Is LifeLock or Experian IdentityWorks the Better Choice?
Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world. If you haven’t already been a victim of identity theft, you could be one soon.
According to a 2022 FICO survey [*]:
“40% of Americans either know, or believe their stolen identity was used to open a financial account. Based on the US population, that could equate to 32.8 million people."
With the threat of identity theft and financial fraud constantly looming, millions of Americans have signed up for identity theft protection. Two of the most well-known options are LifeLock and Experian IdentityWorks.
But while both companies offer similar levels of security, there are critical differences that can determine which provider is best for you and your family.
In this guide, we dive into both options, break down how they’re different, and help you decide which option offers the best identity theft protection for your needs.
How Do You Decide Which Identity Theft Protection Service Is Right for You?
When choosing an identity theft protection provider, you should look at five factors:
- Monitoring and alerts. These services track and monitor your sensitive personal and financial information for signs of fraud. The more information (your Social Security number, driver’s license, bank account numbers, etc.) and places they monitor (the Dark Web, public records, etc.) — and the faster they alert you — the better chance you have of catching identity thieves before they can do too much damage.
- Protection against identity theft. While there’s no way to completely prevent identity theft, these services can make you a much less vulnerable target by proactively securing your data, devices, and network. Look for included tools like password managers, antivirus software, Safe Browsing tools, and virtual private networks (VPNs) to keep you safe from online threats.
- Support and insurance coverage. If or when you become the victim of identity theft, you’ll want help dealing with the fallout. Check each service’s support agreement as well as what’s covered in its identity theft insurance policy. For example, some companies (like LifeLock) only cover small amounts for stolen funds on their lower-priced plans.
- Ease of use. You’re only protected against identity theft if you use the tools available to you. Identity theft protection companies historically have poor user experiences across their web and mobile apps, but are getting better. Check user reviews to see what real people think about each service.
- Pricing and plan options. With any protection or insurance policy, there’s a trade-off between cost and benefits. Some services (such as LifeLock) also significantly increase their prices after the first year. Make sure you’re getting the protection you need without putting yourself in debt to do so.
With these factors in mind, let’s look at how LifeLock and Experian compare.
LifeLock vs. Experian Head-to-Head: What You Need To Know
LifeLock and Experian both offer similar features when it comes to identity theft protection — including identity, credit, and Dark Web monitoring, identity theft insurance coverage, and fraud resolution support.
However, each product has specific strengths and weaknesses that you should be aware of.
LifeLock offers more proactive protection through its integration with Norton 360. For a higher monthly fee, you get access to antivirus software, a password manager, virtual private network (VPN), cloud backups, and parental controls.
On the other hand, Experian provides more protection and support when it comes to credit monitoring. As one of the three major credit bureaus, Experian IdentityWorks includes a credit lock and access to U.S.-based Fraud Resolution Specialists trained by the bureau. Experian also provides FICO credit scores, which can be helpful if you’re actively looking to take out a loan or open a new credit account.
Here's how LifeLock and Experian IdentityWorks compare head-to-head:
Why You Should Consider Aura Instead
Where LifeLock and Experian compromise on certain levels of protection or coverage, Aura offers comprehensive, award-winning protection for you and your entire family.
Here’s why we think you should choose Aura over LifeLock or Experian:
- Award-winning identity theft protection. Aura was recently awarded the distinction of best identity theft protection by Money.com and has also been rated the #1 identity theft protection service by both IdentityProtectionReview.com and Security.org.
- The fastest (and most reliable) fraud alerts. A 2022 mystery shopper consumer study by ath Power Consulting found that Aura discovered more instances of potential fraud (such as when new credit accounts are opened in your name) and sent fraud alerts up to 4x faster than competing services.
- Three-bureau credit monitoring on every plan. Aura connects directly with each of the three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. This means you get faster fraud alerts, as well as regular updates to your credit score and any changes to your credit report. Aura also monitors your financial accounts, including your bank and investment accounts.
- A full suite of digital security tools (at no extra cost). Every Aura plan comes with an expanding list of digital security tools. With Aura, you get a secure password manager, powerful antivirus software, VPN, and Safe Browsing tools to protect you against phishing websites and online threats.
- Reduces spam calls, texts, and emails. Data brokers collect and sell your personal data to marketers and scammers. Aura finds and removes your information from these companies’ databases to reduce the amount of spam you receive.
