We recently tried out IDnotify’s identity monitoring services. There are a handful of things we appreciate about this popular brand, like their strong credit monitoring features and straightforward plans. It’ll certainly keep you up-to-date on threats to your identity. And you’ll even be backed by the gold-standard $1 million insurance policy. But with that said, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before choosing IDnotify. We’re sharing our full experience, right here.
We’ve tested a lot of identity monitoring services, so we always have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Of course, we want to feel like our identity and credit is safe and secure, but we’re specifically looking for a few key features: monitoring, alerts, recovery, and insurance.
Not all identity theft can be prevented (in fact, most of it can’t!). We think you should do everything you can to protect yourself from scams and security breaches, but it’s important to remember there are things you can’t control. For instance, what if your bank gets hacked? What if there’s another big breach like the one that affected Equifax in 2017? This is why we recommend ID theft monitoring.
Did You Know: The Equifax data breach potentially affected 143 million people — an incredible figure that translates to more than 40 percent of the population of the United States.1 Equifax later reached a settlement for the breach and offered identity monitoring services to those who were impacted.2
We also expect identity monitoring services like IDnotify to help us get back on our feet after an identity crime. Thankfully, IDnotify offered us insurance coverage to help with all the chores we’d have after an identity crime — chores like filing police reports, canceling credit cards, freezing our credit, and so on. Help in recovery also means insurance coverage.
Now that we know what IDnotify offers, let’s talk about how well it performs. We put IDnotify through its paces to find out how it handles monitoring, alerts, recovery, and insurance. We were curious to see how IDnotify measured up to the competition.
There are two critical things we needed to have monitored: our credit and our social security number. We were glad to see that IDnotify had us covered on both fronts. In fact, IDnotify’s top-of-the-line plan monitored our credit with all three major credit reporting bureaus.
IDnotify also gave us our credit scores. The one we received most often was our VantageScore, which measures multiple credit scores at once. Of course, we would have preferred to see our FICO score instead, as it’s more widely used. But the credit bureaus seem to like VantageScore better (it’s their own version of FICO), and since we’re dealing with Experian, VantageScore is what we got.
IDnotify’s monitoring doesn’t end there. We also enjoyed public records monitoring, which would alert us if someone tried to change our address, or if our personal information popped up in a court filing somewhere. This sort of thing happens.
IDnotify also offers social network monitoring. This feature isn’t always included with ID theft protection services, so we were impressed and eager to see how well it shored up our digital defense if you will.
We were also able to add monitoring for children and a spouse through IDnotify. This is an important point, as you’re not the only one in your household who could be targeted by identity thieves. So just remember, it can be wise to protect the whole family.
FYI: You shouldn’t worry too much: child identity theft is pretty rare. But you should be prepared. Children can be targeted by identity thieves, and monitoring can alert you when it happens. It’s a great safety net that will help you keep the future bright for your family.3
We needed to know if (or when!) IDnotify found anything suspicious while monitoring our identity. To make sure we stayed on top of things, IDnotify’s alert system notified us of any problems or concerns. But note that this is standard for the industry. We’ll break it down below.
Let’s say a fraudster got a hold of our sensitive information and tried to take out a loan in our name. It would likely hit our credit, at which point Experian IDnotify would flag it and notify us of the new activity. Crisis averted. Well, we might still have to complete those “chores” as mentioned, but at least we could jump into action, freeze our credit, and take other measures to limit the damage. That’s why instant alerts are so important. After all, knowing is half the battle.
IDnotify does well with their alerts, but we wish there had been more ways to customize how we received the alerts. By default, they appeared in the apps and also came in via email. There didn’t seem to be any way for us to change that to phone calls or text messages. So that was a little disappointing.
On the other hand, we liked that we were able to customize the activity that triggered the alerts in the first place. That is, we could set what kind of changes to our VantageScore would lead to an alert. Not every brand offers this, so IDnotify earns some points here.
