You probably know that millions of fraud cases are reported every year in America, but did you know the pandemic is actually making things worse? It’s opened up more opportunities for bad actors to take advantage of innocent people.1 So now more than ever it’s important to be proactive about protecting your identity. Fortunately, you have quite a few options to safeguard your most sensitive information.
With this in mind, we were excited to try out IDShield’s identity theft, credit monitoring, and reputation protection services. Like many services on the market, IDShield gives you standard fare like credit bureau monitoring and dark web surveillance, but they really stand out for their perks and add-ons, which now include a suite of brand new privacy tools like a malware blocker to protect you against ransomware, a VPN, and a password manager. That’s in addition to their award-winning restoration services.
We’re going to share with you our full hands-on experience with ID Shield, but before we drill down into specifics, let’s take a quick look at IDShield’s pros and cons.
First things first… we needed to purchase a plan. Note that IDShield offers four different service levels:
We went with the three-bureau individual plan for $19.95 per month, but it’s nice to know that if we ever wanted to add a kiddo to our plan, we could switch over to a family rate and have everyone covered.
Pro Tip: Family rates are pretty common with identity theft protection services. If you’re looking to protect your loved ones, there are plenty of family plans to choose from.
Just to give you an idea of what these price points mean, IDShield is actually at the lower end of the spectrum. A premium service from LifeLock will run you about $30 per month, while a more budget-friendly basic service from Identity Guard will only set you back $9 monthly.
Then you’ve got middle-of-the-road plans from IdentityForce for about $24 monthly. These are some of our top-rated identity theft brands, but all of these services have pros and cons, so it’s best to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best protection for your money.
With this in mind, have a look at our latest roundup of IDShield’s plans and pricing.
|Credit Monitoring||1 Bureau||3 Bureau||1 Bureau||3 Bureau|
We found the initial sign up process to be relatively pain-free and pretty intuitive, but there were a couple of friction points to note.
We started by visiting IDShield’s website. We were greeted with a clean, well-designed site that clearly articulated all of their services, highlighting their continuous monitoring and availability of support staff. So far, so good! There’s also an informative 90-second video that previews everything our plan offered — we really recommend watching this.
Once we were comfortable with our understanding of the service, we selected our plan and we were off to the races. At checkout, IDShield gave us what amounted to an itemized receipt, summarizing all of the services we were purchasing. This was a relief, as it’s pretty easy to get lost in the weeds with all of the features these packages tend to offer.
We were also glad to see that IDShield offers a free 30-day trial (we’re always looking out for free trials). Free trials take the edge off the purchase and allow you to try out the service without being married to it. It’s a big deal, but note that most ID theft protection services offer some type of trial or guarantee these days.
Once we locked in our plan, the first thing IDShield asked us to do was create our account by giving them some pretty standard information like our email address, our physical location, and our social security number.
Pro Tip: On this signup page, you’ll be given your member number. It’s helpful to either write this down or take a screenshot of it so you can easily access your account later on different devices.
Once we finished there, we ended up on a purchase confirmation page, and the next steps weren’t super clear. About halfway down the page, there was a button that said “activate protection” that we needed to click to fully activate the service we purchased. So keep an eye out for this button.
After clicking that, we were asked to verify our email address by clicking through on a message sent to us. The email ended up in our spam folder, so make sure you check there before you get too frustrated thinking the email didn’t send.
We were then prompted to further secure our account using three security questions. This is pretty standard for these services, although we have to say some of the provided questions were pretty entertaining. First kiss? Oh, sigh. We haven’t thought about that in years.
Once our questions and answers were set, we were prompted to log into our account. But first, we were asked to enter our member ID number, which we didn’t realize had been provided a few screens back. If you end up in this predicament, it’s no big deal. Just click on “already have an account” and you can log in using your email address and the password you created.
Pro Tip: For maximum security, your password should be over 12 characters long, using a mix of letters and symbols. Also, avoid common words like “password” and “security.”2
And there you have it! Within 5 minutes our IDShield set up was complete, at which point we navigated to our dashboard where we could fiddle with the knobs and dials of our new protection plan. Let’s get into all those features in-depth now. We think you’ll like what we found.
First off, we loved the functionality and intuitive nature of IDShield’s dashboard. All of our features and services were at our fingertips, and nothing felt overwhelming or out of place. There’s a logical flow that tells us IDShield really put some consideration into designing their user experience. We’ve used plenty of ID theft protection services, and we must say, this was a breath of fresh air.
