Equifax TrustedID PremierUpdated: Sept. 28, 2017 

Although we have advised caution when it comes to enrolling in the free TrustedID Premier credit monitoring and identity theft protection offered by Equifax to all U.S. consumers in light of its massive data breach, we also know that many people will opt to enroll (or have already done so). To help anyone still making a decision or those who have started the enrollment process but not quite finished yet, we decided to have one of our editors go through the full process to show you exactly what happens and what the promised features look like from the inside. Although we still encourage people to prioritize taking their own protective measures, such as viewing all three of their credit reports for free through AnnualCreditReport.com, and consider a more robust service like LifeLock, this is the insider’s look on what happens when you sign up for Equifax’s TrustedID Premier.

What is TrustedID Premier?

This is a service provided and operated by Equifax exclusively for all U.S. citizens, whether they have been impacted by the data breach or not. It promises to provide:

TrustedID Premier features
  • 3-bureau credit report monitoring
  • Copies of your Equifax credit report
  • Ability to lock and unlock your Equifax credit file
  • Social security number monitoring
  • $1 million identity theft insurance

Membership is complimentary for one year, and you don’t have to provide any sort of credit card or payment information to enroll. According to FAQs on the Equifax data breach site, when the year is up, TrustedID Premier will expire rather than turn into a paid product. Keep reading to find out details on the enrollment process and find out what it looks like from the inside.

Getting started with TrustedID Premier

Those who checked their potential impact status on the Equifax data breach website in the early days after it was disclosed probably received a specific enrollment date. Regardless of that date or whether you checked your potential impact weeks ago or just today, everyone has until January 31, 2018 to enroll in TrustedID Premier. When you are ready to do so, you will want to navigate to the Enroll tab on the Equifax website and click “begin enrollment.” You’ll be asked to confirm your last name and the last six digits of your social security number, then you will be taken to a secondary page that asks for some personal information — including your name, date of birth, social security number (note that the website does not censor this, so you’ll want to be sure you are filling this page out while using a trusted Internet connection), gender, home address, email address and preferred phone number. After reading the terms of use and privacy notice and clicking on the orange “continue” button, you’ll be taken to a page that displays a blue check mark image. It should tell you that your information has been received and is being processed, and you must wait for an email to fully activate your account.

TrustedID Premier Enrollment Confirmation

TrustedID Premier enrollment confirmation page

The timeline for receiving this email may vary; it took a little over 48 hours for ours to arrive. If you don’t receive your email after three days, you might want to contact Equifax to make sure your application was received and you didn’t mistype anything. Note that there has been some concern regarding the domain the email comes from vs. the domain of the activation link it contains. Security expert Brian Krebs write about this discrepancy recently and how it goes against best practices when it comes to identifying phishing emails. Here is what the email we received looked like:

TrustedID Premier Enrollment Activation Email

The email we received to activate our TrustedID Premier enrollment.

Upon receiving the email, you will be instructed to click on a hyperlink which activates your TrustedID Premier account. This link takes you to a verification page that asks for the last four digits of your social security number and your birth date, followed by a prompt to create a password. Make sure that you choose a strong, secure password. Finally, you’ll be directed to a page with a few security questions that serve to verify your identity. You have five minutes to answer these questions before your activation is reset and you must try again.

What you see when you log into your account

Once you’ve successfully answered all the verification questions, you will be directed to log into your new account and taken to your dashboard. (Note that we had planned on including a screenshot of what the inside of a TrustedID Premier account looks like, but the entire site went down as we were writing this article, rendering us unable to take screenshots or access any of the features.) You might think at this point that there is nothing left to be done and all of TrustedID Premier’s features will be available to you; however, you would be wrong. While we were able to instantly access the credit monitoring alerts, copy of our Equifax credit report, social security monitoring and identity theft protection sections of the site, we were notified that it would take an additional 48 hours before we would be able to use the credit locking feature to lock or unlock our Equifax credit file.

When that 48 hours was up and this feature became available, the site indicated that it would take 48 hours for any change made to be completed. Even though this 48-hour wait time is standard for a credit lock or freeze, we found it more than a little frustrating, given that the hype surrounding this feature is all about how fast and easy it is to lock and unlock your credit file at will. By this point, it was more than a week since the data breach had been revealed, and we were still waiting around to get our Equifax credit file frozen. Of course, given the flood of people calling all three credit bureaus over the past few weeks, it might not have been any faster to call and place a credit freeze over the phone. Still, it did feel a little disingenuous to be told to wait 48 hours to access a feature that then took an additional two days to go into effect.

Does TrustedID Premier actually protect me?

While it is better than nothing, and it is free for a year, TrustedID Premier looks and feels bare bones. It was likely set up in a hurry, but that doesn’t discount the fact that the design of the site (as well as the site set up by Equifax to provide information on the breach) does not inspire a lot of confidence. We aren’t entirely certain what happens if an alert is pinged on your credit reports or social security number, but chances are, no matter what, you’ll be instructed to call and speak with a representative. Note that as of Sept. 25, multiple readers have reported receiving alerts which they were unable to verify since the TrustedID Premier website is experiencing continuous outages and the customer service phone number has long wait times and busy signals. It’s nice to have access to your Equifax credit report, but this is something you are entitled to for free once every 12 months through AnnualCreditReport.com — along with copies of your Experian and TransUnion credit reports. And unless there’s a significant change to one of your credit reports, like a new account, or your social security number happens to show up on whatever dark web sites TrustedID Premier monitors, then you’re not going to be warned of any identity theft committed in your name. The ability to lock and unlock your credit file is nice, but less convenient when it takes so long to go into effect (and the website itself keeps going down). Overall, we were not impressed and think that those who wish to sign up for TrustedID Premier should not hold any high expectations.

If you are feeling frustrated about TrustedID Premier and Equifax, you can report your frustrations and complaints to the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as well as your individual government representatives.

Check out our identity theft protection reviews to see what other services out there have to offer in contrast to TrustedID Premier, and be sure to keep following our Equifax breach blog for all the updates on this saga as it unfolds.