Experian is one of three major credit bureaus that collect data to produce our credit reports and scores. One of the products Experian offers is ProtectMyID, an identity theft protection service. ProtectMyID will monitor your Experian credit report and other sources to detect and prevent identity theft.
ProtectMyID Identity Protection at a Glance
This product is broken down into three main components, detection, prevention and resolution.
Detection – ProtectMyID keeps its eyes peeled for any threats against your identity in a few ways. It monitors your Experian credit report daily for the 50 top indicators of identity theft such as new loans and medical records in collections. You also get one free Experian credit report when you sign up. Whenever changes are detected on your Experian report, you’ll get a notification.
ProtectMyID will also monitor the national change of address database to pick up on anyone attempting to forward your mail to their own home. It performs internet scans with your accounts and Social Security number in dark places of the web where sensitive information is bought and sold.
Prevention – If you lose your wallet, an identity theft representative can assist you in cancelling and replacing your cards. You can subscribe to the ChildSecure service as well. This service will alert you if any accounts are opened using your child’s name and Social Security number.
Resolution – ProtectMyID partners you with a fraud specialist if your identity is stolen. This specialist will guide you through the necessary steps to restore your identity including contacting the police and setting up fraud alerts for your file at all three credit bureaus.
Part of the resolution service is $1 million of identity theft insurance. This insurance will cover costs associated with reinstating your identity and, in some cases, pay you back for unauthorized electronic transfers.
Out of all the ProtectMyID services, restoration and insurance hold the most value.
The ProtectMyID $1 Million Insurance Policy
So, what exactly does this insurance policy cover?
It reimburses you for lost wages, travel expenses and elder or child care costs you incur while resolving identity theft.
Of course, there are some limits to this coverage. Here’s the breakdown:
- Lost wages – $1,500 per week, for 5 weeks maximum
- Travel expenses – $1,000 per policy period
- Elder, spouse or child care – $2,000 per policy period
Besides the expenses above, the identity theft insurance policy will cover the cost of re-filing loans, ordering medical records, notarizing documents, replacing your IDs and other expenses needed to restore your identity.
Hiring an attorney and private investigator may be covered if you choose someone to represent you approved by ProtectMyID.
In the case of unauthorized electronic transfer, the insurance policy pays out the principal amount stolen from your accounts. But, only after you seek reimbursement from your financial institution first and it’s proven that the transaction did happen because of fraud outside of your control.
The deductible for the insurance plan is $0 from the start.
The Cost of ProtectMyID
ProtectMyID costs $15.95 per month and it comes with a 14-day money back guarantee. There’s a 10% discount for adults 55 and over.
As mentioned, ProtectMyID offers you one free credit report from Experian in addition to regular monitoring. If you want another report from Experian or from any of the other two credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax, you’ll need to buy them.
(Remember, you’re also entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from www.annualcreditreport.com.)
Other Identity Theft Alternatives
Identity Guard has credit monitoring, credit reports and credit scores from all three credit bureaus, if you choose one of the two premium plans.
The very basic plan (without credit monitoring) includes database scans of your Social Security number, ID verification alerts, lost wallet protection and $1 million of identity theft insurance.
Here are the plans in detail.
- Identity Guard Essentials – $9.99 per month for identity theft victim assistance, lost wallet protection and online “black” market monitoring.
- Identity Guard Total Protection – $19.99 per month for everything in Identity Guard Essentials plus address change monitoring and 3-bureau credit report monitoring quarterly.
- Identity Guard Platinum – $24.99 per month for everything in Identity Guard Essentials plus address change monitoring and 3-bureau credit report monitoring monthly.
IdentityForce offers two plans that monitor public records and the back alley internet for your personal information. There’s also 24/7 identity restoration and $1 million of identity theft insurance.
A step beyond the basic service, the premium plan includes daily credit monitoring of all three credit bureaus along with credit reports and scores.
Here’s the breakdown of costs.
- UltraSecure+Credit – $239.50 per year or $23.95 per month
- UltraSecure – $179.50 per year or $17.95 per month
Is ProtectMyID Worth the Cost?
ProtectMyID is competitively priced compared to other identity theft protection services and the insurance coverage is a key benefit. But, ProtectMyID doesn’t monitor all three credit bureaus. This is a red flag.
Your credit reports aren’t the same across the board, so having only one credit report monitored for fraud puts you at a disadvantage. Even ProtectMyID mentions the importance of monitoring all of your credit reports on the website facts page. But, getting all of these reports on ProtectMyID will cost you money.
Identity Guard or IdentityForce are both services that will monitor all three credit bureaus for you. Or you can use a free site like Credit Karma to monitor them on your own. Credit Karma offers free reports from Equifax and TransUnion.
Keep in mind, unauthorized transactions can happen on your current accounts and that won’t get picked up on your credit reports right away. ProtectMyID is not a substitute for setting alerts on your accounts for suspicious bank and credit card activity.