When I saw IDNotify was another Experian backed identity theft protection service, I got a bit nervous. I’ve already covered two of these, and neither was particularly impressive, so I expected more of the same here.
IDNotify, I’m glad to say, surprised me in this regard. It is a whole different beast from the other two Experian-affiliated services we’ve looked at in-depth and has a lot to offer a prospective user, as we’ll look at further in a moment.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Is Identity Theft Protection Actually Worth It?
Getting identity theft protection should be a priority for many people.
If you have assets to protect, and particularly if you have a family, ensuring those assets and loved ones are protected is important.
Identity theft and data breach events are growing more and more common year by year, both among adults and children. In fact, the average age of an identity theft victim is 12, as children make very tempting targets for fraudsters.
The monitoring tools provided by an identity theft protection service are invaluable in assuring you stay ahead of this type of fraud, and the resolution services most provide are a godsend when it comes to saving you the headache of navigating all the things you need to do to get your life back on track if your identity is stolen.
Why Trust Us?
Our experts use a simple, effective method to gather data for these reviews. Primarily, we focus on gathering real user experiences as our experts navigate every step of the processes involved with using these services.
We search for the best deals available for each service, sign up using our test data, and monitor the service for any alerts it would show us. In general, the goal is to see how the service holds up in every aspect, the same way a normal user would.
Once we have gathered enough data, we grade the service based on several criteria:
- Monitoring and alerts
- Threat resolution
- Ease of Use
- Additional services
These are listed in order of priority, and at the end an aggregated score is given to each service to denote how we think it stacks up on its own merits (without directly comparing it to other services in most instances).
Quick Score Guide
Ease of Use: 7/10
Overall, IDNotify’s website and general user experience is pretty good. Far from the best I’ve seen, and it shares some common pitfalls with the other Experian based (like ProtectMyID Experian) identity theft protection services I’ve looked at but to a much lesser degree, and it makes up for it with an overall better navigation system.
Here is the dashboard page, for reference:
It has your basic information, and scrolling down shows you exactly what is being monitored and how many things you can add to it (multiple email addresses, credit cards, and so on).
Above are your current alerts, and you can easily click on these to navigate to a more detailed report of everything the alerts have found since the last time you checked them.
Finally, at the top is the navigation bar, which can take you to any of the other available pages you want to navigate to.
Everything is labeled well, but it can be a bit overwhelming at first glance since the Identity Protection tab shows each individual type of monitoring in the dropdown (they’re all on separate pages).
This makes it easier to navigate in the long run but can take some getting used to as you learn exactly which designation leads you to the type of alerts you actually want to see.
Not a bad page on the whole, though. Far from the best I’ve seen, but even further from the worst. You won’t want to rip your hair out over this one, if nothing else.
Monitoring and Alerts: 9/10
IDNotify does a great job when it comes to monitoring, at least when it comes to their top level membership (the Premier plan).
With that plan you get a suite of monitoring that rivals the top names in the industry, divided into several categories:
- Change of Address Monitoring
- Court Records and Booking Monitoring
- Financial Account Takeover
- Internet Surveillance
- Non-credit (aka Payday) Loan Monitoring
- Sex Offender Monitoring
- Social Network Monitoring
- Social Security Number Trace
These roughly correlate to what you’d usually expect to find from a service like this, with “internet surveillance” covering dark web monitoring as well as various internet accounts and so on.
While it lacks some of the more specialized, advanced monitoring tools that other options offer, particularly home title monitoring alongside 401(k) and investment monitoring, it does offer a whole lot more than the average service at the same rough price range.
In addition to the impressive breadth of monitoring, the speed and accuracy is great. It turned up all of the test information we seeded within a day, and came up with most of it within just a few minutes besides a few holdouts that took a bit longer to dig up.
I was also impressed with the level of detail shown in the alerts. This isn’t necessarily unusual, but some services tend to be vague about what the alerts actually mean. It’s always nice to see one that will give you full details: what kind of breach, which account, name of account holder, associated email, and so on.
This helps a lot with narrowing down certain types of data breach events and identity fraud so you can better take steps to solve them.
Their top level plan also throws 3 bureau credit monitoring into the mix, and all options offer Experian identity monitoring.
All in all, IDNotify’s monitoring is superb, though again this only applies to their Premier plan.
The lower tier plans offer exponentially less value in that regard. There is a STEEP drop in effectiveness from Premier to the Select plan (one step lower down), and I do not feel it is particularly reflective of the best monitoring this service provides.
