IDShield vs LifeLock

This is an interesting comparison between two very good, but almost polar opposite services. Their approaches to how to provide the best identity theft protection options are essentially night and day to each other, which makes comparing the two difficult in some ways, but intriguing in others.

Score Guide

Why Should You Trust Us?

identity theft protection

We combine an expert eye and professional experience with real user considerations, finding the best deals we can, signing up for each service, and putting them through their paces with our test information.

Everything is viewed from the lens of a real user experience and combined with a critical eye to figure out how each service performs in one of our test categories.

These six categories are then weighted and graded, allowing us to come up with the final score. In order of importance, we have:

  1. Monitoring and alerts
  2. Threat resolution
  3. Insurance
  4. Ease of use 
  5. Cost
  6. Additional services

Keep in mind that all categories are not created equal, so a service may not quite line up with the exact average of all scores. The bottom three categories are weighted significantly less than the top three. Likewise, getting a low score in one of the top two categories is a death knell for the service; no matter how good the other components are, they will receive a low score to indicate that they fail at basic competence on the most important metrics.

Is Identity Theft Protection Worth It?

identity theft protection

Absolutely. Identity fraud is one of the fastest growing crimes in many parts of the world, including the United States. This is exacerbated by many legitimate companies selling your information and spreading it around in certain circles, which allows for criminals to more easily get their hands on it.

This combination of legally acquired information being used for illegal means has led to an epidemic of identity fraud events, ranging from relatively limited impact problems such as someone signing up for an email service in your name, selling your information to scam callers, and other things…to the bigger crimes like breaking into your bank account and stealing your money, taking out loans in your name, and so on.

Identity theft protection services provide a buffer between you and the criminals, giving you early warning when suspicious activity happens involving your information, and providing insurance to help cover any losses.

Keep in mind that identity theft isn’t only a problem for you: it impacts your family as well. One data breach can daisy chain into more in some cases. Likewise, children make extremely tempting targets for identity fraud, as they have no credit history. This combination of a lack of credit history and being largely overlooked and unmonitored can result in a  child’s credit history being destroyed before they even get old enough to start making decisions for themselves.

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Ease of Use: Winner – LifeLock

IDShield has a very easy to navigate layout, and while its utilitarian design isn’t much to look at, it gets the job done quite nicely. Loading speeds are good, and it’s all around quite nice.

The only real failing is how its Alerts page is set up. Or, more accurately, Alerts pages. What little extra bit of organization is gained by separating each type of alert into its own little tab is outweighed by it being slightly annoying to navigate when all you want to do is look at all your alerts in one convenient space.

LifeLock provides this capability, alongside just having an overall more appealing design to look at, and a somewhat better organization to how its tabs are laid out and arranged into categories with the tabs being arranged in order of most commonly used tabs.

Winner: LifeLock

There’s a pretty small difference here, as both are very good, but LifeLock edges it out in this category.

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Monitoring and Alerts: Winner – IDShield

Between IDShield vs LifeLock, this is sort of a battle of quality versus quantity. IDShield offers much better monitoring in many ways, but LifeLock offers more types of monitoring.

IDShield is what I like to call a “basic protection” identity theft protection service. They cover the core, important types of identity monitoring. These include:

  • Data breach and dark web monitoring
  • Social security number monitoring
  • Social media monitoring
  • Credit monitoring
  • Bank account monitoring
  • Payday loan monitoring

This covers maybe 70% to 80% of all potential types of identity fraud, and at least helps to keep an eye on the other 20% to 30%. Within the bounds of these monitoring types, IDShield is one of the best on the market, standing toe to toe with the absolute best in the industry, like Identity Guard.

Their monitoring is exceptionally fast, and provides a lot of accurate, detailed readouts for any identity alerts it comes across.

LifeLock, on the other hand, is very slow. That’s the primary failing for LifeLock. While their information is accurate, it takes them longer to come to a conclusion than other services, which means on average you’re going to be receiving alerts a day or two after another service would have alerted you. Sometimes up to a week in my tests.