- Comprehensive family protection. Aura’s family plans cover up to five adults and unlimited children, and include award-winning parental controls to keep your kids safe online.
- Transparent and simple pricing plans. With Aura, you don’t pay extra for different features. Instead, simply choose how many people you want to protect (yourself, you and your partner, or your family). Plus, there’s no price increase after the first year.
- Modern apps that work on your computer, laptop, and smartphone. Aura currently has a 4.8-star rating on third-party review site TrustPilot [*], where users regularly rate Aura apps as some of the easiest to use.
- Up to $5 million in identity theft insurance coverage. Every adult member on an Aura plan is covered for up to $1,000,000 in eligible losses due to identity theft. This includes lawyer fees, stolen funds, childcare, and more.
- 14-day free trial and 60-day money-back guarantee. You can try out every single feature that Aura offers completely free for 14 days. Annual plans also come with a 60-day money-back guarantee to ensure that Aura is the best identity theft protection service for you.
- Competitive pricing plans. Aura’s plans start at $15 per month and include all features. For a similar level of protection from LifeLock or Experian, you would need to pay almost double.
LifeLock Overview: Features, Pros & Cons, and Pricing Plans
LifeLock is one of the most well-known names in identity theft protection. Founded in 2005, LifeLock was acquired by Symantec (the creator of Norton Antivirus) in 2017 and is now owned by the newly-named Gen Digital Inc [*].
LifeLock offers comprehensive identity theft protection for millions of Americans.
Unfortunately, LifeLock’s plans differ significantly in their services and features.
For example, the lower-priced Standard plan only includes basic identity monitoring, one-bureau credit monitoring, and up to $25,000 in stolen funds reimbursement. You’ll also have to pay more if you want access to Norton 360’s digital security tools.
This means that for total protection — including LifeLock’s Ultimate Plus plan and Norton 360 — you’d pay $29.99/month for an individual plan and $48.99 for families (as of February 2023).
Here’s what’s included with the LifeLock Ultimate Plus plan:
- Identity and Social Security number (SSN) monitoring and alerts
- Three-bureau credit monitoring (only available on highest-priced plan)
- $1 million in identity theft protection and stolen funds reimbursement (only $25,000 in stolen funds reimbursement on the Standard plan)
- TransUnion credit file lock
- Monthly credit scores (provided by VantageScore 3.0)
- Credit, checking, savings, and investment account monitoring
- Dark Web monitoring and data breach notifications
- Public record monitoring including sex offender lists, PayDay loans, criminal activity, home title, and USPS address change verification
- 24/7 customer support
- No free trial
- With Norton 360 (at an additional monthly cost): Secure VPN, password manager, antivirus, cloud backups (Windows PC only)
LifeLock pros and cons:
Beyond features and pricing, LifeLock has faced a few public issues in recent years, including:
- 2023 data breach. LifeLock recently disclosed that it was the target of a data breach. Sensitive information from thousands of LifeLock customers — including passwords — was compromised, according to TechCrunch [*].
- Crypto mining controversy. In 2022, Norton came under fire for installing crypto mining software by default on users’ computers [*]. This kind of software runs energy-intensive processes in the background and is a common feature of modern malware.
- $100 million FTC settlement. In 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed its second suit against LifeLock for failing to secure user data. LifeLock paid $100 million in fines, the largest fine amount ever imposed at the time [*].
What are LifeLock’s pricing and plan options?
At a basic level, LifeLock offers three tiers, each with different features and insurance coverage. They also offer a Family plan (two adults) and a Family with kids plan (two adults and five children). Finally, you can choose to add on Norton 360 for digital security tools.
Here’s a breakdown of LifeLock’s offerings and prices as of February 2023:
- Select (with Norton 360): $9.99 per month (renews at $14.99)
- Advantage (with Norton 360): $19.99 per month (renews at $24.99)
- Ultimate Plus (with Norton 360): $29.99 per month (renews at $34.99)
One important thing to note is that LifeLock’s prices increase significantly after the first year — sometimes up to 40–70% higher.
The bottom line: LifeLock’s plan structure can feel overly complicated and leave you either paying too much or missing critical protection and coverage. For simple, transparent pricing and comprehensive coverage, try Aura free for 14 days.
💡 Learn more: Aura vs. LifeLock – 2023 Comparison Showdown →
Experian IdentityWorks: Features, Pros & Cons, and Pricing Plans
As one of the three major credit bureaus, Experian has an upper hand when it comes to credit monitoring and protection.
