When it comes to identity theft protection, one of the most important things out there is having a trusted name backing up the product. IDShield, at first, doesn’t look like one of these. Many other services either wear their backing on their sleeve (like Norton LifeLock) or have become a big name in their own right (like Identity Guard). Initially, IDShield doesn’t seem like one of those; it has a pretty generic name after all.
But being backed by Legal Shield gives it a bit more credibility, enough to open the door into looking into it further…and anyone that does will find they’ve come across one of the best identity theft protection services on the market for the cost.
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Why Should You Trust Us?
We use a simple but comprehensive process to test each of our products. At every stage we approach things exactly how you would as a normal user. We shop for deals, and if any are readily available (and don’t expire) we factor those into the rating.
Then we sign up and go through the usual processes with our test information. From there we wait, and see if any alerts come up.
After we’ve used the service for a while (about a month on average) we give the service ratings based on a number of criteria:
- Monitoring and alerts
- Threat resolution
- Ease of Use
- Additional services
These are ordered based on importance, with the top three of these criteria making up the bulk of the service’s final score, and the rest serving as nice little extras (and tiebreakers in comparisons). Monitoring is, in particular, a huge focus. If a service falls short on the power of its monitoring, nothing can really make up for that. Especially poor monitoring is considered a death knell for a service even if it might otherwise be best in class at everything else.
Considering its long history and pedigree, IDShield comes out to be one of the top providers of ID theft security. Although it is on the more expensive side starting at $12.95 a month, however, the level of security is right up there along with extensive credit monitoring depending on the plan you choose. The only downside seems to its complicated cancellation process, which requires you to write an email or request cancellation through regular mail. All in all, it is a great option for digital security if paying a bit extra is not an issue for you.
Why Get Identity Theft Protection?
In the modern day, online world, identity theft is fast becoming one of the leading threats for people of all walks of life. With the rise of the internet being something everyone uses on a daily basis, scams of all types (both variants on the “classics” and new varieties) are common enough that navigating emails and websites is almost like navigating a minefield.
In that same vein, consider an identity theft protection service to be your minesweeper, alerting you to potential threats and giving you advice on which paths to take to avoid greater troubles down the line.
Having identity theft protection is a necessity for anyone who has assets they want to protect, whether it’s just their bank accounts or something more, like a home or their long-term investments.
|Ease of Use||8/10|
|Monitoring and Alerts||9/10|
Ease of Use: 8/10
IDShield takes a minimalist approach with its website that continues to be on display after you log in.
Most of your time will be spent on their dashboard, which looks like this:
Everything you really want to see is up front and easily available for the most part. The main difference between their dashboard and other sites is that IDShield is a bit clunkier on the whole. You need to click on each individual alert-type page to go to it and view alerts instead of them being available on a single alerts page, for instance.
But the tabs load quickly (no noticeable loading times with medium speed internet) and you do still get an at-a-glance accounting of what kinds of things need your attention, so all in all it gets the job done.
The site comes off as serviceable, but could do with some minor quality of life improvements.
While perhaps unfair, the main difference is that Zander’s site does not instill confidence in me. The fact that the site is poorly optimized and seemingly outdated suggests that their web security might likewise be stuck in the past. This is likely untrue, but part of what a service like this is supposed to provide is peace of mind. Their presentation doesn’t help with that in the slightest.
Monitoring and Alerts: 9/10
IDShield really knocks it out of the park in this category compared to what you might be expecting from a smaller, cheaper service like this.
Their relative lack of budget and focus compared to other services does show in a few areas, namely in the realm of monitoring breadth. IDShield offers a suite of monitoring tools that is equivalent to the middle tier of a lot of the huge name services out there (like LifeLock and Identity Guard), though it does so for a slightly lower cost, which is great.
But where it really shines is accuracy. This service found every single bit of test information I expected it to find, and it found them instantly. This is something only two other services I’ve tested have been able to do so quickly.
That makes IDShield a real outlier in the realm of identity theft protection. Their tools have some real oomph behind them, and they make IDShield possibly the safest “basic protection” service on the market to use.
Of course, that is if all you need is basic protection. Their suite of tools is pretty small, essentially only covering the core options:
- Data breach and dark web monitoring
- Social security number monitoring
- Social media monitoring
- Credit monitoring
- Bank account monitoring
- Payday loan monitoring
This, alongside a smattering of other less important services. This does cover a wide array of threats, but leaves you hanging when it comes to the more specialized monitoring tools many people might want, in particular 401(k) and investment monitoring (for those looking ahead to retirement) and home title monitoring (for homeowners).
Still, even with this deficiency I’m comfortable declaring IDShield to have some of the best monitoring on the market, so long as it covers all of your current needs.
Threat Resolution: 8/10
IDShield offers a pretty standard threat resolution package, with one major exception.
