Your FICO credit score gives you access to loans, lower interest rates, and other perks. It’s one of the most important numbers for your finances. Unfortunately, hackers and malicious actors steal people’s identities and tank their credit scores. Experian IdentityWorks can help protect you from identity theft.
What Is Experian IdentityWorks?
Experian IdentityWorks monitors the web to detect signs of identity theft and monitors your credit reports from Experian or across the three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – depending on your membership level. As a result, Experian IdentityWorks keeps you and the entire family safe and restricts who can access your credit.
You’ll also receive dark web surveillance, which involves daily scans of more than 600,000 unique web pages, to ensure your information isn’t floating around on the dark web or to alert you if it is. Other features include court record alerts if Experian identifies false reports in the system, sex offender alerts if a registered sex offender relocates to your neighborhood or within close proximity of your home and change of address alerts if a request is made to the U.S. Postal Service to reroute your mail elsewhere.
Members can also expect to be notified any time addresses or aliases connected to their Social Security number are identified in the cyber world. Plus, you’ll get alerts if a thief attempts to open a new account in your name or take over your account or if they apply for non-credit loans or payday loans in your name.
Experian IdentityWorks also comes with CreditLock. This feature lets you do the following:
- Lock and unlock your Experian credit file
- Block unauthorized access
- Provide real-time alerts if someone applies for credit using your details
Experian IdentityWorks users can easily lock and unlock their credit files. You can unlock your files when you need them and keep them locked at other times.
How Does Experian IdentityWorks Work?
Experian IdentityWorks sends you notifications if your account is at risk. However, Experian Identity Works does more than send messages to you about fraudulent activity.
CreditLock blocks people from accessing your credit reports to open new accounts. You can toggle it on and off at any time. It offers significant protection and comes with less commitment than a credit freeze.
Experian IdentityWorks offers multiple plans. You can start with their free credit monitoring services and get a 30-day free trial for one of their paid plans. In addition, you can create an account with your personal information to add an extra layer of protection to your credit.
Experian IdentityWorks Work Features
Here’s a closer look at the three-identity protection plans and what each has to offer:
- Basic: Experian credit report and FICO score, Experian credit monitoring and alerts, FICO Score tracker, FICO Score monitoring, a dark web surveillance report and a free personal privacy scan
- Premium: all the features of the Basic plan plus advanced identity theft monitoring, monthly privacy scans, the removal of your personal information from people finder sites if it’s identified during a scan, three-bureau credit monitoring and alerts, dark web internet surveillance alerts, financial account takeover alerts, Social Security number trace alerts, change of address alerts, court record alerts, booking alerts, non-credit loan alerts, sex offender registry alerts, social network monitoring alerts, identity validation alerts and daily FICO score based on Experian data
- Family: everything that Premium members get access to, plus daily Experian credit report and FICO score updates
Premium plans and family plans also include a quarterly three-bureau credit report and FICO score updates along with up to $1 million in identity theft insurance, fraud resolution support if you become a victim of identity theft, lost wallet assistance and access to the FICO Score Tracker tool offered by Experian to help you reach your credit goals faster. Plus, you can use Experian CreditLock to prevent unauthorized access to your credit profile by locking it at any time at the swipe of a button found on the online dashboard. Plus, you’ll get real-time alerts if your credit profile is unlocked and someone submits a credit application in your name.
Once you enroll, it takes up to 48 hours for Experian’s credit monitoring service to begin. There’s a four-day delay with TransUnion and Equifax monitoring, and some members will not be able to have these reports monitored during the trial period.
How Much Does Experian IdentityWorks Cost?
It depends on the plan you select. Below is the pricing structure:
- Basic: available free of charge
- Premium: $24.99 per month following a 30-day trial (includes coverage for one adult)
- Family: $34.99 per month following a 30-day trial (Includes Premium coverage for two adults and identity monitoring for up to 10 children)
All plans come with annual billing options that let you save 17% each year. You’ll only get billed once per year instead of monthly.
Can Credit Monitoring Really Prevent Fraud?
