Every year, about 17.6 million people in the United States experience identity theft. It may happen in several ways. For example, a criminal may hack into your computer and steal your credit card information. It may take a subtler way, too – someone dug through your trash and found your tax information along with pre-approved credit card offers. To prevent identity theft, you may want to use a protection service. Lifelock has been a very popular choice for quite a long time. Experian, the credit bureau, also has their own protection service, Identity Works. Below, we will see the pros and cons of Lifelock vs Experian Identity Works to help you choose.
Lifelock is an identity theft protection company that is based in the Tempe city of Arizona. It provides the Lifelock identity theft protection system for the customers. The system is designed to detect fraud applications for both credit and non-credit services.
Although the company’s reputation is pretty good, it has faced some issues and controversies. In 2008, it was sued by Experian for fraud and false advertising. Lifelock used to place fraud alerts on behalf of the clients, hence keeping the clients’ files constantly on alerts. To solve the issue, Lifelock changed the mechanism so that it does not rely on fraud alerts. Lifelock has also been fined in 2010 and 2015 by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) due to false advertising. It claimed to provide a 100% guarantee against all kinds of identity theft – if you are familiar with the modern technology, you should know that there is no such thing as “total protection”.
How Lifelock Works
In order to have Lifelock protect your private information, you should sign up and give the details on your social security number, birth date, and email address. Compared to other similar companies, the sign up process of Lifelock is quite simple. But it takes about 24 hours to review your application and start searching for signs of identity theft.
You should choose one of the three subscription plans, which will decide the features and price. The Lifelock Standard is the basic option which costs the lowest. The Lifelock Advantage is the intermediate option. The Lifelock Ultimate Plus is the most expensive, and it provides the highest protection levels along with one million dollars of insurance coverage. There is also another plan, Lifelock Junior, which is for children under 18 years old.
Shortly after the sign up process, you will be offered to install the antivirus protection for up to five devices. Removing malware programs from your personal devices is very important and one of the most effective ways to prevent identity theft. Lifelock will scan your accounts, credit history, and the Internet to see if someone has already stolen your identity or accessed your finance.
The Advantages of Lifelock
Lifelock continuously monitors your accounts and the Internet to detect identity theft as long as you are subscribed to the service. According to the company, Lifelock has the access to monitor more than 10,000 criminal websites where stolen data are often traded. When it detects that you are potentially a victim, it will immediately contact your credit bureaus to lock your accounts and contact the lawyers for recovery options. If you lose your money, Lifelock will reimburse the funds.
Lifelock provides 24-hour customer support. So, whenever you need some support or have to contact the company, you can reach them right away. Finally, when choosing between Lifelock vs Experian, you may want to consider that Lifelock has partnered with Norton for the antivirus protection. Norton is one of the best antivirus providers in the world.
Pros of Experian’s Identity Works
Identity Works is Experian’s direct measure to compete against Lifelock. It is available in two pricing options. Experian Identity Works Plus Plan costs $9.99 per month, and already provides essential features such as credit monitoring, Internet scans and surveillance, and daily FICO scores. Experian Identity Works Premium Plan costs $19.99 per month for credit monitoring on three bureaus and advanced alerts on address and court record changes, financial account takeover attempts, and social security number traces. Experian’s premium plan is more affordable than Lifelock Ultimate Plus.
Unlike Lifelock which can’t provide your FICO scores, Experian can show your FICO scores and notify you for changes. Considering that the FICO scores are used in most credit decisions and are directly affected by your financial transactions, including the fraud ones, this is indeed a great monitoring feature.
In addition, both Lifelock and Experian can give your credit scores from the three major bureaus. But Lifelock does this annually, whereas Experian can do it every 90 days.
The next thing to consider when choosing between Lifelock vs Experian is the fact that Experian has a greater access to monitor the dark web. It utilizes a proprietary technology to detect stolen data on more than 600,000 dark web pages, forums, and file sharing platforms. Last but not least, it has dedicated mobile apps for iOS and Android.
Cons of Experian’s Identity Works
Unfortunately, the three-bureau credit monitoring is only available for the users who subscribe to the Premium plan. If you only subscribe to the Plus plan, you can only get credit monitoring on the Experian credit bureau.
The next disadvantage of Experian’s Identity Works that people mention when choosing between Lifelock vs Experian is the lack of a live chat feature. It may feel as if it is not very responsive. If you want to report identity theft, you can go to the online Credit Fraud Center or call the automated phone line. Either way, the company will immediately add an initial security alert on your credit file.
|- The complete protection, Lifelock Ultimate Plus, is more expensive||- The complete Premium plan is more affordable|
|- Annual three-bureau credit monitoring||- Three-bureau credit monitoring every 90 days, daily FICO scores|
|- Monitors over 10,000 criminal websites, antivirus protection||- Monitors over 600,000 pages, forums, and platforms in dark web|
|- 24-hour customer support||- Monitors over 600,000 pages, forums, and platforms in dark web|
Between these two identity protection services, Experian’s Identity Works makes the better choice. It provides more protection features while at the same time being more affordable. It actively monitors the dark web and your accounts, and it can also give your FICO scores daily. On the other hand, Lifelock cannot give FICO scores and only provides annual three-bureau monitoring. But the antivirus protection and 24-hour customer support are good.