On the flipside though, it offers a lot more monitoring types than IDShield, adding the more niche identity monitoring elements like home title monitoring (an absolute necessity for any homeowner), alongside 401(k) and investment monitoring, which helps protect your retirement plans and other investments.

This means it’s going to come down to what kind of monitoring you need and your priorities. Obviously if you have a strong need or desire for those rarer identity theft alerts, LifeLock is the proper choice between the two. But if you don’t need them, IDShield provides a much higher quality of service that LifeLock cannot match.

Winner: IDshield

IDShield provides a much higher quality of service that LifeLock cannot match.

Threat Resolution: Winner – LifeLock

This one was another close call, but one of LifeLock’s biggest advantages wins it this category.

The bread and butter for any identity theft protection service is their customer support team. Not just the competence of employees, but their availability. You need to call these services for almost anything, from actual identity fraud events to canceling the service.

Over the course of your time with them, you’ll be interacting with customer support a lot.

So LifeLock having true 24/7 customer support is an amazing boon for them, and it’s surprisingly rare in the industry. You can get full support, any time of the day or night, with no reduction in service. And that is primarily what it brings to the table for threat resolution.

IDShield, meanwhile, is only available Monday through Friday, from 7 AM to 7 PM (Central time zone), which severely cuts down their usefulness.

Both have highly competent and friendly representatives, but it can be hard to get a hold of IDShield’s customer support when you really need it, and the potential, almost three-day wait if an emergency occurs late enough on a Friday evening can be a stressful prospect to think about.

On the bright side, IDShield does offer access to in-house private investigators if you ever do have an issue, which does help mitigate the drawback of their availability, but I don’t think it quite makes up for the fact that you sometimes can’t reach them when you need to.

As a result, LifeLock is a strong winner here.

Winner: LifeLock

So LifeLock having true 24/7 customer support is an amazing boon for them, and it’s surprisingly rare in the industry. You can get full support, any time of the day or night, with no reduction in service. And that is primarily what it brings to the table for threat resolution.

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Additional Services: Winner – LifeLock

No contest here. Additional services are, in many ways, the focus of LifeLock, as LifeLock is essentially meant to be a total cybersecurity package.

As a result, it comes with the use of Norton’s pretty solid antivirus program, a decent VPN, and a smattering of PC health tools (of admittedly dubious value) that help sweeten the deal for the service.

IDShield doesn’t have much of note. Their member perks system is neat in concept, but essentially boils down to a smattering of coupons for major brands that you’re probably not going to get a ton of use out of.

It’s reminiscent of a free service like Honey, or those provided by many banks, which try to automate coupons via an app. Except all of those services are much, much better at it.

Likewise, I don’t really value their “reputation management” system, which scans for accounts that may be potentially associated with you so you can vet them for authenticity.

While an interesting concept, the execution is lacking, and I found the list rarely, if ever, populated with anything worth noting.

Winner: LifeLock

LifeLock provides a number of practical, useful services that are costly on their own merits and add to your overall internet health and protection. The best thing that can be said about IDShield’s additional services is that you aren’t forced to use them and once in a blue moon they could be mildly useful.

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Cost: Winner – LifeLock

This is a contest between two pretty bad options when it comes to cost effectiveness.

LifeLock is definitely the more expensive of the two. It is also, by a long shot, the most expensive service I’ve reviewed.

