features like direct access to your FICO scores.

Experian Identity Theft Pricing and Plans

IdentityWorks Plus IdentityWorks Premium
View Plans View Plans
Monthly Subscription Cost Starting at $9.99

 

Starting at $19.99
Free 30-Day Trial Yes Yes
Social Security Number Monitoring Yes Yes
Dark Web Surveillance Yes Yes
Fraud Resolution Services Yes Yes
Identity Theft Insurance  Up to $500,000 Up to $1,000,000
Credit Inquiry Alerts Yes Yes
FICO Scores Daily from Experian Daily from Experian, quarterly from all 3 credit bureaus

Pros

  • Direct Coverage
    The fact that these plans are offered directly through Experian means you can lock and unlock your credit easily. You also get more direct access to your credit scores than you would through other companies. That means you’ll have a much easier time resolving issues related to your credit report. But even with these benefits, one call won’t solve all your problems if your identity gets stolen. You’ll still need to call your bank and follow all the other recommended steps.
  • Lots of Extra Services
    The IdentityWorks Premium plan will keep an eye on all sorts of places where you wouldn’t want your name showing up. It will monitor payday loans, court records, sex offender registries, social networks, and file-sharing networks to name a few.

Cons

  • Few Options
    There’s not much of a difference between the two plans—when looking at both side by side, the Plus plan seems like a watered-down version of the Premium plan. You can choose a plan for a single adult, a single parent and children, or two parents and children. You just pay $5 more a month each time you add an adult.  A customizable plan based on how much coverage you want would be ideal, but that isn’t an option with Experian (or most other identity theft protection services).

Features and Usability

We recommend the IdentityWorks Premium plan. It covers all your bases when it comes to identity theft issues and has a solid selection of added features.  The IdentityWorks Plus plan is a good basic plan, but the best thing Experian offers over other identity theft protection services is FICO scores and quarterly reports from the other credit bureaus—and those benefits come only with the Premium plan.

Pros

  • Mobile Access
    The Experian plans are accessible from a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Most of the information and alerts will come to you through emails, but you can access them on any device, making this service easy to use.
  • Access to Your FICO Score
    For most of us, our credit scores are something we don’t know or even understand all that well. We hear about it when applying for a loan and that’s about it. You can get your credit report for free once a year, but these reports don’t show your credit score. With Experian’s identity theft protection services, you get to see your actual FICO credit score daily, and you get to see your credit scores from all three credit bureaus quarterly. If you’re working on repairing your credit for any reason (not just identity theft), this could be extremely helpful to you.
  • Credit Monitoring
    Either of the plans offered by Experian give you solid credit monitoring options, but only the Premium plan offers credit card and bank account takeover alerts and monitoring. Fraud alerts like these can save you thousands and thousands of dollars.

Cons

  • Difficult Cancellation
    You get your first thirty days free when you sign up with Experian, but that does require your credit card information, and you will be billed after that. Some customers reported difficulties canceling the service, both during the trial period and after they began paying.
  • Customer Service Problems
    Many, many online reviewers noted that Experian was difficult to work with when it came to customer support issues. You could easily freeze your credit report, but other than that, many of the services were not easy to access. The website does not list any customer support hours or have any online support options. There are also reports of emails not being answered when customers tried to reach out for help that way. These plans seem like great options for access to information, but they may not be especially helpful if you actually have your identity stolen.

Experian Identity Theft Protection FAQs

My identity was stolen. Can Experian’s identity theft protection fix that?

No. If you are a victim of identity theft, there are a lot of steps you need to follow to ensure your assets remain safe. The Federal Trade Commission offers a step-by-step online approach through its website and an in-depth explanation through this PDF: Identity Theft: A Recovery Plan.

What is the Dark Web and why do I need protection from it?

The Dark Web is a part of the internet that is accessible only by special software and is used by people who don’t want their actions online to be traced. Almost all identity theft transactions occur on the Dark Web. If you’ve been hacked, your information will be bought and sold on the Dark Web. Most identity theft protection services will monitor activities on the Dark Web for you because information there moves quickly.

Are credit monitoring services the same as identity theft protection?

Yes and no. It really depends on the type of plan you sign up for. Most identity theft protection plans will offer credit monitoring services, but not all credit monitoring services will offer everything you need for identity theft protection.

The Bottom Line

Experian’s IdentityWorks Plus and Premium plans offer solid, helpful identity protection services. If you need credit monitoring for rebuilding your credit or because of previous identity theft, these are good plans. It’s best to pay the extra money and get the Premium plan because of the extra FICO score and credit report information you get. Be aware, though, that when you sign up, you’ll still need to be ready to take a lot of action on your own if your identity is compromised, and Experian’s customer service has been reported as less than stellar.

Pros

  • Excellent access to credit scores
  • Direct information from all three credit bureaus
  • Comprehensive plans
  • Mobile Access

Cons

  • Little variety between plans
  • Potential customer service problems

How We Evaluated Experian Identity Theft Protection Services

We evaluated Experian’s IdentityWorks plans by reading through its website and comparing the plans to others offered by alternate companies. We also spoke with an online security expert and people who have experienced identity theft, and we combed internet reviews.  For more information, see the SafeWise Methodology.

Written by Laura E. Hilton

Laura is a writer, teacher, and mother based out of Utah. She is passionate about making and maintaining strong, safe, healthy communities. To learn more, visit her website at lauraehilton.com. Learn more

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