The meat of their package is access to their customer service, which is staffed by quite competent individuals. However, the problem lies in their hours: 7 AM to 7 PM (Central), Monday through Friday – only.
This makes them a bit hard to get a hold of in an emergency, especially as you’ll often only become aware of alerts once you’ve gotten home after work. They have no weekend availability, which in a worst case scenario, can make the wait between finding out about a problem just after closing on Friday and being able to call when they open on Monday a stressful one.
However, they do offer one huge tool to sweeten the pot: on call, in-house private investigators that every customer has access to for the purpose of finding out what has happened to compromise their identity (and maybe even who did it) so you can take informed steps to not only solve the current problem, but prevent future ones from springing up.
Overall I have no complaints about the effectiveness of their resolution services, only their availability. Otherwise this would have slightly higher marks.
Additional Services: 6/10
IDShield does offer a few additional services in the same theme as the main service: reputation management, and a member perks system.
Neither are ones I really value highly.
The member perks system requires a separate account that is shared with LegalShield and is essentially a glorified coupon book, similar to a service like Honey, or Capital One Shopping (most banks offer something similar). Much like the Capital One app or extension…I’m not impressed with it. It’s obtrusive and usually doesn’t turn up any deals that aren’t already prominently displayed on the page you’re looking at.
The reputation management tool is a bit more interesting, but of minor value as well. It will turn up accounts that seem to be associated with you, but accuracy seems to be spotty; not completely off but for some reason the only account it threw up for me to look at was one of my mother’s…from nearly a decade ago.
It also allows you to remove your data from data brokers on the web, but it does nothing to automate the process. IDShield in this case simply provides helpful walkthroughs for how to do so. It gets points for convenient placement, but it’s not exactly a unique benefit as you could look up how to do this on your own quite easily.
Ultimately neither of these tools is going to be a selling point for IDShield, but you won’t mind that you have them either, hence the lackluster grade.
IDShield, unlike most other services, really offers only one tier of coverage. While they have two separate plans, the only difference between them is that one has 3 bureau credit monitoring, and one only monitors a single credit bureau. Despite this, the price difference between the two is fairly hefty.
|IDShield||1 Bureau Credit Monitoring||3 Bureau Credit Monitoring|
Paying $4 extra a month for something you can get for free from a different service (like Credit Karma) is not recommended, and doesn’t seem like a good use of my money. Other services can get away with offering 3 bureau credit monitoring as a convenience feature in their higher tier plans because those plans also offer a lot more in terms of raw functionality. IDShield does not, and so their 1 bureau plan is by far the more cost-efficient option.
At that price, their individual 1 bureau credit monitoring plan is beyond excellent. The level of monitoring on offer is equivalent in breadth to the middle tier service plans of the bigger name products out there, and the monitoring is as good or even superior in some cases, for a lower cost than the average.
For those looking for basic coverage with real bite, you can’t do better.
The less said about their 3 bureau credit monitoring plan and the family plans though, the better. The service offers no appreciable discount for family coverage, making it equivalent to just paying for two individual accounts or you and your spouse.
The IDShield family plans end up being as expensive or MORE than the higher tier, more useful plans of the bigger names (like Identity Guard), which makes them completely unacceptable as a choice in my book. Even taken in a vacuum, these prices are very high for what IDShield offers, and are an insanely bad value.
If you’re still hesitant, you can try the IDShield’s free trial to experience the protection they can provide.
IDShield’s insurance is pretty much industry standard, but that is not at all a bad thing in this case given that the standard for the industry is pretty high.
IDShield offers a full $1 million in coverage for both lost funds (which they’ll reimburse you for) and for expenses like lost wages. The only issue is in how cagey IDShield is about the details and limitations of each aspect of their insurance.
Despite some rocky areas in its pricing (such as the terrible family plans) and minor hiccups with its site and dashboard layout, IDShield is a very good service for what it is. It offers extremely fast and accurate monitoring with some of the most powerful tools on the market being at your disposal.
This helps make up for the overall lackluster breadth of monitoring in comparison to larger services. This especially works out if you don’t own a home and aren’t currently too concerned about retirement or your investment accounts (if you even have any), since without those big ticket items on offer IDShield is free to keep their prices very low for how good the service is at what it does offer.
This is a service that slots in extremely well in comparison to the middle tier plans from other brands out there, and should be considered a superior alternative to most options on the market that offer the same types of monitoring they do for a higher cost.
The only way this would change is if you were enamored by certain additional services that many options offer, simply because IDShield does little to entice a customer besides the strength of their core monitoring and resolution tools.
Other Related Articles:
- IDNotifty Experian Reviews
- ID Watchdog ID Theft Protection – A Deeper Look
- IDShield Protection Services – Is It Really Legit?
- Is IDShield Worth Looking Into?
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