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To keep yourself, your assets, and your family safe, you want the best identity protection service at the best price. After test-driving numerous services I’ve found that Aura offers the best identity protection available.
You can lock in our OFF discount on Aura, they won’t increase your price next year.
- You want to protect your assets with award-winning identity theft and credit monitoring tools.
- You want to ensure your family is covered with up to $5 million in insurance coverage.
- You want a helpful customer service team with an average of 7 years of industry experience.
However, Experian’s IdentityWorks is certainly eye-catching. Backed by one of the major three credit bureaus and featuring an extensive credit monitoring suite, Experian’s IdentityWorks is quickly becoming a big name in the identity protection industry.
So, if you’re wondering whether IdentityWorks is worth getting, you’ve come to the right place.
I spent three months testing the IdentityWorks service. I put their monitoring tools to the test, quizzed their customer service team, and spent hours combing their insurance policy and plans.
In the end, I found that Experian’s IdentityWorks doesn’t compare to Aura. It offers less insurance coverage, less accurate monitoring, and less availability from its customer service team. Worse still, IdentityWorks is expensive.
That said, it does have some stand-out features, like a free basic plan and extensive credit monitoring services.
If you’re interested in learning more or want the details behind my conclusions, read on. We’ll walk through Experian’s IdentityWorks in detail, and along the way I’ll point out why I think Aura is better. By time we’re done, you’ll know which service is appropriate for you and your family.
But First, Why Should You Trust Us?
You can learn more about our testing process here.
Experian’s IdentityWorks Review: Is It Worth Getting?
After testing Experian’s IdentityWorks, I don’t think it’s worth the price.
Identity protection services should protect your identity. That’s obvious, but IdentityWorks doesn’t seem to get that concept.
Instead, their service focuses almost entirely on your credit score.
Credit monitoring is an important part of identity protection, but it’s not everything – far from it, in fact. Dark web monitoring, financial account monitoring, and social security number monitoring are arguably more important.
Though Experian’s IdentityWorks offers many of these services, they’re not very good at providing them. That, among other issues I discovered, is why I can’t recommend them. And why Aura remains the best identity protection service, in my opinion.
I lay out all the details below. But, just know, most people should consider Aura over IdentityWorks.
Editor’s Ranking Table
Best Identity Theft Protection
Monitoring & Alerts
Theft Insurance Per Adult
Hours of Operation: Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m
Renewal Price Increased After 1st Year?
Monitoring & Alerts: 4/10
On paper, Experian’s IdentityWorks monitoring services appear pretty good. In practice, it’s a different story…
Experian’s IdentityWorks offers most of the standard identity protection tools, such as:
- Dark web monitoring
- Social Security number monitoring
- Social media monitoring
- Credit monitoring
- Sex offender registry monitoring
- Financial account takeover monitoring
- Court records monitoring
However, they fail to offer truly comprehensive protection. They miss key services in some areas. In others, their services simply fall short.
Dark Web Monitoring
I came to Experian IdentityWorks with a few expectations.
My job includes testing identity theft protection services, so there are a number of alerts I expect to populate fairly quickly anytime I run a dark web scan. I thought that upon launching the Experian IdentityWorks service, I would get the same 10-15 alerts that other services I’ve tested have found.
Services range in speed, but usually, these alerts take no more than an hour to populate.
With Experian IdentityWorks, that wasn’t the case.
Instead, Experian only populated a handful of alerts – and it took a full month of testing to find them.
I’ll give credit where credit is due, though – Experian IdentityWorks did find one alert that no other service found (a breached phone number), but that doesn’t make up for its lack of speed and accuracy overall.
Experian’s inability to catch all of the alerts I expected is one of the major reasons I’ve scored it so low in this category. Dark web monitoring is a crucial element of thorough identity protection, and I want a service that can handle it with speed and precision.
Experian’s IdentityWorks alerts dashboard isn’t bad, but it’s nothing to write home about either.
You reach it by clicking the bell image on the top right corner of the main dashboard. Alerts show up in a list that looks clean and organized. Each one provides at-a-glance information about the alert type and where the service found it.
For example, an alert might say “Social Security Number Trace Results” in bold. Beneath that is a one-line explanation of the alert, something like: “We found records associated with your SSN.” The drop-down arrow provides more detailed information, including next steps.
My only issue is that the next step always seems to be “Lock your Experian credit file.”
This points to the main issue with Experian’s IdentityWorks service…
Experian IdentityWorks focuses first and foremost on credit monitoring, not identity monitoring.