Note that the dashboard is split up into two categories: credit monitoring and identity monitoring. Each category has elements that we needed to set up, so let’s quickly walk through that now.
First off, we wanted to address everything in our notifications window. That meant setting up our financial account monitoring, our social media monitoring, and our sex offender monitoring.
The first was easy enough. We entered our banking credentials and selected the accounts we wanted to monitor. We really liked how easy the service was to customize — by clicking “edit thresholds” we were able to set exactly how and when IDShield would alert us. For instance, we were able to set up alerts to be notified when a transaction occurred for $250 or more on our credit card. This is a great feature that many services simply don’t offer.
These alerts work really well. After setting them up, we started to get notifications when large purchases were made on our credit cards or when one of our account balances got a little low. Granted, we weren’t notified of anything we weren’t aware of, but it was reassuring to know that if someone was using our accounts without our permission, we’d know about it immediately.
Next, we set up our social media monitoring. Again, we were pleased to find this service was highly customizable as well. After linking our Facebook account with their third-party vendor ZeroFOX, we were able to select exactly what IDShield would monitor for under the “custom social media settings” tab.
After looking at the options, we went with the recommended settings for an adult individual, excluding things like profanity and explicit content. However, if we were monitoring a minor’s account, we could see how turning these options on would be beneficial.
Finally, we set up our sex offender monitoring. This service gave us a list of registered sex offenders near our home address, and the monitoring tool gave us the location of the offender, what they were charged with, and their image. Luckily, we only had three living in a one-mile radius. Although it didn’t happen while we were using the service, IDShield said we would receive an alert if a new registered offender relocated nearby.
Once we were done with that, we noticed in the notifications area that IDShield found some exposure of our personal data on the Internet. Uh oh — better look into that.
Luckily, all of our exposures were pretty common; mostly they were issues having to do with our user name on various websites. By looking through the information on the types of monitoring IDShield is performing, we understood that these exposures weren’t necessarily a problem, but it’s reassuring to know they’re keeping an eye on it for us.
After reviewing these exposures, we were done with all the items in our notifications window. Now we could drill down into setting the rest of the service to our linking.
The first place we started was entering more of our sensitive information into the Internet and Dark Web monitoring section. Note that the Dark Web is vast, so we want to be extra safe in this regard.3 Here are the Internet and Dark Web monitoring options that ID Shield presented to us.
After that, we were ready to set up one of the marquee services of IDShield, their three-bureau credit monitoring. While their basic plan monitors Transunion, for 4 bucks more per month IDShield will watch all three — Transunion, Equifax and Experian. In our opinion, it’s more than worth it to kick in the extra cash for the added assurance that if anything is amiss with any reporting agency, we were going to know about it before it became too big of a problem.
To set up the credit monitoring service, we were first asked to answer three security questions. IDShield notes that some of these questions are purposefully deceptive, and to select the answer that is most appropriate, even if it’s “I don’t know.” For example, we never owned a 1993 Dodge pickup (sneaky, right?), so we selected “I have never been associated with this vehicle.”
Pro Tip: You have a limited number of tries on this, so make sure you answer correctly! If you get locked out, you won’t be able to try again for 7 days without calling IDShield.
Once we answered the questions, our credit monitoring was activated. On the dashboard we were able to see our credit score, and clicking on the monthly score tracker, we could see how our credit score changes over time. As you probably know, changes in your credit score is a key indicator of identity theft, and unanticipated changes need to be investigated. So we think you’ll like this feature.
Remember, with IDShield you’ll have access to 24/7 professional support as well as unlimited restoration services. While other services offer similar protections, we must say that’s significant peace of mind for less than $20 per month.
FYI: There are multiple types of credit scores out there. However, the most widely used are the FICO credit scores that are reported by the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.4
Once we had the credit monitoring set up, we wanted to explore some of IDShield’s bells and whistles. We started with Court Records Monitoring, which is a nice feature, but it’s not necessarily something we have to have.
This feature monitors our identity for new criminal activity, including citations, arrest records, traffic offenses, and felonies at the city, county, and state level. Luckily, nothing suspicious showed up in our name (phew!), but even if it did, IDShield says don’t fret. You see, the court records they recover can contain errors, especially if they’re older. What you really need to watch out for is an alert that is totally unrecognizable. If you see that, IDShield says you should call them immediately so they can start an investigation.
