What Are the Benefits of Identity Theft Protection?

Quick Answer

Identity theft prevention services can detect potential abuse of your personal data, such as:

  • Unauthorized loan applications or new accounts on credit reports
  • Exposure of personal information on illicit lists or websites
Mature man working on his laptop.

As we continue to live more of our lives online, identity theft remains a persistent challenge. Of nearly 5.4 million consumer complaints compiled by the Federal Trade Commission in 2023, identity theft made up 19% of all reports, with more than 1 million incidents.

Identity theft protection services can alert you to unauthorized activity on your credit reports and notify you if you've been exposed in a data breach. Some services also scan public and hidden websites for exposed data, help reclaim your identity if it's stolen and offer insurance to cover financial losses in the event of identity theft.

Benefits of Identity Theft Protection Services

The following services fall under the banner of identity theft protection services. Specific providers and plans may not offer all services.


Cybercrime experts recommend regularly checking bank and credit card statements for signs of suspicious activity. When digital information moves at lightspeed, even the most vigilant may not notice fraud until it's already occurred. Identity theft protection services can keep an eye on your personal accounts continuously and alert you when there's potentially suspicious activity.

Credit Monitoring

An all-too-common tactic of digital fraudsters is using stolen credentials (names, account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, etc.) to obtain loans or credit card accounts in the names of their victims. Identity theft protection can alert you proactively to new entries on your credit reports at the three national credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax), so you can respond quickly to unauthorized activity.

Dark Web Surveillance

Data breaches and other exposures of personal information often come to light only when batches of customer or patient records turn up on the "dark web," a network of sites, inaccessible to standard web browsers, where criminals traffic in stolen data. Identity theft protection services that scan the dark web for the presence of your data can alert you if you've been exposed, so you can update security settings and keep watch on vulnerable accounts.

Privacy Scans

A privacy scan audits and automatically removes your information from "people search" websites that list public information identity thieves can use to supplement stolen data.

Identity Theft Insurance

Identity theft insurance provides coverage of up to $1 million to reimburse expenses incurred through identity theft such as:

  • Legal fees
  • Lost wages
  • Dependent-care services for children or elders, as needed while remediating identity theft
  • Phone, mail and other miscellaneous charges

Some policies also include assistance from agents trained in identity theft restoration, who provide guidance on whom to notify and what paperwork to submit when reclaiming a stolen identity.

Social Security Number Trace Alerts

Criminals can abuse Social Security numbers (SSNs) in a host of ways, including applying for credit and government services in your name, and SSN trace alerts let you know if your number appears on illicit lists or websites.

Is Identity Theft Protection Worth It?

You can detect many signs of fraudulent activity on your own by checking your credit reports for free every week at AnnualCreditReport.com and scrutinizing your bank and credit statements carefully each month. If you're unable or unwilling to do so consistently, however, identity theft protection services can provide peace of mind by performing those checks automatically, and also may provide additional services such as scanning for signs your personal information is at risk.

What Identity Theft Protection Services Does Experian Offer?

Experian offers two tiers of identity theft protection, a basic account that notifies you of activity on your Experian credit reports and changes to your FICO® Score based on them; and a paid premium membership with services including:

  • Monitoring credit reports at all three national credit bureaus
  • Tracking changes in your FICO® Score based on data at all three credit bureaus
  • Scanning for online data exposure, including hidden "dark web" sites and social media platforms
  • Social Security number trace alerts
  • Up to $1 million in identity theft insurance
  • Fraud-resolution help from trained assistants.

The Bottom Line

The risk of identity theft is all too real, so it's important to watch your credit reports, bank and credit accounts for suspicious activity. Identity theft protection services, including those available free from Experian, can simplify that process. Premium services can also alert you when your personal data is at risk and even assist with the process of recovery from identity theft.