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Threat Resolution Services: 8/10
Not much to say on this one, except IDNotify provides the best base level threat resolution any service can: 24/7 access to their customer support team.
This puts them head and shoulders above a lot of options out there just on its own. It can’t be overstated how great constant access to customer support is, since identity fraud events can happen or be discovered at any time, and the faster you can start resolving these threats the less damage they can do.
Other than that, having a wallet restoration service is always nice. This is the service that helps you cancel your credit cards and so on and then order replacements if your wallet is lost or stolen, preventing anyone from making use of your cards and ensuring you have access to replacements for your identification cards.
They also, of course, offer a fairly solid insurance plan which we’ll discuss in more detail below.
Other than that, there are no particular extra benefits, but what they do offer is excellent.
IDNotify is at the bottom level of what I’m comfortable calling “good” insurance. It offers up to $1 million in reimbursement, flat.
This means that the combined total of restored funds (money directly stolen from your account) and expenses (legal fees, lost wages, childcare, etc.) accrued as part of your identity fraud event combined cannot exceed that $1 million cap.
This is pretty good, but does leave things feeling very limited if the data breach or identity theft accrues an exceptionally high cost.
Still, it’s quite good, and shouldn’t be something that puts you off of the service by any means.
Additional Services: 6/10
IDNotify is pretty light on additional features, being a very streamlined and focused identity theft protection service.
But they do offer one very nice extra feature: Risk Analytics.
This is a little box at the bottom of your dashboard which gives a quick look at how many events and the proportions of them that happen in your area.
This is a useful little passive tool. It lets you know what, in your area, you are at the highest risk of encountering and maybe need to keep a closer eye on. Knowing which types of identity fraud are rare and which are common in your area is an excellent extra feature to provide in this regard.
IDNotify is another service that is divided into three distinct pricing tiers: Essential, Select, and Premier. Obviously, each of these offers a scaling amount of benefit to go with their scaling cost. A quick look:
IDNotify is unusual in that it only offers monthly payment plans, with no option to sign up for a year in advance for extra discounts.
It is even more unusual in that it offers Family plans and Child Identity Monitoring as flat rate additions to the base cost. No matter the base plan it is an extra $5 a month to add Child Identity Monitoring (this covers up to 10 children on an individual plan) or $10 a month for the Family Plan (2 adults and up to 10 children).
This is, of course, a terrible value for the Essential plan, and a meh to average one for the Select plan.
It is, by contrast, a ludicrously good value for the Premier plan. This is quite possibly the best family plan value I’ve seen on the market, bar none. You can cover 2 adults and 10 children for a cost increase of a lot less than half over the normal monthly fee.
Coincidentally, this dovetails nicely with the Premier plan, honestly, being the only one worth considering.
The Essential and Select plans are fairly bad, especially Essential which is terrible. The lowest tier plan offers practically nothing of value to the average user.
The Select plan is better, but you can get better performance from a fair number of competitors, who simply offer a wider breadth of monitoring, similar accuracy and speed, same (or better) insurance, and similarly good everything else for the same cost.
The Premier plan though, fills a perfect product niche. It’s relatively inexpensive for what it offers, with a very fair pricing, and the performance is great. Even the individual Premier plan is quite a good value, and shelling out for the Family plan deal pushes it over the top into one of the best priced services on the market.
Only the middling to poor Essential and Select offerings hold this back from a perfect score here.
Let’s compare IDnotify to other services:
- IDnotify vs. IdentityForce: Which One To Choose?
- IDnotify Vs Equifax: Which is the Best?
- IDnotify versus Identity Guard
I went into looking into IDNotify expecting to hate it, and instead came out with a strong contender for one of my favorite services out there.
It works well top to bottom, with excellent monitoring, good threat resolution and mitigation, and a mind-bogglingly good cost to effectiveness ratio, especially when it comes to total family coverage.
The only shortcomings are its insurance being almost the bare minimum for what I’d consider good insurance, and the lack of any tasty extras that might entice someone who’s on the fence, but those things are relatively minor in the grand scheme.
As far as well priced, high performance identity theft protection services go it is very hard to beat IDNotify’s Premier plan, which blows a lot of competitors out of the water and compares surprisingly well to even the top names on the market.
I’d put IDNotify easily in the top three of services we’ve reviewed here so far, and if you can find a particularly good deal on price it gets even better by comparison.
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