With our IDnotify monitoring and alerts, we were confident that we’d hear about identity theft incidents fast. But we’ve been doing this a long time, and we know that all the monitoring in the world won’t save us from being victimized — remember, the point here is early detection. With that in mind, we wanted to know what IDnotify would do to help us if we fell victim to a criminal’s schemes.
Thankfully, we were happy with the answers. IDnotify offers 24/7 assistance in the event of an identity incident. We could count on them for help with all of those painstaking chores that come in the wake of an identity crime. If you ever have your identity stolen, we think you’ll really appreciate having a recovery team in your corner, ready and willing to help you get back to “normal.” We think IDnotify measures up to the competition very well as far as recovery goes.
We also appreciated IDnotify’s insurance coverage, although we found it to be pretty standard for the industry. Most ID theft protection services offer $1 million in coverage, and IDnotify met that standard. If needed, we’d be able to use that money to cover stolen funds, lawyer fees, and other expenses and losses.
However, you should note that IDnotify has fine print here, like caps on money allotted for specific categories. But we think you’ll find that IDnotify offers similar terms as competitors like Complete ID, ID Watchdog, and others. There are several things set identity monitoring services apart, but when it comes to insurance, you can assume that they’re all pretty much the same.
We believe that monitoring and recovery services should be a given with any service worth its salt. With that said, we like to see services go above and beyond. So we were glad to see that IDnotify packaged a few nice bonus features into the deal.
For instance, they offered us “lost wallet services.” We’re pretty familiar with this offshoot feature, and the truth is, we’re always happy to see it. With lost wallet protection, we give IDnotify a rundown of what’s in our wallet. Then, if our wallet is ever lost or stolen, they will help in canceling and re-issuing things like government IDs and credit cards. We like the peace of mind we get here.
IDnotify also included some features that made its credit tracking more useful for personal finance goals. One feature we particularly liked was the “credit score simulator.” This helpful tool showed us what might happen to our credit in various situations and scenarios.
Pro Tip: Credit monitoring is good for more than just identity protection. Consider using your credit monitoring service for personal finance goals, too! Tracking your credit can help keep you heading in the right direction. Pay your bills on time, use credit cards responsibly, and improve your credit score over time for a more secure financial future.
We knew that our credit score would suffer if we missed credit card payments, and we know that keeping low balances and paying our bills was good for our credit, but this tool helped us see how much the numbers actually move in different situations. It demystifies credit scores, which can be a mysterious thing to wrap your head around (with three different major bureaus, lots of factors, and a strange scale of 300 to 850, there’s a lot for you to get tripped up on).4
Between the score simulator and the credit scores, IDnotify did a pretty good job of making its credit monitoring useful from a personal finance perspective. We think you’ll find that this service is useful for more than just identity theft protection.
We had a choice of three plans with IDnotify: Essential, Select, and Premier.
The Essential Plan costs $9.99 per month and includes the following features:
The Select Plan runs $17.99 per month and includes the following features:
Everything in the Essential plan, plus:
The Premier Plan costs $25.99 per month and offers the most comprehensive protection, including:
Everything in the Select Plan, plus:
Note that you can also add child monitoring to any plan for $5.99 per month. Again, we recommend this add-on if you have little ones in your home.
If you’re anything like us, you like to save money; but we don’t think you’ll want to go with IDnotify’s cheapest plan. Sure, we think $10 per month is a great deal for identity monitoring, but the Essential plan is incomplete. It’s missing credit monitoring, and credit monitoring is a big reason why we recommend signing up for protection in the first place. Another incredibly cheap service, Zander Insurance, doesn’t offer credit monitoring at all, but they excel in other areas.
We think the price of the mid-tier Select plan is decent, but we think you’ll be better off with three-bureau coverage from the top-tier plan. Remember, there’s no guarantee that all three bureaus get the same information.5 The only way to get all of the information yourself is to track all three. And the only option that IDnotify has to cover all three bureaus is the Premier plan.
