IDShield Identity Theft Protection Review
IDShield offers two plans, one for individuals and one for families. Both plans offer similar benefits, but the family plan covers two spouses and up to eight dependents while the individual plan covers just one person. The cost for the individual plan is $9.95/month, while the family plan costs $19.95/month. You can choose to pay on a month-to-month basis or for an entire year upfront; however, the cost remains the same no matter which you choose. The family plan costs a little more than most other services we review, but the individual plan is on par with the top-rated services.
The sign-up process is fairly simple, especially compared to the past when you had to wait several business days to activate your membership. After selecting your desired plan, you will be asked to provide personal contact information and create a username and password. During payment, you can choose between monthly or annual payments, as well as whether to pay with a credit/debit card or a bank account.
Once you are finished signing up, you can click to continue and activate your membership by completing the necessary personal information. This includes your social security number and some other identifying information. Following confirmation of your personal information, you will have to answer some verification questions to prove your identity and then you are free to log in. At this time, you can add data to be monitored, such as credit card numbers or email addresses or skip that for later and simply log into your account.
IDShield's website has recently been updated with a much nicer interface, however, it can still be a bit tricky to navigate. For example, in order to add your spouse, he or she must create an account using the membership number you were sent in your welcome email and replace the "M" at the end of the number with an "S." This process is not detailed on the website or in any of the emails we received after signing up, which made for a good deal of frustration as we searched for a way to add the second adult before giving up and calling customer service.
We were also frustrated by our initial attempt to access or change our account information. Clicking "Update Account Information" redirects you to LegalShield, where you'll be asked to create a second account in order to log in and change your information. Although we were told during our first call that we needed to wait until our account was fully processed, three days later we still couldn't gain access. It took multiple phone calls to figure out that users can't access or change their account settings themselves in the first place.
LegalShield offers good identity theft protection, however it is a little lacking when compared to the other identity theft protection services we review, especially in the number of personal accounts or information it monitors. On the Dashboard page, you can access the different feature categories from links at the top and view your quarterly TransUnion score tracker, alert summaries, monitored information and an address change notification map. The links at the top are divided into four categories: Privacy Monitoring, Security Monitoring, Licensed Investigators and Identity Resource Center.
Privacy Monitoring includes Internet Monitoring and Address Change Verification. IDShield will monitor your social security number, up to 10 bank accounts, up to 10 debit/credit cards, up to 10 phone numbers, up to 10 email addresses, up to 10 medical identification numbers, one driver's license and one passport. The main account holder can choose to add children's email addresses, phone numbers and insurance information to this section as well. Since each adult can have their own account, it's unlikely that most families will feel limited by the amount of information they can monitor. It will look for the use of this information on thousands of websites, chat rooms, forums and networks. You can add or edit this information on the Internet Monitoring page, as well as see any alerts and reports that have been generated regarding potential misuse.
The Address Change Verification page shows an 18-month address history for your name, complete with a map view of each address that turns up. This information is monitored through the USPS and is helpful to alert you in the event someone tries to change your address, a tactic often used by identity thieves.
Security Monitoring has links for Internet Monitoring (links to the same page), Court Records Monitoring (monitors for criminal acts committed in your name at city, county and state levels), Credit Monitoring (monitors for changes to your triple-bureau credit reports), Quarterly Score Tracker (detailed information about your TransUnion credit score history) and Payday Loan Monitoring (monitors for payday loans opened using your social security number). Each page includes a list of FAQs at the bottom related to the topic at hand, which is helpful, although we wish there was a central FAQ that could be searched as well.
Licensed Investigators includes four information pages about the different consultation and restoration services available to you as a member. These include About Your Investigators, Unlimited Consultation, Lost Wallet Protection and Full Service Restoration. IDShield provides unlimited identity theft consultation with a licensed investigator from Kroll, as well as comprehensive identity restoration in the event you become a victim of identity theft while enrolled in IDShield. These investigators can advise you on the best practices for keeping your personal information private, setting fraud alerts or credit freezes on your credit report, as well as assist you with any other questions or concerns you have about ways you can protect your identity. Unlike other services which allow you to store information for handy reference, IDShield's Lost Wallet page merely lists the different types of identification and documents that could be lost if your wallet is stolen and tells you what steps to take to cancel and restore them.
