Experian IdentityWorks Review

Identity theft protection services like Experian IdentityWorks help prevent identity theft as well as help you recover your financial and other personal data and accounts should your identity ever be stolen. These services often come bundled with credit alert monitoring services, alerts when your usernames and passwords are found on the dark web and other features explained in our Identity Theft Protection guide. Because the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, are the keepers of our credit histories, it makes sense to have one of these companies on your side. No company is completely immune to getting hacked, not even the credit bureaus, as evidenced by Equifax’s widespread 2017 data breach. However, these companies are the closest to your identity-related data and can quickly detect changes in your credit, flag suspicious activity using your name and help resolve any fraud.

Experian IdentityWorks helps you monitor and control your Experian credit report. If you prefer, you can add the option to track your credit at all three agencies through regular updates of your FICO score. This service provides complete monitoring of all activity associated with your name, address and Social Security number.

Because fraud against children is a growing threat that topped $2.6 billion in 2017, the membership can include monitoring for up to 10 children. If something should happen to compromise your identity, the service provides fraud protection to help you correct the situation, as well up to $1 million in identity theft insurance coverage to help replace stolen funds.

Additionally, there is a range of alerts included in Experian IdentityWorks, such as the monitoring of court records to detect any crimes reported in your name. Sex offender alerts will inform you when a registered offender moves nearby. The company also offers “dark web surveillance,” which promises to scan over half a million sites to ensure criminals are not sharing your personal data online.

Pros
  • Two products for different levels of service
  • Identity Theft Insurance
  • Monitors more sites, including dark web
  • Access to FICO score updates
  • Affordable price
  • Free trial
Cons
  • Scoring inconsistency with basic product
  • A more difficult cancellation policy

Experian IdentityWorks Cost

Membership Cost IdentityWorks Plus IdentityWorks Premium
One adult $9.99 monthly or $99.99 annually $19.99 monthly or $199.99 annually
One adult + up to 10 children $14.99 monthly or $149.99 annually $24.99 monthly or $249.99 annually
Two adults + up to 10 children $19.99 monthly or $199.99 annually $29.99 monthly or $299.99 annually

Experian IdentityWorks Products

IdentityWorks comes in two distinct plans: Plus and Premium. IdentityWorks Plus, the basic plan, is fairly extensive. It includes monitoring of your Experian credit report and Experian FICO score alerts, dark web surveillance, the ability to lock your Experian credit, and up to $500,000 in identity theft insurance.

Experian Screenshot

Experian Screenshot. Source: Experian Identity Theft Homepage

For just $10 more per month, the IdentityWorks Premium plan adds some valuable features, including credit monitoring and quarterly FICO score updates from all three bureaus, $1 million in ID theft insurance, along with alerts when suspicious court activity occurs in your name, sex offender alerts, and more. The Premium plan is a great value for individuals and families looking for comprehensive credit protection and identity theft coverage.

Experian IdentityWorks Plan Comparison

The table below contains just some of the many features included in IdentityWorks.

Identity Theft Monitoring Plus Premium
Social Security number monitoring Regular alerts let you know whenever a query occurs involving your Social Security number. Yes Yes
Dark Web Surveillance Proprietary software helps Experian monitor sites that the average consumer can’t see, where data may be traded and compromised. Yes Yes
Identity Theft Insurance Underwritten by AIG, this insurance coverage
is designed to help you recover expenses, lost wages, and assets stolen due to identity fraud.
Yes up to $500,000 Yes up to $1 mil.
U.S.-Based Fraud Resolution Specialist The Experian Credit Fraud Center is a good place to start when you want to add security to your account or report fraud. Yes Yes
Social network monitoring Alerts you when personal data is being shared via
social media sites, such as Facebook or Twitter.
No Yes
Bank account/credit card takeovers Helps you monitor and identify fraud on your accounts. No Yes
Credit Protection Services Plus Premium
Experian CreditLock Consumers can lock access to their credit report, and unlock when needed. Yes Yes
Credit Bureaus Monitored Alerts in the event of new inquiries and accounts,
balance changes, utilization maximums, as well as credit improvements and increases.
Experian only Experian, Trans-
Union, Equifax
FICO Score Alerts Regular FICO score monitoring Experian only; monthly Three-bureau score; quarterly

How to Buy Experian IdentityWorks

You can purchase the Plus or Premium versions of Experian IdentityWorks directly from the Experian website. Both have free 30-day trial periods, although you will need to enter a credit card number for the trial. Be sure to cancel on time if you decide not to continue using IdentityWorks to avoid billing. Read more about that below.

