Experian IdentityWorks Review
Experian IdentityWorks brings you identity theft protection directly from one of the big three credit bureaus. It combines sophisticated scanning and monitoring features with access to your credit scores and reports.
Experian is one of the big three credit reporting bureaus, with a long history starting back in the 1800s. During this period, merchants in London created associations for sharing information about buyers who didn’t settle up their debts. One of these associations, called the Manchester Guardian Society, is one of the earliest parts of the eventual Experian company.
Today, it has more than 17,000 employees and operates in over 80 countries. In addition to the credit reporting services it provides to consumers and businesses, it also offers related services. One of these is the Experian IdentityWorks product, which helps people detect and protect themselves against identity theft.
Experian has a large staff, which is both a good and bad thing. It’s good in that you’ll be able to reach out at any time of the day or night to get assistance, but you may end up with an inconsistent experience. Many customers cited issues with the IdentityWorks customer service, including having issues getting through to a person, receiving different answers each time they called, and having other frustrating experiences.
The people that you talk to if you have your identity stolen do provide a high level of service – it appears that many of the customer service issues concern general support matters. The fraud resolution specialists are US-based and all work in-house at Experian. One of the benefits of working with Experian’s service is that you’re dealing directly with one of the big three credit bureaus.
Features, Services, and Plans
The Experian IdentityWorks app is called Experian CreditLock. It provides you with a one-tap method for locking and unlocking your Experian credit file. This app can give you real-time alerts if someone attempts to apply for credit accounts, and no one can access your credit report without authorization.
This locking process is a bit different from a security freeze, which is a feature that all three credit bureaus offer. A freeze is something that you set up with each company individually. To unfreeze your file, you usually need to provide a PIN code and go through a website, rather than an app.
Please note that the Experian CreditLock app only locks your Experian report – you would still need to put freezes in place on TransUnion and Equifax.
Identity Theft Monitoring and Alerts
Experian uses its extensive infrastructure to look for signs that your identity is compromised. If it suspects that this has happened, you receive an alert as quickly as possible so you can take action.
Dark Web Surveillance
In some cases, your personal data ends up on the Dark Web before someone uses it for identity theft. If you know when It’s up on these illicit marketplaces and websites, you can stay one step ahead of the criminals. Over 600,000 pages are regularly scanned, and they also look at file-sharing sites and other data sharing locations.
FICO Score and Credit Report Monitoring
Your FICO score is another indicator that something is going on with your identity. If it drastically drops, then you might have someone opening accounts and running up balances in your name. Credit report monitoring is also helpful when you’re working on your credit or preparing for a big purchase. You can get your credit score from all three credit bureaus, giving you a comprehensive view of your financial health. These scores use the FICO 8 model.
Social Network Monitoring
One of the less common features that Experian IdentityWorks offers is social media monitoring. It goes beyond merely looking for mentions of your personal information. It also monitors whether your account is associated with actions that would cause reputation harm, such as cursing.
Sex Offender Alerts
The last thing you want is your name associated with the sex offender registry. If that happens, it’s important to act quickly to clear your name and get yourself removed from it.
Payday and Non-credit Loan Alerts
Scammers don’t always try to open up credit cards or car loans in your name. They may go for payday loans, which give them a source of quick cash, or non-credit loan accounts. If these loan products don’t require a credit check, then you wouldn’t have any warning about them if you’re only looking at the credit report. Experian helps you learn about these accounts before they hurt your financial life.
Court Records and Bookings
Another way that a fraudster could use your personal information is to give it if they’ve been arrested. You could end up getting picked up on a warrant that you didn’t even know you had if they do that. This part of the service looks at public records to see whether you might be the victim of this.
Child Identity Protection
Sometimes children’s social security numbers get stolen and used to open accounts and other activities. IdentityWorks tracks the social security number to help you protect your kids from these modern dangers.
Change of Address
Another way that scammers get your personal information is to put in a change of address form so that your mail gets routed to an address of their choosing. If you haven’t authorized a change or recently moved, this alert will let you stop the mail forwarding from happening.
Bank and Credit Takeovers
Sometimes criminals will use your personal information to trick customer service into giving them control of the account. You could end up incurring massive financial losses due to this type of identity theft, so it’s vital to get ahead of it before it goes too far.
Lost Wallet Assistance
While identity theft is a big problem when you lose your wallet, it’s an even bigger frustration to go through your credit card companies and banks one by one to cancel and reissue cards. Experian helps you through this process, so it’s as smooth as possible.
Identity Validation Alerts
During the course of some applications and account sign-ups, the person goes through an identity validation. Experian picks up these attempts so that you’re notified if you are not the person trying to get that account.
You have two plan options for Experian IdentityWorks, which differ in the number of credit bureaus that you get a report and score for, and how much identity theft insurance coverage you receive.
The IdentityWorks Plus individual plan is $9.99 per month, comes with an Experian credit report, Experian FICO score, and $500,000 in identity theft insurance.
The ExperianIdentityWorks Premium plan is $19.99 per month for an individual, and adds access to the other two credit bureaus and increases your coverage up to $1 million in insurance. You get FICO scores from all three bureaus every quarter.
If you want a family plan, one parent with up to 10 children is $14.99 per month for the Plus, and $24.99 per month for the Premium plan. For two parents and 10 children, it’s $19.99 per month for Plus and $29.99 per month for the Premium.
Experian IdentityWorks delivers a lot of value for the price. It monitors a significant amount of data to look for the telltale signs of identity theft, and the identity theft insurance provides an excellent safety net if you do fall victim to this crime.
Experian IdentityWorks offers a reliable identity theft protection plan with the advantage of working directly with one of the big credit bureaus. This service is also useful if you’re in the process of working on your credit and you want frequent access to your FICO scores.