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If you’ve ever had your identity stolen, you know how unsettling the experience can be. You can spend your life making smart financial decisions, carefully building your credit, and establishing yourself as a responsible member of society.
Then, you apply for a new loan or try to open a credit account, and you get denied. As it turns out, someone has been running up debt in your name — and sticking you with the bills.
This doesn’t have to happen to you. With a good identity protection service, you can get notified the moment someone tries to misuse your personal information.
You can even get protection for any expenses you incur while patching up your financial record.
One of these credit monitoring services is Costco Complete ID. Let’s take a look at what Complete ID is, how it works, and how it can keep your identity safe.
What is Complete ID?
Complete ID is an identity protection, credit monitoring, and identity restoration service offered by Costco.
Yes, the same Costco that sells Kool-Aid and kitty litter by the pallet. Complete ID is a white-label service, and the actual monitoring is performed by Experian.
As one of the three major credit reporting bureaus, Experian is well qualified to offer this service.
How Does Complete ID Work?
Complete ID works by monitoring your credit report, both at Experian and at the other two major bureaus.
It also works by scanning bank records, payday lenders, criminal records, and even the dark web for your name, Social Security number, credit card numbers, and other vital info.
If your private information has become publicly available or has been used for criminal purposes, you’ll be the first to know.
Who Qualifies for Complete ID?
Complete ID is available to all US adults, as well as their minor children. That said, you have to be a Costco member to sign up.
Complete ID Services
So, what does Complete ID do? Here’s a quick snapshot:
- Criminal Record Monitoring: If someone by your name is arrested, you’ll find out. This ensures you won’t end up getting confused with them.
- Dark Web Surveillance: You’ll receive an alert if your credit card or Social Security number show up for sale on the dark web.
- Neighborhood Watch: You’ll be able to see any registered sex offenders in your area.
- SSN Monitoring: You’ll be notified if someone uses your social security number for a bank account, line of credit, employment, or any other purpose.
- Financial Account Monitoring: You’ll be notified of any suspicious transactions on your accounts.
- Payday Loan Monitoring: You’ll be notified if anyone uses your information to take out a payday loan.
- Mail Change Alerts: Any changes of address in your name will have to be approved by you.
- Monitoring Key Information: In addition to your name and Social Security number, other vital data like your date and place of birth will also be monitored.
Credit monitoring is the task of monitoring your credit report to see if there are any new events. If someone applies for an account or a line of credit using your name, this will appear on your credit report. Usually, credit monitoring is the fastest way to find out that your identity has been stolen.
To expedite this process, Complete ID monitors all three major credit reporting bureaus, not just Experian.
This ensures that you’ll receive an alert as quickly as possible.
Sometimes, the damage has already been done. A person has already borrowed thousands of dollars in your name, or you’ve already lost your wallet on the subway. In that case, fixing your identity issues might cost you some money.
Complete ID provides up to $1 million in identity restoration coverage. This ensures that you won’t be responsible for out-of-pocket costs incurred as a result of identity theft.
Complete ID Plans and Pricing
Many identity protection services offer different service tiers, with different benefits depending on your subscription level.
Complete ID, on the other hand, gives the same benefits to all members. However, there are a couple of caveats.
First, Complete ID is only available to Costco members. If you’re not a Costco member, you won’t be able to join.
Second, pricing depends on what type of Costco membership you have. Executive members pay $8.99 per month for Complete ID, plus an additional $2.99 for any minor children on their plan. Business and Gold Star members pay $13.99 per month, plus $3.99 for children.
Complete ID Pros and Cons
- Wide range of identity protection features
- Up to $1 million in identity restoration
- Monitors all three major credit bureaus
- Criminal record and payday loan monitoring
- Easy to use and sign up for
- Affordably priced
- Limited online security features
- Only available to Costco members
- No smartphone app
Alternatives to Complete ID
LifeLock is an established company that was one of the first to mass-market identity protection services.
They’ve recently partnered with Norton Security, so a lot of their services focus on online security. Their tiered plans may or may not be competitive with Complete ID, depending on what you need.
Lower-tiered plans have a similar price but have fewer ID protection features. Higher-tiered LifeLock plans are more expensive but offer comparable protection to Complete ID in addition to all the Norton features.
IdentityForce is a more barebones service that focuses primarily on credit reporting. There aren’t many other features, so you won’t get a criminal record or deep web alerts.
However, what the credit reporting is substantial, drawing from all three major bureaus. It’s also an app-based service, so you can receive alerts and monitor your credit directly from your smartphone.
Learn More: IdentityForce Review
#3. Identity Guard
Identity Guard has a lot of surface similarity to IdentityForce, mostly because it’s app-based. However, there’s a lot more going on under the hood.
In addition to credit monitoring, you also get more advanced identity protection features, as well as credit restoration.
That said, it costs more than IdentityForce, so you’ll be paying extra for the added benefits.
Learn More: Identity Guard Review
>> Want to Compare More Options? Check out our round-up of the best credit monitoring services.
Complete ID FAQ
Is Complete ID Safe?
Complete ID is entirely, unequivocally, 100 percent safe. Because the service is provided through Experian, you know that your information is only being handled by a discreet, secure company.
Furthermore, if anything were to go wrong, you’d be protected by virtue of being a member in the first place. As far as your security is concerned, there’s literally zero downsides.
How Much Does Complete ID Cost?
Complete ID costs either $8.99 or $13.99 per month, depending on your Costco membership level. Executive members pay the lower rate, while Business and Gold Star members pay the higher rate.
Children cost $2.99 for Executive members or $3.99 for other members. Either way, it’s competitive with most similar services and far more affordable than many.
Is Complete ID Worth It?
Whether or not an identity protection service is “worth it” is a personal question. Is it “worth it” to take out comprehensive insurance on your automobile?
It depends on a wide variety of factors. What we can say for sure is that Complete ID provides an excellent value for the price. If you’re in the market for identity protection, it should be on your shortlist of choices.
Bottom Line: Complete ID Review
So, is Complete ID a worthwhile identity protection service? For most people, the answer is going to be yes.
They provide a comprehensive array of monitoring, protection, and restoration services at a very reasonable price. Provided you’re a Costco member — or don’t mind becoming one — it’s a great choice.