Basic ID theft protection and credit monitoring backed by Experian
There’s a lot we don’t have to worry about any more thanks to technology, but one thing that the Internet didn’t help with is identity theft. Think about it: we all have dozens of online accounts, and we give them a ton of information, like our birthdays, addresses, and credit card data. That’s why it’s no surprise that there were 14.4 million victims of identity fraud in 2018, most of them paying out of pocket for their losses.1 But good news, identity monitoring can help. In this review, we’re telling you the good and the bad of IDNotify, a service owned by the credit-reporting bureau Experian. Okay, let’s start guarding our identities with IDNotify!
What Does IDNotify Monitor?
Exactly what we got monitored was based on the plan we chose, so to get all of what IDNotify had to offer, we signed up for the most comprehensive Premier Plan, which included the following:
- Credit scores and reports: IDNotify monitored our credit scores and reports from the three major credit-reporting agencies, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax updating us of any changes. We had our credit score improve after we paid off a good chunk of our credit card debt and got alerted as soon as it happened.
- VantageScores: Something we haven’t seen from any other identity monitoring service we’ve tried out, VantageScores are just a different credit score model that your lender may or may not use,2 so this feature may not be super-helpful to all.
- Internet surveillance: IDNotify scanned the Internet for our credentials and would’ve alerted us if they were found, which thankfully didn’t happen.
- Social network monitoring: Being millennials, we have nearly every type of social media account there is, from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram (note that Tik Tok is excluded from this list, as it just makes us feel old). Once we gave IDNotify our account information, the service notified us of any risks to our privacy or reputation (read: anything NSFW, which we avoid posting anyway).
- Identity restoration: No identity monitoring service can guarantee that your identity won’t be stolen, so if that happens, we knew we’d have access to an identity restoration specialist at all hours of the day to help us figure everything out. When we noticed some unauthorized charges on our debit card, for example, we worked with the specialist to cancel the card and contact the vendors to alert them of the thief. With a few days, we had our $500 back and a new card to match!
- Lost wallet services: Going from the digital world into the physical world, if we lost our wallets, IDNotify would replace their contents, from our money to our driver’s licenses, gym membership cards, and whatever else we keep in there.
- Child monitoring: Again, we’re not parents (yet), but if we had kids, we’d definitely pay that extra $5.99 a month for child monitoring, meaning that IDNotify would monitor usages of the kids’ social security numbers for anything that looked fishy.
- Change of address monitoring: You know how when you move, you have to let the post office know so they can transfer your mail to your new address? Imagine if someone filled out that form without your consent. Fortunately, IDNotify was on it, checking to see if the USPS was redirecting our mail to anywhere but home.
- Court records and booking monitoring: As unlikely as it may seem, it’s possible that someone can get arrested and use our information in the court system, but if that happened, IDNotify would alert us ASAP.
- Social Security Number trace: If anyone associated our Social Security Number with their name, address, or alias, IDNotify would tell us.
- Non-credit loans: This sounds like a nightmarish situation, but if anyone took out quick-cash or payday loans in our names, we’d get alerted. Phew!
- Sex offenders: Whether someone was registering as a sex offender in our names or even just moved in our neighborhood, IDNotify would be on it.
- Financial account takeovers: Finally and perhaps most importantly, we would’ve gotten alerted if anyone tried to open a bank or credit card account in our names, make changes to our current bank account or apply for a credit card, again, with our information.
Child monitoring is the only service that’s not necessarily included in any plan; while we don’t have kids of our own just yet, it only costs $5.99 more a month tacked onto any of their plans. In general, we’re really pleased with how comprehensive IDNotify’s monitoring is; it covers everything we’re looking for, which, believe us, isn’t always the case with other companies.
The company also offers identity theft insurance, because again, no company can guarantee 100% that they can prevent identity theft. So if they somehow missed something, we would’ve been able to receive up to a million dollars in reimbursement. This is the standard across all identity monitoring services, so we’re glad to see that IDNotify is neck and neck with the competition.
When we went on the IDNotify website, we saw that there were three subscription options available to use: Essential, Select and Premier.
Pro Tip: For the most comprehensive identity monitoring, choose the Premier plan from IDNotify.
The prices were really reasonable, starting at less than $10 a month and only going up to $32 for all of the available features. We’ve seen plans go up to almost $40 a month (looking at you, myFico!3) but we’ve also seen plans starting at under seven dollars a month from Zander Insurance, which doesn’t have as much financial monitoring as IDNotify. Basically, what we’re trying to say is that in terms of cost, IDNotify stands at the lower range, but it’s at the higher range in terms of quality. Can you say best of both worlds?
IDNotify Subscription Rundown
|Essential Plan||Select Plan||Premier Plan|
|Number of Credit-Reporitng Bureaus Monitored||0||1||3|
|Number of Credit Reports and VantageScores||0||1||3|
|Monthly VantageScore Updates from How Many Credit-Reporting Bureaus||0||0||1|
|Social Network Monitoring||✓||✓||✓|
|Lost Wallet Services||✓||✓||✓|
|Optional Child Monitoring (Extra $5.99/ month)||✓||✓||✓|
|Change of Address Monitoring||x||✓||✓|
|Court Records and Booking Monitoring||x||✓||✓|
|Social Security Number Trace||x||✓||✓|
|Identity Theft Insurance||x||✓||✓|
|Non-Credit Loan Monitoring||x||x||✓|
|Sex Offender Monitoring||x||x||✓|
|Financial Account Takeover||x||x||✓|
|Monthly Price (without Child Monitoring)||$9.99||$17.99||$25.99|
|Monthly Price (with Child Monitoring)||$15.98||$23.98||$31.98|
If you want to see the breakdown in detail, check out our main page for IDNotify pricing.
