Pros / As one of the top three credit reporting agencies in the U.S., Equifax can quickly post alerts with credit reporting agencies in cases of suspected fraud.
Cons / This fraud prevention service doesn't monitor public or criminal records for potential identity theft.
Verdict / Equifax ID Patrol doesn't cover all sources of possible identity theft, but its expertise in the financial world make it a good choice for those concerned with credit card identity theft.
Editor's Note: In July of 2017, a data breach at Equifax exposed the personal data of 143 million U.S consumers. The personal information includes Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and some drivers license numbers. A smaller number of credit card numbers were also affected. Equifax is offering a tool here to help you determine if you were affected. The FTC has provided additional recommendations here.
Equifax, one of the three largest consumer credit reporting agencies in the U.S., offers a service called ID Patrol to help protect you from identity theft. This identity theft protection service is more limited than other services we reviewed because it focuses mainly on credit card fraud prevention and doesn't monitor other personal data. For more complete identity monitoring we recommend IdentityForce or LifeLock.
When you have an ID Patrol plan through Equifax, the service monitors your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports and alerts you when it detects changes to your information. In case of suspicious activity, Equifax can easily add a fraud alert to your credit cards, which automatically carries to the other services. With these alerts, creditors must pass through an additional step in order to extend credit using your personal information. If someone has stolen your identity, this fraud alert feature can help to minimize the damages or prevent them completely. You can also set automatic identity fraud alerts on your credit report through ID Patrol.
Through this identity theft protection service, you can lock your Equifax credit report so that no one can see it. This can protect you from having someone use your information to open an unauthorized account with your data. However, this service only provides this feature for the Equifax credit report. It cannot lock reports issued by other credit monitoring services.
Equifax offers recovery assistance should someone steal your identity. The company has a trained security and recovery team that can help you work through the difficult process of restoring your credit and identity. Equifax's $1 million insurance policy helps reimburse you for any expenses incurred due to ID theft.
The website has a lot of information on identity theft, from articles covering the latest scams to informational videos on identity theft and its prevention. It also offers a risk-assessment quiz you can take.
Equifax has phone support available all day, every day. After you apply for membership, you also have exclusive access to its online member center. If you have children, you can purchase a family plan to protect the identities of your family members.
Equifax ID Patrol is an effective service for protecting your financial identity, but it doesn't monitor other personal information. Nonetheless, its experience in the financial world, particularly as one of the top credit reporting agencies in the nation, makes it a good choice for credit card fraud prevention.