Identity theft protection is, in many cases, very costly. At least that’s the case if you want to get top notch protection from all the major threats out there.
However, there are some very good options on offer if you want something more budget friendly. Identity Force and IDShield are both solid choices, as they offer extremely good protection for their relatively low cost.
But which one does it better? Well, let’s figure that out.
Why Should You Trust Us?
Our process is carefully engineered to give us repeatable results for every service. More importantly, we put a focus on real use cases, so we can make sure the service doesn’t just work in a testing situation, but holds up when there’s a real user in a normal situation.
We analyze the performance with this idea in mind, and grade the service in each of the six primary categories we’ve determined are the most important for every service:
- Monitoring and alerts
- Threat resolution
- Ease of use
- Additional services
These categories are then further weighted depending on their importance, which determines the final score. Monitoring tools are by far the most important of the criteria, and determine a lot of the score; a poor score in this category ensures an overall low score, even if everything else might be excellent.
Additional services, by that same token, are the least important metric. Additional tools make for nice little tiebreakers, but aren’t very important in the grand scheme of things.
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Do You Really Need Identity Theft Protection?
Cybercrime is fast becoming one of the most common things the average person needs to protect themselves from. Almost everything can be done online these days, and the convenience it brings people cannot be overstated.
But, that convenience does bring with it certain risks. Your information is vulnerable in a way it has never been before, and can be used for a whole lot more types of fraud than were typically common before the rise of the internet.
Fraud can range from the relatively benign (like mooching off your Netflix account) to the most heinous, like draining your bank account or taking out a secret second mortgage on your home.
The former are mostly annoying, but the latter can be devastating, particularly if you’re already on the brink.
Taking care to protect yourself against these online threats is just good sense, and identity theft protection will do that and more, providing insurance for any stolen money and the like.
Getting at least basic protection is what any responsible adult should do.
Quick Score Guide:
|Criteria||Identity Force (8.5/10)||IDShield (8.5/10)|
|Ease of Use||6/10||8/10|
|Monitoring and Alerts||9/10||9/10|
Ease of Use: Winner – IDShield
This is one area where IDShield clearly wins over Identity Force. While Identity Force’s website is far from the worst I’ve seen, it is a bit clunkier than I’d wish for.
Still, it’s workable and certainly isn’t offensively bad in any way. The more annoying thing, which is the main reason the score is knocked down so far, comes down to Identity Force’s signup and cancelation processes.
The sign up is long and annoying; unnecessarily so in my opinion. It seems to be an attempt at greater security, but in essence the extra information it asks for are things that could be established after signup, and I think it’s telling that few other services out there ask you to go through such a long process up front.
Canceling is also annoying, as not only do you have to call them during normal business hours, which can be difficult (we’ll get to that later), their customer support representatives are trained to be very aggressive when it comes to retention.
IDShield, by comparison, is much cleaner in layout, and isn’t annoying to sign up for or cancel.
It doesn’t look like much, and reminds me a lot of a government website in appearance…but it’s a whole lot faster and overall better designed. It’s not flashy, but it’s easy to use and gives a lot of info up front. Generally, it’s just way better.
Monitoring and Alerts: Winner – Tie
Both options offer the same thing, in essence: competent, basic monitoring.
The options they offer cover the most common circumstances you’re likely to run into. The monitoring tools on offer for both are:
- Data breach and dark web monitoring
- Social security number monitoring
- Social media monitoring
- Credit monitoring
- Bank account monitoring
- Payday loan monitoring
While the names may vary between the two, the functionality is the same.
Likewise, their performance and speed is largely comparable. Both give results incredibly fast, and also are similarly accurate.
Both services are excellent in terms of monitoring, and in exactly the same ways.
The only real drawback for either is the limitations of the monitoring. They don’t offer the more niche, advanced monitoring tools that some services do, such as home title monitoring or 401(k) and investment monitoring.
Still, if you’re looking for basic, budget friendly protection with higher performance? Both are going to be excellent choices, and they stack up well compared to other options on the market.