How Secure Is My Data on IDNotify?
- Phone number
- Social Security number
- Credit card information.
All of the information is encrypted and IDNotify uses SSL, which stands for Secure Socket Layer, in order to make sure that only authorized users are accessing their accounts. Many online retailers use SSL to protect users and their personal information, so we’re glad IDNotify is taking advantage. Plus, when we used the IDNotify app on our iPhones, we set up multi-factor authentication so that we had to use our fingerprints to open our accounts. You can’t get more secure than this!
However, for those super-concerned about privacy, IDNotify may not be your best bet. That’s because the company is based in Austin, Texas, obviously part of the United States. Just to brush you up on some American history, the U.S is part of three international surveillance alliances: Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes (creative names, we know). This means that, in extreme circumstances, the U.S could force IDNotify to hand over customer data. But this is the case with any company based in the U.S, so for most people, this won’t be a problem. That being said, literally all of the identity monitoring services we’ve reviewed so far as based in the U.S, so we may not be able to make a recommendation for you just yet.
Our User Experience with IDNotify
After we selected the Premier plan on IDNotify’s website, we created an account, which required us to enter our names, addresses, emails, Social Security numbers, and birthdays. We then made up usernames and passwords and put in our card information. We also created security questions if we forgot the passwords we made up. From there, IDNotify verified our identities by asking a few authentication questions about our ages, addresses, and financial accounts. Aced it!
From there, we were prompted to fill in even more information, like:
- Bank account information
- Driver’s license
- Retail or membership cards
- Medical ID numbers.
Keep in mind that the more information we gave IDNotify, the more they could protect us, but we like that a large amount of it is optional for the more privacy-concerned among us.
Once we filled out all that information, we were brought to the dashboard, which had many different reports, including our credit report. We could contact support through this dashboard, add child monitoring, if we end up having babies, and even contact the identity restoration specialists. And that was it! From start to finish, the setup process took about 10 minutes. Not too shabby.
As far as using IDNotify goes, we really only opened the app or went to their site on our desktop when we received notifications. For example, when we paid off a hefty chunk of an old credit card, we got notified via a push notification that a new credit score and report were available. Once we went on the desktop site, as you can see above, we clicked on the credit center to view our new score, which was thankfully better than it had been a few days ago. Again, since we signed up for the top-tier plan, our credit scores from all three bureaus were prominently displayed, which saved us from having to go to each individual website.
Although our credit scores were good, we wanted to see how we could make them even better, so we clicked on Score Simulator in the credit center.
IDNotify provided us with a number of scenarios along with how much they would affect our credit scores. It was awesome to see that just by getting our credit card and retail accounts down to $0, our credit score could raise 16 points to 758, which is really remarkable.
Aside from help with financial planning, IDNotify also made sure our identities weren’t stolen, obviously. Fortunately, our identities weren’t stolen while we were testing out IDNotify, but we were still able to check out the many reports available for identity monitoring, like the change of address report below.
The entire dashboard is very clean and functional, so it was never hard to find the exact information we were looking for. Overall, you don’t need to be a tech expert like us to navigate IDNotify, whether on desktop or mobile.
The IDNotify App
To check out our monitoring reports and receive notifications about our identity, we downloaded the IDNotify app on our iPhone, although it’s also available on Android. In our experience, the IDNotify app worked well; it was easy to access our most recent credit reports and scores, and we knew we’d know immediately if the company found anything that seemed fraudulent using our credentials.
We certainly don’t want any sex offenders in our neighborhood, so we clicked on this report first. However, we were left with the spinning wheel for quite some time, so long in fact that the app logged us out! But after logging back in again, we saw a map of our neighborhood that was, sadly, marked with as many red dots as a teenager’s face.
When we scrolled down, we could read about each sex offender, and there was a ton of information available: their names, addresses, races, heights, hair and eye color, offenses, and more. While we’re certainly not happy about the sheer amount of sex offenders near us, at least now we know who to avoid, and IDNotify made it super easy to access this information.
On the other hand, Android users didn’t seem as pleased with the app. Many people had trouble logging in, defeating the purpose of the app in the first place. No wonder the IDNotify app has only a 1.5 rating on the Google Play store!
FYI: If you have an Android, you may run into some issues logging into your account on the IDNotify app.
IDNotify Customer Support
When we had a few questions about IDNotify, namely how much we could get in reimbursement if our identities were stolen, we first turned to their online help center, which included a bunch of helpful FAQs (we found our answer pretty quickly). However, we love that they also have a support email address, a phone number, and even a mailing address for those of us who still send snail mail. While they don’t have a live chat option, we’re happy with the number of ways we could contact IDNotify for help.
As an identity monitoring service, we’re very impressed with IDNotify. Their monitoring was really extensive and they charged a reasonable fee for it. Plus, the iOS app made it easy to check in with our account on the go, but we definitely wouldn’t recommend it for everyone.
We’d recommend IDNotify if you want…
- Easy to use iPhone app
- Comprehensive identity monitoring
- Affordable prices
But look elsewhere if you want…
- User-friendly Android app
- Identity monitoring service based in country that’s a non-member to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes
- Lowest priced option possible
If IDNotify doesn’t seem like the best option for you, check out our list of the best identity theft protection services. We’ve tested them all out so you’ll know exactly what you’ll get before entering that credit card information.
Javelin Strategy. (2020). 2019 Identity Fraud Study. javelinstrategy.com/coverage-area/2019-identity-fraud-report-fraudsters-seek-new-targets-and-victims-bear-brunt
Vantage Score. (2020). Explore Credit Scoring. your.vantagescore.com/scoring
MyFico. (2020). Choose A Plan. myfico.com/products/fico-score-plans
IDNotify. (2020). Provacy Policy. idnotify.com/privacy-policy/