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Is ID Watchdog Worth It? What To Know Before You Buy

ID Watchdog offers one of the best insurance policies in the industry — but its lack of digital security and questionable data policies are problematic.

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      How Does ID Watchdog Compare to Other Options?

      Last year, more Americans were victims of credit card, loan, and bank fraud than any other type of scam — highlighting the fact that credit monitoring is an essential tool for financial safety [*]. 

      ID Watchdog is an identity theft protection service that places special emphasis on financial and credit protection, thanks to its partnership with Equifax (one of the three major credit bureaus). But is it good enough to keep you safe? 

      ID Watchdog’s connection to Equifax is a double-edged sword: while you get reliable credit monitoring, you’re also placing your trust in a company that was fined more than $575 million for failing to protect customer data [*].    

      Choosing an identity theft protection service is an important decision.

      In this guide, we review ID Watchdog’s key features, plans, and pricing structure, as well as any downsides that you should know about before becoming a customer. 


      ID Watchdog Review: Pros and Cons, and How It Keeps You Safe

      The ID Watchdog homepage showing a father playing with his child and a title that reads “No one is immune to identity theft”

      ID Watchdog is a consumer identity theft protection service owned by Equifax, with an emphasis on credit monitoring. Founded in 2005, ID Watchdog has been recognized as a leader in identity theft detection and resolution by Javelin Strategy & Research [*].

      The main benefits of using ID Watchdog are its multi-bureau credit lock, integrated credit report fraud alerts, and $1 million insurance policy for losses sustained from employer-sponsored retirement and health savings accounts (HSAs).

      This coverage is offered in addition to $1 million in standard identity theft protection, making ID Watchdog’s insurance policy one of the most generous on the market.

      While ID Watchdog’s Premium plan offers a decent level of protection, Equifax as a company has a history of data breaches. In 2017, Equifax suffered a massive data breach that exposed the personal information of 147 million people [*]. This, and other security issues, might make you feel uneasy about becoming a member.

      If you’re considering investing in ID Watchdog, here are some of the main benefits and drawbacks that you should keep in mind:

      ID Watchdog pros
      ID Watchdog cons
      Multi-bureau credit lock (on Premium plan).
      Only one-bureau credit monitoring (Equifax) on Select plan.
      Additional $1 million coverage for 401(k) and HSA stolen funds (Premium plan only).
      Equifax (the owner of ID Watchdog) has a history of data breaches and security issues.
      Daily credit scores using the VantageScore® model (one bureau only).
      More expensive than many other ID theft protection providers (with fewer features).
      Includes several features to protect children, including identity monitoring, Safe Browsing tools, Equifax child credit monitoring, and insurance.
      Family plans only cover members residing in the same household.

      All ID Watchdog plans come equipped with Dark Web monitoring, one-bureau credit monitoring and scores from Equifax, and other identity theft protection features. However, the more expensive Premium plan provides additional protection, with three-bureau credit monitoring and more insurance coverage.

      Now, let’s dive deeper into the features you get when you subscribe to an ID Watchdog plan:

      Identity monitoring

      ID Watchdog monitors the Dark Web, public records, data breach notifications, and more for your personal information. You’ll also get warned if anyone tries to submit a change-of-address request for your home address.

      ID Watchdog’s identity monitoring includes:

      • Subprime loan monitoring. If your Social Security number (SSN) is used to apply for a payday, high-cost installment, or rent-to-own loan, you’ll receive an alert from ID Watchdog.
      • Dark Web monitoring. Along with your SSN and email addresses, you can input additional information for ID Watchdog to scan on the Dark Web — such as your driver’s license, credit cards, and bank account numbers.
      • National Provider ID alerts. If you’re a healthcare provider, ID Watchdog monitors the National Provider ID database for any changes associated with your NPI number.
      • Public records monitoring. ID Watchdog scans billions of public records, including the sex offender registry, to search for names and addresses associated with your identity.
      • United States Postal Service (USPS) change-of-address monitoring. If criminals try to change your address in order to redirect your mail, ID Watchdog should warn you.

      What you need to know: Equifax (and ID Watchdog) keep your data — even after you stop being a customer. This includes your SSN, credit history, and more. If you’re worried about this data being leaked or stolen, you might want to skip ID Watchdog and choose an alternative.