Getting early notifications about identity theft helps you address theft quickly. Credit monitoring doesn’t prevent someone from using your personal information, but you can freeze your credit account to protect against fraud. Freezing your credit account prevents you and anyone else from opening new credit with your details. In addition, you can take precautions by changing passwords to bank accounts, contacting your bank, and reporting fraud.
Becoming an identity theft victim doesn’t grant future immunity. Malicious actors frequently target prior victims. According to the 2021 Consumer Aftermath Report, 29% of identity theft victims will become victims again in the future.
Without credit monitoring and proactively reviewing your accounts, a malicious actor can open up lines of credit under your name and go undetected for years. As a result, your credit score will take a hit, possibly knocking you out of the minimum loan requirements and increasing your interest rates.
Experian IdentityWorks: Pros and Cons
Experian IdentityWorks comes with many advantages and a few cons. We’ll discuss them below.
Benefits of Experian IdentityWorks
- Affordable Plans — you can get started for as little as $9.99/mo.
- Free Trial Periods — you can try out Experian IdentityWorks before committing to monthly payments. Cancel anytime within the first 30 days to avoid paying. If you enjoy the free trial, you can keep your account and pay every month.
- Enhanced Login Security — CreditLock gives you more control over who can and can’t access your credit file.
- Identity Theft Insurance — identity theft can get expensive. Experian IdentityWorks provides you with up to $1 million in identity theft.
Experian IdentityWorks Cons
- Another Cost — you will have to account for the small monthly expense in your budget.
- Protection Is Not Guaranteed — people can still use your information. Experian IdentityWorks provides early notifications so you can limit the damage. You can also tap into Experian’s identity theft insurance to cover losses.
How is Experian IdentityWorks Different?
Experian IdentityWorks offers controls at your fingertips along with 360° monitoring and alerts. This monitoring and alert system cover many verticals to help you detect fraud. In addition, Experian CreditLock gives you more control over who can access your credit reports. Experian offers robust protection to keep you safe, and their support team can quickly answer any questions.
But if you prefer free credit monitoring, instead, you can sign up for a CreditWorks basic membership that also includes the following:
- Real-time alerts any time new credit inquiries, new accounts account balance changes, credit utilization changes, positive activity, or dormant accounts appear in your Experian credit profile
- Monthly Experian credit report updates
- Monthly FICO score updates
- FICO score tracking and score alerts
You’ll also get access to Experian Boost, a free tool that adds timely utility, video streaming service and rent payments to your Experian credit report to boost your credit score instantly.
If you’d prefer a more comprehensive credit management solution, you can upgrade to the CreditWorks Plus membership. When you sign up, you’ll get all the benefits that CreditWorks Basic members enjoy, along with the following:
- Credit monitoring for your Experian, TransUnion and Equifax reports
- Daily Experian credit report updates
- Daily Experian FICO score updates
- Monthly TransUnion credit report and FICO score updates
- Monthly Equifax credit report and FICO score updates
- Monthly industry-specific Auto, Home and Bankcard score updates
- Access to the FICO Score Simulator to determine how different actions affect your credit scores and help you reach your credit goals faster
- Experian CreditLock
- Dark web surveillance
- Lost wallet assistance
- Identity theft monitoring and alerts
- Identity theft insurance of up to $1,000,000
- Support from a U.S.-based fraud resolution specialist (if your identity is compromised)
The CreditWorks Premium membership comes with a seven-day trial followed by a monthly fee of $24.99 per month.
But if you simply want to check your most recent credit reports and scores to see where you stand and confirm you haven’t been victimized by a fraudster, you can:
- Purchase your Experian credit report and FICO score for a one-time fee of $19.99
- Purchase your three-bureau (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) credit reports and FICO Scores for a one-time fee of $39.99
Can You File Credit Report Disputes with Experian IdentityWorks?
As an IdentityWorks member, you’ll have the ability to file online disputes directly from the online dashboard. However, you’re not required to enroll in a paid program to access the Online Dispute Center. Instead, you select the button that reads, “Start a new dispute online” to move forward.