Individual Plans

Select
Advantage
Ultimate Plus
Price
Individual Monthly
Select
$8.99 /month
$107.88/year
Advantage
$8.99 /month
$107.88/year
Ultimate Plus
$26.99 /month
$323.88/year

Family Plans

Select
Advantage
Ultimate Plus
Price
Two Adults(monthly)
Select
16.99 /month
$203.88/year
Advantage
$29.99 /month
$359.88/year
Ultimate Plus
$41.99 /month
$503.88/year
Two Adults(annually)
Select
$14.99 /month
$179.88/year
Advantage
$24.99 /month
$299.88/year
Ultimate Plus
$34.99 /month
$419.88/year
Two Adults + 5 Kids (monthly)
Select
$23.99 /month
$287.88/year
Advantage
$36.99 /month
$443.88/year
Ultimate Plus
$48.99 /month
$587.88/year
Two Adults + 5 Kids (annually)
Select
$20.99 /month
$251.88/year
Advantage
$30.99 /month
$371.88/year
Ultimate Plus
$40.99 /month
$491.88/year

This cost, however, is justified by how much you get with the Advantage and Ultimate Plus plans (I’d stay far away from the Select plan, honestly). Great service, very wide breadth of monitoring, good accuracy (if a bit slow), and a plethora of other services on top.

IDShield, by contrast, is extremely good for what it is…but in my opinion way overpriced for what it offers compared to similarly competent, basic monitoring plans.

1 Bureau Credit Monitoring
3 Bureau Credit Monitoring
Price
Individual Monthly
1 Bureau Credit Monitoring
$13.95 /month
$167.40/year
3 Bureau Credit Monitoring
$17.95 /month
$215.40/year
Family
Select
$26.95 /month
$323.40/year
Advantage
$32.95 /month
$395.40/year

This, in part, comes down to what you can see there. Family protection costs twice as much as regular protection; there’s no bundled discount here. You can save a bit of money by using their 1 Bureau plan and shifting to a free credit report service (like Credit Karma) for your three bureau monitoring, but you still run into the issue of it costing slightly more than LifeLock’s family protection at the Advantage tier (which is LifeLock’s most competitively priced option).

So it’s difficult to recommend anything but IDShield’s 1 Bureau credit monitoring plan for a single adult.

If you want to protect your family, LifeLock is significantly more cost-efficient.

LifeLock provides a number of practical, useful services that are costly on their own merits and add to your overall internet health and protection. The best thing that can be said about IDShield’s additional services is that you aren’t forced to use them and once in a blue moon they could be mildly useful.

Winner: LifeLock

LifeLock provides a number of practical, useful services that are costly on their own merits and add to your overall internet health and protection. The best thing that can be said about IDShield’s additional services is that you aren’t forced to use them and once in a blue moon they could be mildly useful.

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Insurance: Winner – IDShield

Both of these services hit the top level of insurance, offering up to $1 million in reimbursement for lost funds and expenses, tracked as separate pools of money to draw from (so up to $1 million in each category).

The difference is that LifeLock only offers the full $1 million with its top tier plan, the Ultimate Plus option. The other options offer significantly less, with Select offering $25, 000 in lost funds reimbursement, and Advantage only offering $100, 000 of the same.

Both still cover $1 million in expenses, but it’s still worth noting.

While I dock IDShield points for being really vague about its insurance details and making them difficult to find for users (it’s easier to track down a succinct list of your benefits with LifeLock), it’s still the overall better choice, and a great option for one person to get cheap insurance that fully covers most fraud events.

Winner: IDShield

It’s still the overall better choice, and a great option for one person to get cheap insurance that fully covers most fraud events.

Choose an IDShield package plan that works for you.

Conclusion: Winner – LifeLock

LifeLock brings it home…by a hair. It’s really the cost comparison that does IDShield in. IDShield has one of the worst family plan options on the market, which is a shame given how important family coverage is when it comes to identity theft protection.

While LifeLock is deficient in a key area (the slowness of its monitoring), everything else is great, and that problem is manageable, especially given the better availability from customer support.

I will say if you’re considering buying LifeLock’s Advantage plan for just yourself, go with IDShield instead. It’s better and cheaper, especially if you go with the 1 Bureau credit monitoring option.

However if you require more niche monitoring (eg. home title monitoring) or family coverage, LifeLock is going to be the better choice of the two.

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