      Credit monitoring (one or three-bureau)

      ID Watchdog monitors your credit reports and provides alerts about new accounts or credit inquiries. However, the level of credit protection you get largely depends on whether you choose the Select or Premium plan.

      ID Watchdog’s credit monitoring includes:

      • One or three-bureau credit monitoring. On the Select plan, you get one-bureau monitoring with Equifax. Premium customers get credit monitoring with all three major bureaus — Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
      • Equifax credit reports and scores. You get access to your Equifax credit report and can refresh it either monthly (Select plan) or daily (Premium plan). You can review the changes over time via ID Watchdog’s credit score tracker.
      • Credit report lock. ID Watchdog provides an easy way to lock and unlock access to your credit files via its mobile app or website. You get either one-bureau (Equifax) or multi-bureau (Equifax and TransUnion) locking, depending on your plan.

      What you need to know: With only one-bureau monitoring, ID Watchdog’s Select plan offers very little protection. Fraudulent activity that shows up on your Experian and TransUnion credit reports will go undetected unless you monitor them manually — defeating the purpose of investing in a credit report monitoring tool.

      Financial account protection

      Fraudsters are almost always financially motivated. ID Watchdog can monitor your linked bank accounts — including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, investments, and other financial accounts. 

      You’ll receive alerts about your account balances, transactions, and other signs of fraudulent activity.

      What you need to know: ID Watchdog provides customizable financial alerts to keep your cash and investments safe. However, it’s not immediately clear how fast these alerts are sent. Financial account monitoring is also unavailable to Select plan customers.


      Social account monitoring

      When you sign up for ID Watchdog, you can link your social media accounts for monitoring. You’ll receive notifications of potential cyberbullying or damaging information found online about you or your family.

      ID Watchdog’s social account monitoring includes:

      • Monitoring on many popular social media platforms. ID Watchdog can monitor your Facebook, Instagram, X (Twitter), LinkedIn, and YouTube accounts. You can also choose to monitor your children’s accounts if you’re subscribed to a family plan.
      • Social account takeover alerts. ID Watchdog claims to be able to alert you within minutes if unusual social media account activity is detected.

      What you need to know: The social media monitoring features that ID Watchdog offers are valuable — but they’re only available on the Premium plan. Additionally, while the service covers many of the most popular social media websites, newer platforms like TikTok aren’t included.

      VPN and password manager

      ID Watchdog comes with a small selection of digital security tools to keep you safe while you browse and shop online — but only on the Premium plan. These tools can prevent your information from being intercepted, as well as safeguard your passwords.

      ID Watchdog’s digital security includes:

      • Personal virtual private network (VPN). ID Watchdog provides a NordVPN account that allows you to access the internet securely on up to six devices at once.
      • Password manager. ID Watchdog’s password manager allows you to store and sync your passwords across devices. It also helps you create more complex password combinations that would be difficult for hackers to crack.

      What you need to know: ID Watchdog offers several online security tools, but they’re only available on its most expensive plan. Aura, in comparison, includes a full suite of digital security tools on all plans.

      Child credit score monitoring and lock

      You can upgrade either of ID Watchdog’s plans to a family plan that covers up to four children. You’ll be able to monitor your children’s Social Security numbers, and will receive alerts if credit files exist or are created under their identities — one of the first telltale signs of child identity theft.

      What ID Watchdog’s credit monitoring for children includes:

      • Equifax child credit monitoring. On family plans, ID Watchdog scans the Equifax credit database for your child’s SSN.
      • Child Credit Lock. With ID Watchdog, you can activate a Child Credit Lock through Equifax. This feature creates and subsequently locks an Equifax credit report in your child’s name to prevent lenders from being able to access it.

      What you need to know: ID Watchdog claims to offer more features that help protect minors than any other identity theft protection provider. However, its child credit monitoring service and credit lock are only for Equifax.

      Up to $1 million in identity theft insurance

      ID Watchdog’s insurance policy covers you in the event that your identity is stolen while using the service. The company offers $1 million in coverage on both plans. This includes stolen funds reimbursement for certain fraudulent transfers from your checking, savings, and money market accounts.