Everything the service provides points back to your credit score. And, while monitoring your credit is important to protecting your identity, it’s not the only piece of the puzzle, but if you’re using IdentityWorks, you might start to believe it is.
Financial and Credit Monitoring
When it comes to credit monitoring, it’s no surprise that IdentityWorks excels. Financial monitoring is a different story.
Here’s what I mean:
Experian is one of the three major credit bureaus. Given their main line of work, it’s not a surprise that their Premier and Family plans provide top-notch credit monitoring tools. These include:
- 3-bureau credit report and FICO® Scores – quarterly
- Daily Experian FICO® Scores
- FICO® Score Tracker
- Experian Credit Lock
- FICO® Score tracker
- FICO® Score monitoring
For financial monitoring, their coverage is less extensive.
Experian IdentityWorks offers financial account takeover monitoring. However, it’s missing basic protections that other services (like Aura) provide, such as financial transaction and bank fraud monitoring.
It’s also missing 401(k) monitoring, meaning one of your most important assets – your retirement fund – is left vulnerable.
So, again, Experian IdentityWorks puts an emphasis on protecting and even improving your credit score but drops the ball when it comes to comprehensive identity protection.
Public Records Monitoring
IdentityWorks’ public records monitoring is about average.
They offer court records and booking monitoring. They also monitor the sex offenders registry.
The best identity protection services, like Aura, also offer home and auto title monitoring. If you’re a car or homeowner, having title monitoring is crucial. So, again, IdentityWorks offers insufficient protection in this area.
Threat Resolution: 6/10
US Based Support?
Lost Wallet Protection
I evaluate the threat resolution category by looking at three key areas:
- Customer service overall
- Concierge service
- Wallet protection
In theory, Experian IdentityWorks service should excel in all three. They claim to, anyway.
But when I put them to the test, I uncovered some serious flaws.
Let’s look at each area in detail – you’ll see what I mean.
I’ll start with the positive here.
Experian’s customer service team is friendly and helpful…
If you manage to get a hold of them.
And, that’s the problem. Their customer service team is notoriously hard to reach. Even finding their phone number takes more effort than it should. After digging around their site for nearly ten minutes, I finally just Googled it.
Then I made my test call; I chose to call on a Friday afternoon, well within their business hours (Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.) but not at the most convenient time either.
Many of the identity theft services I’ve tested allow me to speak to a U.S.-based rep right away. With Experian, that wasn’t the case. It took me close to ten minutes to navigate past their machine answering service.
Needless to say, it was a very frustrating experience.
When I finally reached someone, they were knowledgeable and able to answer my questions. The issue was simply getting to them.
If you are a victim of identity fraud, Experian’s IdentityWorks Premium and Family plan offer dedicated fraud resolution support.
This support isn’t bad, but it’s also not nearly as good as some other services (Aura, my preferred choice, comes to mind).
IdentityWorks promises that their fraud resolution specialists undergo a ten-week training. That’s nothing compared to the 7 years of experience (on average) that teams like Aura’s have.
However, they do provide similar services (though perhaps not quite as capably, given their lesser experience). These include:
- Placing a fraud alert on your credit reports.
- Drafting and providing dispute letters to report credit fraud to credit bureaus.
- Assisting in scheduling conference calls with financial providers, creditors, and service providers to dispute fraudulent charges.
- Interacting with law enforcement to work toward a resolution and assist with filing a police report when possible.
Overall, I can’t complain about Experian’s concierge services. I just think other services offer more experienced help, which can make all the difference.
Identity theft resolution isn’t a straightforward, one-size-fits-all process. Each case requires personalized service, and a more experienced team will do a better job of minimizing and rectifying damages.
In this area, I have no complaints. Experian’s IdentityWorks offers straightforward wallet protection. If your wallet is stolen or you happen to lose it, they’ll help you cancel and replace your bank cards and ID.
My only concern is this –
IdentityWork’s customer service team wasn’t easy to get a hold of. If I lose my wallet, I imagine I’ll be more than a little stressed. If I have to spend ten minutes getting past a machine to get human help, what will that do to my mindset?
I imagine it wouldn’t be pretty. In fact, it’d almost be easier to deal with canceling my bank cards myself.
So, though Experian’s IdentityWorks offers wallet protection, I’m not sure I’d end up using it.
Theft Insurance: 7/10
Theft Insurance Score
I’m not impressed with Experian’s IdentityWorks insurance coverage.
Take a look at the breakdown:
The $1 million in coverage is the industry standard. It’s not great – nothing like Aura’s $1 million per adult (up to $5 million total) – but it’s not terrible.