Experian IdentityWorks Complaints

Experian IdentityWorks pages on consumer review websites often note that the vast majority of reviewers are not happy with the company’s offer to get a free credit report and monitoring for $1. With this and other free trial offers at Experian, if you do not cancel within the trial period, your credit card will be charged the regular monthly fee based on your level of membership. In reviews, some consumers said they were not expecting this, and it was difficult and time-consuming to cancel this membership once it started.

Experian has addressed this complaint with a disclaimer on its website, stating its policy and making it clear that the $1 offer is not necessarily a one-time charge. Additionally, customer service representatives seem to be available, easy to reach, and responsive to cancellation requests. Consumers who are aware of the product they are purchasing seem to be pleased with the monitoring service and have faith in Experian’s fraud resolution capabilities.

ID Protection
ID Protection. Source: Getty

Experian IdentityWorks Q&A

  • How far back does my first credit report extend?
    Your Experian credit report is extensive and should include everything in your credit history. However, not all of this information impacts your current credit score.

  • How often are credit scores updated?
    Updates to your credit score happen when there are changes in activity. Lenders report these changes to the credit bureaus, including Experian, on a monthly or 45-day basis. Experian’s FICO score data is updated monthly for members.

  • How often can I get a credit report from all three bureaus?
    With IdentityWorks Premium, a combined three-bureau FICO score and report is available every 90 days. IdentityWorks Plus offers daily FICO scores but based only on Experian data.

  • Does credit monitoring impact my credit score?
    No. Because a credit score inquiry is considered a soft inquiry, which has no effect on your credit score and does not appear on your credit report. A hard inquiry, on the other hand, will show up on your credit report. Hard inquiries occur when a company accesses your credit as part of an application, for a loan or a job, for example. Too many hard inquiries could be taken as a sign of overextended credit and could impact your score.

  • Is there a cost to cancel my membership?
    When you enroll in the free 30-day trial membership, you can cancel anytime during those first 30 days without charge. After that, Experian offers a money-back guarantee, meaning you can cancel at any time, and payments will stop. It does not mean you will receive a refund for the current month or any prior month’s membership fees. Canceling a membership can be done online at any time, or you can contact Experian customer service for assistance.

  • What does it mean to lock my credit report?
    By locking your Experian credit file, you can minimize unwanted access to your credit file. It’s sort of like putting your credit on hold until you plan to use it. And if anyone else tries to access it, Experian notifies you right away.

  • Is credit locking available with all plans?
    Yes, the CreditLock is a feature that comes with Experian IdentityWorks Plus and Premium versions.

  • What is the dark web and how is it scanned?
    Also known as cyber monitoring, dark web monitoring scours what Experian calls the “underbelly of the Internet.” While other identity theft protection services may scan criminal websites, Experian’s proprietary technology claims to have the furthest reach into the darkest corners. IdentityWorks scans for personal data on more than 600,000 sites where stolen data is shared, including file sharing servers, black market forums, social media feeds, and other areas the average consumer might fear to tread.

  • Why does Experian offer identity theft protection for children?
    Child identity theft is a growing threat and one that can go unnoticed for years, potentially damaging a child’s access to future credit. Experian can also freeze a child’s credit report so no access to credit records can exist without your knowledge.

Conclusion

As identity thieves get more sophisticated, it pays to be proactive about your safety. IdentityWorks compares favorably to other identity theft protection services, and because of its status as a credit bureau, Experian’s product offers updates and other features other companies can’t.

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