      Recovery services and customer care are also strong suits for ID Watchdog. In addition to insurance, the company offers fully managed identity restoration with its certified resolution experts.

      What you need to know: ID Watchdog provides $1 million in insurance coverage on both of its plans. This is industry-standard coverage, in line with many other identity protection providers.

      Extra 401(k) and HSA stolen funds reimbursement

      In addition to basic identity theft insurance, ID Watchdog provides $1 million in coverage if a scammer gains access to your retirement, health savings accounts, and employee stock option plans.

      What ID Watchdog’s 401(k) and HSA insurance coverage includes:

      • Employer-sponsored retirement plans. This includes 401(k) accounts, 403(b) accounts, IRA accounts, and Roth accounts.
      • Health savings accounts. This includes flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).

      What you need to know. ID Watchdog is one of the only identity theft providers in the industry that offers this kind of insurance coverage. For individuals with significant savings through their employers, ID Watchdog is definitely a service to consider.

      How Much Does ID Watchdog Cost? What Plan Is Best?

      ID Watchdog offers a very limited “Select” plan, which only provides one-bureau credit monitoring, Dark Web monitoring, and identity theft insurance and customer support.

      At $14.95/month, even ID Watchdog’s starter plan is more expensive than some of the best identity theft protection services out there that offer more features and protection.

      Both the Select and Premium plans are for individuals, with the option to upgrade to a family plan. If you have family members that you want to protect, pricing can go all the way up to $34.95/month for monthly plans. (Note: If you sign up for an annual plan, you’ll receive a small discount).

      Here’s a breakdown of ID Watchdog’s pricing, and how its plans protect you:

      Key features
      ID Watchdog Select
      One-bureau credit monitoring and scores (Equifax), subprime loan monitoring, Dark Web monitoring, high-risk transaction monitoring, $1 million insurance, and fully managed identity resolution.
      ID Watchdog Premium
      Includes all features available on the Select plan, plus:
      • Two-bureau credit lock (Equifax and TransUnion)
      • Three-bureau credit monitoring
      • Integrated fraud alerts
      • Financial account monitoring
      • Social account monitoring
      • Password manager and Safe Browsing tools
      Family plans
      $23.95 – $34.95/month
      Includes all features available on individual Select or Premium plans. Covers up to two adults and four children residing at the same address.
      🥇 Identity theft protection doesn’t have to be complicated (or costly!) Aura’s all-in-one intelligent safety app provides stronger protection, faster alerts, and better value than ID Watchdog. Try Aura free for 14 days and see why it’s been rated #1 by Forbes,, and more.

      Who Can Benefit the Most From Using ID Watchdog?

      Compared to other identity theft protection services, ID Watchdog places more of an emphasis on monitoring your credit than protecting you online.

      You should consider choosing ID Watchdog if:

      • You have significant savings or retirement funds that you want to protect. ID Watchdog is one of the only identity theft protection options that offers dedicated 401(k) and HSA stolen funds reimbursement. If you have significant savings to protect, this could be a selling point for you.
      • You’re willing to pay more to get three-bureau credit monitoring. On its cheapest Select plan, ID Watchdog only offers one-bureau monitoring with Equifax. If you want monitoring with all three major credit bureaus, you’ll need to upgrade to the Premium plan.
      • You have children you want to protect. You can set up social account monitoring, Dark Web monitoring, subprime loan and credit blocks, and other features for up to four children with ID Watchdog.

      What Are the Downsides of Using ID Watchdog?

      Even though ID Watchdog has some unique selling points that set it apart from other identity theft protection plans, it’s not without its downsides.

      Before you sign up for ID Watchdog’s identity theft protection, consider these issues:

      • Security and data privacy concerns from Equifax. Equifax, the owner of ID Watchdog, has a history of serious security breaches [*]. Equifax also keeps your data even after you stop being an ID Watchdog customer — meaning your information could remain at risk.
      • Very limited protection on the more affordable Select plan. ID Watchdog’s Select plan offers one-bureau monitoring, Dark Web monitoring, and identity theft insurance coverage and support. This plan is pricier than many competing plans (offering better features), and leaves you vulnerable in several key areas.
      • Only basic digital security and online scam protection. ID Watchdog partners with NordVPN to offer VPN protection to its customers. It also includes a password manager, but no other tools to help shield you and your family from scams and phishing online. Its VPN and password manager are only available to customers on the expensive Premium plan.
      • Family plans only cover individuals in the same household. ID Watchdog’s family plans only cover individuals who live at your residence, so you won’t be able to protect elderly family members or adult children who live in different households. Additionally, ID Watchdog doesn’t cover as many individuals on its family plans as competitors like Aura and Identity Guard.

