That feeling you get when your big brother steps in to protect you at the playground. That’s what it’s like having ProtectMyID in your corner. This monitoring service is owned by Experian, who just so happens to have access to billions of data sources and credit info galore. So from our experience, ProtectMyID can go a long way in protecting you from identity thieves.
We tested out this service, and we think you’ll enjoy features like three-bureau credit monitoring, social network monitoring, SSN monitoring, dark web surveillance, and more. While the sign-up process could be easier, this service might be a good fit for you. We’re sharing everything you need to know about ProtectMyID. So let’s dig in!
ProtectMyID is an identity monitoring service, meaning that it keeps track of our personal information like our credit files and social security number. If someone were to commit identity fraud with our private information, ProtectMyID would detect it and notify us right away. This allows us to jump into action and limit the damage.
We’d also get help freezing and canceling accounts, reporting the problem to authorities, and so on. On top of all of this, we would enjoy a bit of a bailout (up to $1 million in coverage) thanks to the identity theft insurance policy included in our ProtectMyID subscription.
If you’re tracking, this is all good news, and it’s why we recommend that you sign up with an identity protection service of some kind. That said, you have lots of options, which is why we have tested and reviewed dozens (and dozens!) of identity monitoring services. So… what makes ProtectMyID different and worth your consideration?
First off, you should know that ProtectMyID is backed by Experian and AAA. Experian is one of the three major credit bureaus that tracks loans, credit card use, and other financial activity. Experian and the other two major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax and TransUnion) use certain intel to issue credit reports and credit scores. This is the same intel/information that we want to monitor — you know, things like new loan applications and notices for collections. The sooner we see something suspicious, the sooner we can take action. So we think Experian is well suited for this business.
So what about AAA? And where do they fit in? Well, as you probably know, the American Automobile Association (AAA) is a national “motor club” with over 60 million members. If you have AAA, then you know that they offer different perks to their members that have nothing to do with cars. So we don’t think you’ll find it too surprising that they’re offering ID theft coverage with ProtectMyID.
ProtectMyID is Experian’s exclusive monitoring option for AAA members. If you’re not a AAA member, you may want to check out Experian IdentityWorks, which is the Experian monitoring option available to anyone. Note that Experian also has a special service that it offers to Costco members. It’s called CompleteID, and we’ve tested and reviewed that one, too.
We don’t think there are huge differences between these services, and we’ll talk about that in just a bit. But you should remember that ProtectMyID is just one of Experian’s identity monitoring options, and that it’s only available for AAA members.
With that said, the question remains: Does ProtectMyID have what it takes to become one of our favorite identity monitoring services? Let’s dig into the features and services to find out.
When looking at services and features, we’re looking for the all-important basics like identity monitoring, alerts, recovery services, and insurance. ProtectMyID has all of these bases covered. We’ll break it down by category below.
ProtectMyID’s main job was to monitor our identity. We thought it did a pretty good job with that.
We think two types of monitoring are absolutely essential: credit monitoring and social security number monitoring. Credit monitoring is a big one, as it helps us catch credit checks, new loans, and other signs of fraud. And social security monitoring entails looking for our social security number in places where it shouldn’t be, like in public records and on the internet (including the Dark Web). It’s not foolproof, but we think SSN monitoring is the most important type of protection to have other than credit monitoring.
FYI: Generally speaking, you shouldn’t expect a monitoring plan to actually prevent identity theft. Rather, they are geared more for early detection. But there are times when they’ll provide the information you need in order to act preemptively. For instance, if you change your password after a data breach, you really could prevent an identity crime before it happens!
Of course, we have more personal data to worry about than just our financial history and social security numbers. But don’t worry, ProtectMyID offers all sorts of monitoring, and we think you’ll be pretty pleased with these plans overall.
ProtectMyID also tracked our email addresses. We think it’s extremely important for you to know if (or when!) your email is compromised in a big data breach. You don’t necessarily have to get a new email address if this happens, but you should definitely change your passwords and be on high alert for phishing attempts.1
We had ProtectMyID on the lookout for change-of-address requests and other matters of public record. We could add other things to be monitored, too, including our credit cards, bank accounts, and driver’s licenses. We liked that ProtectMyID let us track up to 10 credit cards and 10 bank accounts (that’s ten of each) at the same time.
ProtectMyID’s high-end package even included social media monitoring, credit limit alerts, sex offender registry monitoring, and child monitoring. These are all important things to have covered. We think you’ll rest a little easier if you have a service like ProtectMyID on the job.
You can also get child monitoring as an add-on to ProtectMyID’s middle-tier package (see our section on pricing below). Child identity theft is very rare, but it’s certainly not unheard-of.2 Since signing up with child identity monitoring is pretty cheap and easy, we recommend that you cover the kiddos just in case.