You’ll be directed to a page that requests your name, current street address, Social Security number, date of birth, phone number and email address. Once you’ve entered this information, Experian will walk you through the necessary steps to dispute inaccurate or untimely information appearing on your credit report. If you wish to file your dispute by phone or mail, you can:
- Get a free copy of your credit report by signing up for one of Experian’s free or paid membership programs, or request a free copy at 866-200-6020 and call the number listed on the document to get started
- Mail your dispute letter and supporting documents to Experian, P.O. Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013
- Upload the completed dispute form by visiting Experian.com/upload
Experian also lets you check the status of your online dispute directly from the dashboard. You can also sign in to the portal to view the outcome of a dispute you submit by phone or mail.
Be mindful that credit report errors that are on your TransUnion or Equifax report must be disputed directly with those credit reporting agencies. The information to get started is listed below:
- Online: TransUnion’s Online Dispute Service Center
- By phone: 800-916-8800
- By mail: Send a completed copy of your dispute form, letter and supporting documents to TransUnion LLC, Consumer Dispute Center, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016
- Online: Equifax’s Online Dispute Service Center
- By phone: Call 866-349-5191 or the number listed on your credit report to start the dispute process
- By mail: Fill out the dispute form, draft up your letter and mail both along with your supporting documents to Equifax Information Services LLC, P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30348
Note: If you notice fraudulent information on any of your credit reports, you can place a fraud alert on your credit report with just one of the three bureaus. They will notify the others to do the same.
Does Experian IdentityWorks Help Build Credit?
While Experian IdentityWorks doesn’t help you build credit, free or paid IdentityWorks memberships give you access to Experian Boost, a free service that can be used to level up your FICO score based on Experian data. You can also refer to the suggestions Experian offers on the member dashboard to discover ways to improve your credit score or use the FICO Score simulator if you have a paid membership.
But if you’re looking to build credit from scratch, Experian Go is also worth considering. It’s another free tool that provides tailored plans to consumers who are just starting out and want to generate a FICO Score and start building credit the right way.
Experian IdentityWorks Mobile App
Another major perk of signing up for IdentityWorks is the Experian mobile app available on AppStore and Google Play. It lets you stay on top of your credit health while on the go and manage it more effectively to meet your credit goals. You can also log in to your online dashboard in an instant and access all the benefits that come with your IdentityWorks Basic, Premium or Family membership.
Even if you haven’t yet signed up for a paid IdentityWorks or CreditWorks plan, the Experian mobile app is still worth downloading. It’s accessible free of charge on compatible Apple and Android devices, and you’ll get access to these features at the tap of a fingertip:
- Instant access to your Experian credit score that can be viewed at any time
- An updated copy of your Experian credit report every 30 days at sign in
- Experian credit monitoring
- Real-time notifications when there’s credit activity or personal information updates in your Experian credit profile
- Alerts any time hard inquiries, new credit accounts, public records or fraud alerts are added to your Experian credit report
- Credit and debt summaries that provide insight into spending patterns, credit limits and your credit utilization rate
- Access to Experian Boost to help improve your credit score through monthly bills you already pay
- Free online disputes that take just minutes to submit
You also have the option to upgrade to a paid membership directly from the mobile app and unlock even more features Experian has to offer.
Experian IdentityWorks Customer Service
If you require support from Experian, you can speak to a customer service representative by calling 1-866-617-1894. The phone lines are open Monday through Friday from 6 AM until 8 PM PST and on Saturday and Sunday from 8 AM until 5 PM PST.
How to Get Started with Experian IdentityWorks
Experian IdentityWorks notifies you about fraudulent activity and offers protection. Browse through the plans to determine what will work best for your needs. Some people create individual accounts, while others create Experian IdentityWorks accounts that cover the entire family.
You can start a free trial and enter your information. You can try out Experian IdentityWorks and cancel within 30 days to avoid getting charged. If you enjoy Experian IdentityWorks, you don’t have to do anything else after setting up your account. The next payment will automatically occur, and you’ll continue having access to Experian IdentityWork’s features. So get started with an Experian IdentityWorks free trial today.