The same was true for IDShield’s public records monitoring service. The system scans public records for new addresses or phone numbers associated with our identity. While nothing showed up in this category for us, IDShield said we should only be concerned if there are multiple names or addresses that we didn’t recognize. We can vouch that this is pretty standard in the industry. Not every little finding is worth stressing over.
There are also a few perks to choosing IDShield, one of which is their new reputation management service. Think of this as a more robust version of their social media monitoring functionality. Do we think it’s important to have? Well, how important is your reputation to you?
We were able to connect to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts which were then analyzed for various descriptors — mostly looking for negative or offensive content. We mostly behave like perfect angels on social media, but we weren’t surprised that IDShield found a few posts we needed to review. Guess we need to tread lightly in comments sections from now on.
Did You Know: Very recently an assistant attorney general in Texas lost his job because of social media posts.5 Services like these can literally save your career!
As a subset of this service, IDShield offers help with managing your privacy on various social media channels. By clicking “view guide” we were able to select which platform we wanted to know more about. Since a lot of these are pretty obtuse in their privacy language, it was really helpful to get crystal clear instructions on how to best protect ourselves on these platforms.
Another benefit that comes with IDShield is their Member Perks program. Once we set up our account, we were provided various discounts with a myriad of retailers and services. Pretty nice!
Finally, now that everything was set up to our liking, we wanted to explore IDShield’s app a little. We’re not always sitting at our computer, so it’s helpful to know we’ll be alerted to specific activity on our smartphone if anything ever goes wrong.
When we first logged in, we were asked if we wanted to set up two-factor authentication. Once we selected our pin and provided our fingerprint, we were taken to a tutorial. We always appreciate a good tutorial. Even if a service is pretty straight-forward, a quick walkthrough always helps us orient ourselves. So we definitely recommend using it.
After swiping through the tutorial’s slides, we were happy to find the app was simple, clean, and well-designed. Sometimes with these services the app can feel like an afterthought, but it’s clear IDShield put some thought into theirs beyond just porting over their web-based dashboard.
On the home page, right there in the center, was our credit monitoring functionality. And in the menu tab, we could drill down into each individual monitoring function. We were able to set up our notifications there, too, so we were sure that we’d be aware of any suspicious activity. Overall, the app experience was exactly what we were looking for.
Overall, we were more than pleased with IDShield’s service. The website was easy to navigate, the app was intuitive, and the functionality was robust. While using IDShield we were confident in the company’s ability to monitor our identity, credit, and finances. And we were comforted knowing that if something happened, we’d be covered. That feeling of security is what we’re always looking for in these services, and IDShild never gave us a reason to second guess its capacities.
While it might not be our top pick for identity theft protection (that would be Identity Guard), we do think IDShield brings a lot to the table for a reasonable price. For a sub-$20 service, you really can’t go wrong here.
While IDShield doesn’t have a dedicated children’s plan, you can purchase a family plan, which covers up to 10 dependent children.
No, their individual plans start at as low as $12.95 per month (for single-bureau coverage).
Yes, IDShield’s premium plan offers triple-bureau credit monitoring, which we highly recommend.
Yes, when you sign up for IDShield, you can download their smartphone app, which is well designed and easy to use.
No. IDShield offers month-to-month service, allowing you to cancel at any time. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Eisenberg, R. (2020, September 8). Covid-19 Scams: From Identity Theft to Bogus Contact Tracers. Forbes.
Barack, L. (2020, September 23). 5 Best Password Security Tips Experts Want You to Adopt. GearBrain.
Pritchard, J. (2020, March 16). How Credit Scores Work and What They Say About You. The Balance.
Sheils, C. (2020, August 5). Enter the Deep & Dark Web If You Dare. Digital.
Goldenstein, T. (2020, September 11). Records: Texas Assistant AG Who Lost Job Over Tweets was Fired, Had Been Warned About Social Media. Houston Chronicle.
With a decade of experience as a journalist, Derek Prall has been covering cybersecurity for seven years. He has spent more than 1,000 hours researching digital privacy and has covered almost 100 topics related to VPN and identity theft protection. Previously, Derek has covered tech issues at American City & County magazine, where he won numerous national awards for his cybersecurity coverage. His areas of expertise included network security, big data analytics, and AI applications in public safety. Derek graduated with dual bachelor’s degrees in English and Communications from Furman University and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and two cats.