We were fairly confident that ProtectMyID would spot identity threats and fraud. But we wanted to see where we were vulnerable, too. Thankfully, the service made sure that we had the full picture by sending us instant alerts. And we could view our ProtectMyID alerts at any time within the web app. We also got a heads-up by email whenever a new alert came in.
We didn’t see any way to tweak our alerts settings, though. We thought that was a shame. So if you want to get your alerts by text message, you may want to look at a different service. Mobile push notifications weren’t an option, either, because we didn’t get a mobile app in the deal (we’ll talk more about this in our section on our user experience).
There also didn’t seem to be a way for us to turn off certain alerts, which we think could become annoying. For example, an alert about a sex offender a mile away is a much bigger deal if you live on a big ranch in Texas than it is if you live in downtown Chicago. We wish that ProtectMyID allowed us to change alert settings to match our living situation and preferences.
We hope you never fall victim to the schemes of a fraudster or identity thief. With this in mind, we recommend that you follow some basic tips and best practices to reduce your identity theft risk. With a service like ProtectMyID, you just might get the early warning you need to stop a criminal in his (or her!) tracks.
Pro Tip: One great way to protect yourself is to be smart about your passwords. Use complex passwords, change them often (experts suggest as often as once a month), and never use the same password for multiple accounts.3 If that sounds like a lot of work, consider getting a secure password manager to simplify matters.
At the end of the day, though, you can only do so much. We think it’s important to remember that there’s no foolproof way to prevent identity theft. That’s why we recommend services like ProtectMyID. They’ll help you act fast, minimize damage, and, above all, recover in the aftermath of an identity theft disaster.
Recovering from identity theft can be rough. There are a lot of chores to do, including notifying the authorities, canceling and replacing credit cards, freezing credit files, correcting and disputing credit data, and more. So we appreciated knowing that ProtectMyID would be there to help us when it mattered most. Identity theft is always stressful, but it can be a lot less miserable if you have monitoring and recovery services on your side.
We also think you should remember that identity theft often costs money (and sometimes LOTS of money). It’s theft, after all. But to make matters worse, our expenses wouldn’t stop with the actual theft of our money. During the recovery process, we might also end up on the hook for big bills from lawyers, accountants, and other professional service providers.
This doesn’t mean you should panic. The truth is that most identity theft victims don’t actually end up losing money.4 These lucky ones avoid paying the steep costs because the fraud is flagged by their credit card companies, their banks, etc. But… you shouldn’t leave it up to your bank or credit card company to protect you. That’s why we always recommend that you put an insurance policy to work for you. You may not need it, but if you do, it could pay off in dividends.
ProtectMyID and services like it are quite helpful in this department. We’re used to seeing a cool million bucks in coverage. And ProtectMyID was no exception. Speaking of exceptions, it’s worth mentioning that insurance policies like these always have caps on certain types of expenses. Sure, you can be reimbursed for up to a million dollars, but don’t expect to spend half a million on accountant fees alone. So we recommend reading the fine print before signing up.
ProtectMyID can come with or without insurance. In our opinion, it’s not worth paying for identity monitoring without insurance. Thankfully, ProtectMyID’s plan without insurance is actually free. Still, we recommend that you spring for a paid plan with insurance if you want comprehensive protection. Insurance coverage is all the rage for a reason.
We care the most about monitoring, alerts, recovery, and insurance, but that doesn’t mean that we’ll turn down bonus features. ProtectMyID offered us a few extra perks. One perk was “Lost Wallet Protection.”
Lost Wallet Protection is a feature we see a lot, and we were glad to see it here. With this feature, we can tell ProtectMyID what’s in our wallet. Then, if our wallet ever ends up lost or stolen, we can get in touch with our identity pros to quickly cancel and replace our important documents, credit cards, identifications, etc. We think this is a nice little safeguard.
Enrolling in ProtectMyID also gave us our VantageScore. If you’re not familiar with VantageScores, they’re basically the credit bureaus’ own version of FICO.5 We would rather have seen our FICO score, since it’s the more widely used of the two scores. But something is better than nothing, so we were still glad to see our VantageScore.
Did You Know: You have a lot of credit scores! The three major bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) each keep a separate file on you. Credit scores can be determined using a formula like the famous FICO method. But a FICO score can be based on all three bureaus or just one, depending on the situation.6 Since you don’t know which bureau(s) will end up sharing their data with your lender the next time you apply for a loan, we think it’s wise to keep track of your reports and scores with all three bureaus.
One thing we really liked was the credit score graph in ProtectMyID’s web app. We like when services like this double as personal finance tools. If they’re looking at our credit scores anyway, why not give us some financial tools and tips? We think ProtectMyID does a pretty good job in this category, especially compared to the competition.