Instructions for opting out of marketing lists to help reduce the amount of junk mail you receive are also offered in the Identity Resource Center section. However, only a couple of links and instructions are provided and you must do the leg work yourself.
If you signed up for a family plan, you can protect the personal information of up to eight dependents through IDShield's Minor Identity Protection. Add your child's name, birth date and social security number, and IDShield will monitor public records for potentially fraudulent activity associated with their social security number and any unauthorized names, aliases or addresses that become associated with his or her name and birth date. If something is found, you will be notified and able to determine if it's a problem or not. You also have the option to protect your children's email addresses and phone numbers through the Internet Monitoring section; however, larger families may have difficulty considering the cap is 10 emails and 10 phone numbers per account.
There is a free app for Android and iPhone users available to check your IDShield account on the go, which is advertised prominently on the dashboard. The app allows you to access your dashboard from your mobile device, call your IDShield advisor and contact emergency services.
Similar to our other reviewed identity theft protection services, IDShield sends you alerts in the instance that it notices anything suspicious or out of the ordinary. The alerts can be received via email or text message. However, we couldn't find a way to change the settings for receiving alerts like with most other services.
IDShield only monitors your credit reports from TransUnion, providing a full breakdown of your credit report. The Quarterly Score Tracker can be viewed on the dashboard home page as well as within the Security Monitoring section. It shows a quarterly log of your credit score from the time you enrolled with IDShield, along with an explanation of your credit score history. Since this only shows your TransUnion score, it's an all right tool to get an idea of where you are but doesn't provide the full picture of your credit.
The Identity Resource Center has a link with instructions on how to request your free credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com, and users can contact IDShield for assistance through the process.
As part of the credit report monitoring, IDShield will alert you if there is any activity on your credit report, including a new credit inquiry, new trade line, new derogatory items, new public records or a change of address. Only the two adults on the account will receive credit report monitoring.
IDShield offers a $5 million service guarantee that promises it will spend up to that much to help recover and restore your identity, should you become a victim of identity theft while enrolled. The restoration and identity theft assistance offered through Kroll is certainly worthwhile. If you become a victim of identity theft while you're a member of IDShield, Kroll investigators will assist you throughout the entire restoration process. IDShield offers Kroll's limited Power of Attorney, which you will sign and notarize, that allows it to restore your good name on your behalf. The investigators can make phone calls on your behalf, issue fraud alerts to all three credit reports and contact with your financial institutions and credit card companies.
It's important to note that in order for the investigators to act on your behalf, you'll have to sign a limited Power of Attorney, provide a police report and Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Affidavit, proof of identity and possibly other information, depending on the identity theft.
We found IDShield's customer service experience to be overwhelmingly frustrating. Customers are offered phone assistance Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT. During our multiple attempts to contact IDShield, we experienced long hold times and once called to find the call center was closed during business hours for a company meeting. The representatives are also not as helpful or knowledgeable as we would have liked.
IDShield's website is also difficult to navigate and not as informative as it could be. There are FAQs on each page pertaining to the specific information or feature on that page, but no central, searchable FAQ so you can find specific information you're looking for. Our inability to properly access and update our account and billing information was disappointing, as this is something most other services allow customers to do from the website without having to make a phone call each time.
Overall IDShield is a decent option for identity theft restoration, and the pricing is on par with other services, however we did find it lacking in terms of information and credit monitoring. The value of this service lies in the identity theft assistance and restoration from Kroll, which will assist you in the event that you're a victim of identity theft. However, the disorganization of the website and poor customer service can make using IDShield a frustrating experience.
|Fraud Monitoring:||Monitors TransUnion credit report, credit/debit cards, emails, phone numbers, SSN, bank accounts, driver's license, passport, insurance cards, change of address|
|ID Theft Insurance/|
|$5,000,000 service guarantee|
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