IdentityWorks is the company’s ID theft protection service, and includes identity monitoring, Dark Web surveillance and monitoring, credit monitoring with free credit reports and free FICO® credit score updates (every 90 days), as well as $1 million in identity theft insurance.
IdentityWorks can also place a fraud alert on your account, which is essentially a red flag for lenders and creditors that you may have been a victim of identity fraud. If someone tries to open a new account in your name, a fraud alert warns lenders to verify your identity first.
Where IdentityWorks isn’t as strong is in proactive protection and device security.
While Experian announced in November 2021 [*] that it would be offering digital security tools for partners, those features aren’t included in the feature list for IdentityWorks.
Here’s what’s included with the IdentityWorks Premium plan:
- Identity theft monitoring including SSN trace and monthly privacy scans
- Three-bureau credit reports, monitoring, and alerts
- Daily Experian FICO® Scores
- Experian CreditLock
- Dark Web surveillance and alerts
- Social media monitoring
- Public records monitoring and alerts for change of address requests, sex offender registry, court records and booking, and non-credit loan alerts
- $1 million in identity theft insurance with dedicated fraud resolution support
- 30-day trial
IdentityWorks by Experian pros and cons:
What customers are saying: Experian currently has a 3.8-star rating on Trustpilot. However, many reviews don’t mention IdentityWorks specifically, making it hard to judge how real users feel about the service [*].
What are Experian’s pricing and plan options?
IdentityWorks offers a free basic plan for monitoring your Experian credit file, as well as Premium plans for both individuals and families (two adults and up to 10 children).
Here are IdentityWorks’ pricing and plans as of February 2023:
- IdentityWorks Basic (Experian credit monitoring only): free
- IdentityWorks Premium (individual): $24.99 per month
- IdentityWorks Premium (family): $34.99 per month
The bottom line: Experian offers solid credit monitoring services and near real-time alerts, but lacks in proactive protection against identity theft. Plus, its plans start at a much higher price yet do not offer the same level of protection as LifeLock or Aura.
What To Do If You’re the Victim of Identity Theft
No service can promise to protect you against all types of identity theft. And with the number of identity theft victims rising every single year, it’s only a matter of time before you become a target.
If you see any warning signs of identity theft, you need to act quickly.
Here’s what to do if you think your identity has been stolen:
- Contact your identity theft protection provider. If you have coverage, use it. Aura’s U.S.-based Fraud Resolution Specialists are available 24/7 to walk you through the fraud recovery steps, and will even facilitate three-way calls between you and government agencies, companies, or financial institutions.
- Freeze your credit with all three bureaus. A credit freeze stops anyone from accessing your credit file and opening new accounts in your name. To freeze your credit, you need to contact each bureau individually. You can also lock and unlock your Experian credit file directly from the Aura app.
- Check your credit reports for fraudulent activity. You can get a free copy of your credit report from all three bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com. Check for new accounts that you don’t recognize or hard inquiries that you didn’t request.
- Notify your bank and credit card issuer. Ask to talk to their fraud departments and explain what happened. They’ll most likely cancel your bank account, debit, and credit cards and issue you new ones.
- File an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Go to IdentityTheft.gov and fill out an official affidavit. This is your proof of innocence and will be required when you dispute fraudulent charges or crimes committed in your name.
- Secure your online accounts. Change your passwords to be more secure and store them by using a secure password manager. For added security, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible.
- Contact any impacted company or government agency. Ask to speak to their fraud departments and provide your FTC report. Ask for as much information as possible so that you can dispute charges and close fraudulent accounts.
- Scan your devices for malware. Use antivirus software to scan for and remove viruses on your devices. This stops scammers from continually hacking you, even after you’ve changed your passwords.
- Dispute fraudulent charges and debts. Clean up your credit and remove debts by contacting the credit bureaus, debt collectors, and any impacted companies. You can use this credit dispute letter template to request that fraudulent debts be removed from your name.
💡 Learn more: What To Do If Your Identity Is Stolen →
Our Final Recommendation: Get Simple, Comprehensive Coverage with Aura
If you’re looking for comprehensive protection with a focus on proactive features, Aura may be the best choice for you. With simple pricing and a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can test all of Aura’s identity theft protection services with no strings attached.
But whether you use Aura, LifeLock, Experian, or one of the other major identity theft protection services (such as Identity Guard or IdentityForce), the goal is to get ahead of criminals before you become a victim.