My issue with IdentityWorks is in the breakdown. They’re a little stingy when it comes to specific limits.
For example, several comparable protection services offer $2,000 per week in lost wages and $1,500 or more for an initial legal consultation.
This might seem a little nit-picky, but if you need your insurance, that $500 to $1,000 can make a significant difference.
Family Plans: 8/10
Experian IdentityWork’s Family plan offerings are adequate. Not amazing, but adequate.
If you want to protect your entire family, including adult children, I think Aura is the best option available. They offer up to $5 million in protection for your family, and their Family plan is exceptionally affordable.
However, IdentityWorks isn’t the worst I’ve seen.
It’s fairly flexible. You can sign up as a single parent with up to 10 children, or you can cover two adults and up to 10 children under 18.
Unfortunately, the insurance coverage stays at $1 million flat, regardless of the number of family members you choose to include. And that $1M can only pay out once in a 12-month period. So, if two members of your family experienced an identity theft event in the same year, you might have an issue.
Ease of Use: 8/10
Experian’s IdentityWorks is pretty easy to use.
My only real gripe in this category is this:
The main dashboard features multiple tools for credit monitoring and improvement rather than identity protection.
This goes back to my main complaint with IdentityWorks – it’s more of a credit protection service than an identity protection service.
Otherwise, IdentityWorks isn’t bad. Their navigation could be a little smoother (they use outdated drop-down menus that disappear if you’re not hovering over them). And, it could take fewer clicks to get to the services you actually need. But, in terms of ease of use, it’s not the worst interface I’ve seen.
Additional Services: 6/10
Here, IdentityWorks falls way short.
Yes, their credit monitoring suite is extensive, and you might be able to call that an additional service, but as far as traditional offerings go, IdentityWorks doesn’t include any of them.
There’s no VPN, no parental controls, no password manager, and no antivirus software.
If you want all the extra features in one service, IdentityWorks isn’t it. (Aura, on the other hand – is. Aura offers a ton of additional features, including parental controls with safe gaming, which alerts parents to signs of bullying, harassment, grooming, and racism on popular internet games).
Experian’s IdentityWorks Cost: 7/10
Individual Plan Cost
Aura only offers one plan but offers the same benefits as Identity Guard's Ultra plan
Couple Plan Cost
Family Plan Cost
Aura only offers one plan but offers the same benefits as Identity Guard's Ultra plan
1 Adult and Up to 10 Children
2 Adult and Up to 10 Children
Renewal Price Increased After 1st Year?
As for pricing, IdentityWorks is average.
They do offer a free version of their service, but it doesn’t offer much. You’ll get basic credit monitoring, a privacy scan, and a dark web scan (a fairly ineffective one, as I’ve shown).
You need their paid Premium plan or Family plan to get all the features we’ve been discussing. And, while pricing for these is in line with other big-name services, like IdentityForce, it’s too high overall.
Aura offers more services, a more experienced team, and better insurance coverage for a much better price point (especially when you use our promo code).
So, unless you want the free, rather ineffective, IdentityWorks plan, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t choose Aura instead.
Is Experian’s IdentityWorks Worth It?
Experian’s IdentityWorks might be worth it if your main goal is to protect your credit and you consider full identity protection a secondary concern.
If you want to protect more than just your credit score, you want a more comprehensive service – one that includes things like home title monitoring, bank fraud monitoring, and 401(k) monitoring. Aura offers all of the above at a better price point.
Is Experian’s IdentityWorks Legit or a Scam?
Experian’s IdentityWorks is legitimate. The company is owned by Experian, one of the major three credit bureaus.
Does Experian’s IdentityWorks Offer a Free Trial?
Yes, Experian’s IdentityWorks Premier and Family plan come with a 30-day trial.
Does Experian’s IdentityWorks Offer a Promo or Coupon Code?
No, Experian’s IdentityWorks does not currently offer a promo or coupon code.
Final Verdict: 6/10
I’m not a fan of Experian’s IdentityWorks. It fails to fully protect your identity.
What it does do is protect your credit score. If you want a free service to help you manage your credit while maybe alerting you to some identity threats, sign up for their free plan.
If you want to actually protect your identity, assets, and your family, you need a fully comprehensive identity protection service. I recommend Aura.
Aura offers comprehensive and accurate monitoring tools, up to $5 million in theft insurance coverage for your family, and top-notch customer service. Plus, if you use our discount code, they’re also exceptionally affordable.
So, use Experian’s IdentityWorks service for what it’s good for – credit monitoring. And leave identity protection to the experts at Aura instead.
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