      The bottom line: ID Watchdog’s Premium plan offers a good level of protection for your identity and finances — but at a higher price than some of the other top identity theft protection providers available in 2024.

      Why You Should Consider Aura as an ID Watchdog Alternative

      Compared to modern identity theft protection providers, ID Watchdog is lacking in some critical areas. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives that offer similar (or better) protection with fewer downsides.

      Aura is a comprehensive identity theft and digital security solution for individuals and families. Every plan comes with award-winning identity monitoring, three-bureau credit monitoring with the industry’s fastest fraud alerts3, 24/7 White Glove Fraud Resolution support, and a full suite of digital security tools.

      While Aura is a relatively new player in the market, it has already won accolades for its modern take on identity protection. Aura has been rated #1 by, TechRader,, and more.

      ID Watchdog
      Starts at $14.95/month for the limited Select plan.
      Starts at $12/month for a fully-featured individual plan.
      Only includes one-bureau credit monitoring, reports, and scores on Select plan.
      Three-bureau credit monitoring and financial transaction alerts are standard on all plans.
      Limited device protection.
      Provides comprehensive built-in digital security for 10 devices, including antivirus software, VPN, Safe Browsing tools, AI-powered spam call protection, and more.
      Family safety is limited to child credit monitoring.
      All family plans include award-winning parental controls and family safety features that cover five adults and unlimited children.
      No user reviews on Trustpilot.
      4.7 stars on Trustpilot – rated #1 by, Forbes, TechRadar, and more.
      No free trial.
      14-day free trial and 60-day money-back guarantee.

      Compared head-to-head, it’s clear that Aura offers more features at a more affordable price.

      Here’s why you should choose Aura over ID Watchdog:

      • Faster fraud alerts. Aura not only monitors your credit and financial accounts — it also alerts you to credit and identity fraud or suspicious activity faster than any other service. According to a 2022 mystery shopper survey, Aura’s credit fraud alerts were up to 250x faster than those of competitors3.
      • AI-powered digital security features. With Aura, you get access to powerful antivirus software, VPN, password manager, and Safe Browsing tools. Aura’s AI-powered Smart Network spots and blocks risky websites, spam messages and calls, and other online threats in real-time.
      • Better support (that’s available when you need it). If you become a victim of identity theft or fraud, you’ll get access to Aura’s dedicated team of U.S.-based White Glove Fraud Resolution Specialists. They’re available 24/7 to help you navigate the challenges that come with restoring your identity.
      • More comprehensive family protection with more insurance coverage. ID Watchdog’s family plans only cover two adults and up to four children. Aura’s family plan covers up to five adults and unlimited children. Plus, you get $1 million in identity theft insurance coverage for every adult on your plan (up to $5 million in total coverage), as well as parental controls and Safe Gaming tools to protect your children online.
      💪 Get better value for more features with Aura. Every Aura plan includes a 14-day free trial, while annual plans also include a 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can Try Aura for yourself.

      The Bottom Line: ID Watchdog Isn’t the Best Option

      ID Watchdog offers a decent level of protection for most people — if you pay for the Premium plan. 

      While ID Watchdog Premium may be a good choice if you have significant savings to protect, it lacks essential digital security features that could leave you and your family vulnerable in other areas. Plus, Equifax’s history of security issues and its questionable data policy mean your personal data could be at risk.  

      For an all-in-one comprehensive solution that won’t leave you vulnerable, consider Aura’s award-winning identity theft protection.

      All Aura plans come with 24/7 Dark Web monitoring, a suite of powerful yet easy-to-use internet security tools, and three-bureau credit monitoring with the fastest and most reliable fraud alerts.

      Get award-winning protection against fraud and scams. Try Aura free for 14 days.
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