Threat Resolution Services: Winner – IDShield
The usual primary option is on display here, which is simply competent customer service for both.
The main difference comes in availability. With Identity Force, the time is more limited, as they’re only open during normal business hours. 8 AM to 5:30 PM (EST) is what you’re looking at with them, but they are at least open 7 days a week.
IDShield is a bit odd, in that they’re only open on weekdays, with no weekend availability, but their hours are miles better. 7 AM to 7 PM is a solid amount of availability, and helps take the pressure off if you get an alert during the work week, since you can wait until you’re off work and comfortably at home to make the call instead of needing to take off work.
It’s hard to judge between the two, but I’d actually give the edge to Identity Force in some ways since weekend availability is very key, even if their weekday availability is annoying to make use of.
IDShield, however, has an edge that Identity Force doesn’t offer: in-house private investigators. These are available to all IDShield customers at no additional cost, and help enhance their threat resolution tactics over other options, which would force you to use a 3rd party investigator (though any service would reimburse you for that, to be fair).
Additional Services: Winner – Identity Force
There’s not a ton to say here. Neither has a great selection of additional services, with it mostly boiling down to the quality of life aspect of providing quick links and pre-filled out forms for various purposes.
However, Identity Force does offer a rudimentary VPN service, which is better than nothing. By that metric alone, it wins this category…by a hair.
Insurance: Winner – IDShield
Both are pretty much identical here as well, with both services offering what I consider to be the industry standard for identity theft insurance.
You get $1 million in lost funds reimbursement, to cover any money that’s directly drained from your bank account, purchases made in your name, and similar losses. Additionally, they’ll cover up to $1 million in expenses as well, which includes things like childcare, legal fees, lost wages, and anything else that can be justified as a reasonable expense that is needed to restore your identity.
Both are, by that token, extremely good, and are only outperformed by some serious anomalies on the market.
Cost: Winner – Identity Force
And here we finally get to the crux of the matter.
Since most criteria are equal, how do we decide which option is better?
Well, that’s simple: Identity Force is much, much cheaper, at least for many users.
IDShield has a standard pricing bracket, with two tiers of service…at least on the surface.
However, this is really only, in my eyes, one tier of service. The 1 Bureau Credit Monitoring plan is more than enough for any user, because you can get 3 bureau credit monitoring for free from sites like Credit Karma. You don’t need to pay extra for it.
So, the base price for a single person is VERY inexpensive at $14 per month, which is an incredible deal.
Unfortunately, their family plans are a terrible deal, and a lot of people, I’d even say a solid half, or maybe more of users are going to want the family plan. You’re essentially paying double for the family protection, which is extremely unusual.
By contrast, Identity Force:
Identity Force, as you can see, has a higher up-front individual cost, making it a worse deal than IDShield for a single user. Likewise, it does the same thing where it offers credit monitoring for an additional fee; this is, again, a poor choice for all users as this functionality can be replicated for free.
However, Identity Force offers much more inexpensive family protection. I can’t list exact prices, as Identity Force does not list a single usual price. You have to call them and ask for an up-to-date price on family plans periodically, as the price changes frequently.
I can give a good ballpark estimate, however. The additional cost for family protection ranges somewhere from under $1, to about $5 in additional cost.
So even at the higher end of that range, Identity Force offers much cheaper family protection.
IDShield is a ridiculously bad value in this regard, and I docked it quite a few points for that. It is extremely unusual for a service of this type to charge that much for a family plan.
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Conclusion: Winner – Tie
It’s extremely hard to call this race as the options are pretty much identical in most important respects.
The main thing that sets them apart is cost. IDShield is much cheaper for an individual user, while Identity Force offers superior value for its family plans instead.
Whichever fits your situation best is the one you should go for, as performance is similar for both. And, I should state definitively that performance of both is good. These are some of the best monitoring tools out there, especially for the asking price.
You can’t go wrong with either one, as long as you make sure to properly analyze your needs and what fits your budget.
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