Pro Tip: We love a good customer experience as much as anyone, but note that most ID theft protection services offer the same basic functions. That’s why price is a very important factor!
In our experience, the Premier Plan is a little pricey for what’s included. It’s about what we’d expect to pay for a top brand like LifeLock (and with LifeLock we’d get Norton 360 antivirus protection, too). We think that LifeLock and several other top identity monitoring services simply offer us better value at this price point.
We weren’t too thrown off by IDnotify’s price for child monitoring, but we’ve seen some companies include it for free. It’s worth mentioning that we couldn’t find any information on how many kids are protected at $5.99 per month (we certainly hope the price isn’t per child, as that would be way too much).
Overall, we weren’t blown away by the pricing and value here. We think it’s worth paying a little extra for good identity monitoring, but we don’t want you to pay any more than you need to. Overall, IDnotify is pretty solid, but there are better deals out there.
We had a mixed experience with IDnotify. We found the service easy to use in some ways, but it was limited in others. We also encountered a problem or two, which we think you should know about.
The big issue we had with IDnotify came when we were signing up. After we paid IDnotify and gave the service some identifying information, they took a moment to check our identity. It didn’t work. Instead of gaining access to our new account, we received an error message.
This repeated when we re-loaded the page. We tried a different browser and received another error message (a different one, which was strange). Thankfully, we got a confirmation email from IDnotify, so at that point, we knew we were signed up, but we still couldn’t access our account.
We tried the mobile app, too, and got the same result. As far as we could tell, our payment had gone through but our service was unusable. We found this to be quite frustrating.
We promptly called IDnotify to get some answers. We were on hold for about 10 minutes before a customer service representative, who was polite and professional, came on the line. However, she wasn’t able to help us. She told us to wait 72 hours and try again. Not good.
So we waited 72 hours and logged in again. That worked fine — until we tried to access the mobile app, and experienced the same problem all over again. At this point, IDnotify was really losing ground with us.
We kept trying and continued calling customer service, but we never did get into the mobile app. Our issue was sent to tech support, and then the trail went cold. Needless to say, this cost IDnotify some points in our book. We don’t expect a perfect experience, but we like to get what we pay for. So this is something to bear in mind.
We’ve researched and tested IDnotify before, so we can tell you that their mobile app worked well at one point. Unfortunately, we were not able to test it this time around, though. We think you should be aware of IDnotify’s issues when it comes to user experience.
If you can get into IDnotify’s apps, we think you’ll find them pretty straightforward. The web app wasn’t the sleekest interface we’ve ever seen, but we think that you’ll find it works well enough for most purposes. We liked that the web app included a “credit simulator” that showed us how our credit score might be affected by various things, both good (paying off all our credit card balances) and bad (letting credit card debt carry over month to month).
We were looking to IDnotify to monitor our identity, alert us to suspicious activity, and offer us recovery and insurance money if we were ever victimized. And we have to say, IDnotify covers the basics pretty well. But again, we were not impressed with the user experience. We also feel that the different plans offer mediocre value at their current prices and that the cheapest plan option is simply too limited.
We think you’ll be much better off with IDnotify than having no monitoring in place. But we also think that IDnotify doesn’t quite compare to its industry competitors. We suggest taking a look at other options before you decide. In particular, we recommend checking out Identity Guard, LifeLock, and IdentityForce.
CSO Online. Fruhlinger, J. (2020, February 12). Equifax data breach FAQ: What happened, who was affected, what was the impact?
Federal Trade Commission. (2020, January). Equifax Data Breach Settlement.
Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information. (Retrieved May 13, 2020). Child Identity Theft.
Los Angeles Times. Weston, L. (2019, August 1). This is why credit scores are so confusing.
Self.inc. (Retrieved May 20, 2020). Why Do I Have Three Different Credit Scores?