Our ProtectMyID app also told us how many alerts went out to people in our area. We’re not sure what makes this information particularly useful, though. Perhaps they’re just bragging or trying to build trust. At any rate, we don’t think you’ll have much use for this feature. But it’s easy enough to ignore.
Price and value matter to us when it comes to identity theft protection. A lot of these services are fairly similar, so we always like to see some difference-making deals! Unfortunately, ProtectMyID is a weird case in this category, as it’s an exclusive offer for AAA members only.
If you happen to be an AAA member, we think there are some pretty good savings to be had here. And there’s certainly no reason to skip coverage entirely, as the most basic ProtectMyID plan is free (you don’t get much cheaper than free). Let’s take a look at your options.
ProtectMyID Essential plan is free and includes the following features:
ProtectMyID Deluxe costs $10.95 per month and includes everything included in the Essential plan, plus:
ProtectMyID Platinum costs $15.95 per month and includes everything in the Deluxe and Essential plans, plus:
A few things here really impressed us. First, we love that there’s a free option that includes credit monitoring. It doesn’t have all three bureaus, social security number monitoring, or insurance coverage. But free is free — for AAA members, anyway.
Pro Tip: These services aren’t bulletproof. But the more extensive your coverage is, the safer you’ll be. That’s why we recommend looking for three-bureau coverage and comprehensive insurance policies in any identity monitoring service you’re considering.
But again, we think you’ll want that insurance coverage, social security number monitoring, and three-bureau coverage. You can get all of this for a little over $10 per month with the Deluxe plan. Not bad.
In our experience, the Deluxe plan seems like a sweet spot in value. This price is actually very low for a product that checks all of our important boxes (credit and social security number monitoring, recovery services, and insurance).
The top-of-the-line Platinum plan is pretty well priced, too. It’s a particularly good option for families since it includes child identity monitoring. Of course, you can add child identity monitoring to the mid-tier Deluxe Plan, but that brings your price up pretty close to what you’d be paying for the Platinum option anyway. So if you have kids, we recommend considering the Platinum deal.
Now, remember that you can only get these deals if you’re a card-carrying member of AAA. So what if you’re not an AAA member? Well, you probably wouldn’t have read this far. But, we don’t think you should run out and get an AAA membership just to sign up with ProtectMyID. Identity theft protection plans typically cost $20-$30 per month, so you should have no problem finding a budget-friendly service.
We’re pretty familiar with ProtectMyID’s parent company, Experian. They have an identity monitoring service called IdentityWorks. They also have a separate identity product called CompleteID, which is only for Costco members.
Pro Tip: Looking for an Experian identity monitoring deal that’s open to folks who aren’t AAA or Costco members? If so, we recommend checking out Experian IdentityWorks.
So how did we like ProtectMyID’s version of the Experian experience? Well, we had some mixed feelings. We were pretty happy with the web app. But we were disappointed to find that there was no mobile app.
CompleteID and IdentityWorks both have mobile apps, so we expected to have on-the-go monitoring with ProtectMyID, too. We think it’s nice to have a mobile app with push notifications enabled. That way you’ll see any important alerts that come in while you’re out and about. Not having a mobile app isn’t a dealbreaker for us — but this is something to bear in mind. For this reason, we think ProtectMyID lags behind Experian’s other offerings in this category.
On the other hand, ProtectMyID’s web app was pretty straightforward. We found it well-organized and very easy to navigate. It could have been a bit simpler, but we were pretty happy with it overall. We particularly liked the credit monitoring dashboard, which included a helpful graph of our credit scores.
We found that ProtectMyID felt a lot like Experian’s other identity monitoring options. To us, that’s mostly a good thing. This is a very solid service that will keep you covered for all of the monitoring and recovery basics that we recommend.
We think that ProtectMyID offers pretty good value if you’re an AAA member. But if you’re not already a member, we don’t think that you should sign up just to get identity monitoring. The savings aren’t all that mind-blowing.
For the non-AAA members out there, we have a few suggestions. In our opinion, the very best identity monitoring services are a cut above ProtectMyID. So, while we think you’ll be happy with ProtectMyID, we suggest checking out the competition, too. Thankfully you have plenty of cheap and free options to shore up your defenses and protect yourself against fraudsters of all stripes.
Tripwire.com. Bisson, D. (2019, October 7). 6 Common Phishing Attacks and How to Protect Against Them.
Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information. (Retrieved May 13, 2020). Child Identity Theft.
LastPass. Gott, A. (2018, August 14). How Often Should You Change Your Password?
How Stuff Works. Roos, D. Retrieved May 27, 2020. How Credit Monitoring Works.
Experian. DeNicola, L. (2019, May 15). The Difference Between VantageScore Scores and FICO Scores.
TransUnion. Retrieved May 26, 2020. What Is a Credit Score?