LegalShield Identity Theft Premium Review: Identity Theft Protection
|Somewhat pricey when compared to other services; complete restoration assistance; no insurance/guarantee or security software|
LegalShield is a good option for an identity theft protection service. The most valuable aspect of the service is that it includes complete good name restoration by legal professionals from Kroll Advisory Solutions. The service also actively monitors personal information on websites, chat rooms, forums and networks to catch suspicious activity before it turns into identity theft. The membership protects two adults, with limited monitoring of personal information, unlike top-rated services that offer unlimited monitoring.
Family and Individual Pricing
The Identity Theft Premium plan is a budget-friendly plan that protects two spouses for $24.95/month. Members are also charged a one-time membership fee of $10 when they sign up. LegalShield allows Identity Theft Premium plan members to add up to eight children under the age of 18 for $1/month per child. This plan is available in all 50 states.
LegalShield also offers a cheaper identity theft protection plan for $12.95/month with a one-time $10 membership fee called the Identity Theft Plan, and — unlike the Identity Theft Premium plan — this plan is available to all 50 states as well as parts of Canada. It's important to note that this plan does not compare to the ID Premium plan because, even though it offers some of the identity theft restoration features, it only provides members access to their credit report from Experian as well as only monitors the Experian credit file. We found the ID Premium plan to be a much more valuable service.
The signup process is very different than all the other identity theft protection service we review because your identity theft protection doesn't begin the moment you sign up — yet LegalShield does give you the contact information for your legal firm that will serve as advisors for identity theft prevention tips. Instead you pay for the service and provide the information for your spouse as well as your dependents, you may add up to eight, then wait two business days for LegalShield to process your membership.
After two business days, you'll receive an email that lets you know that your membership is active. That email informs you that you'll receive more membership information — membership number, cards, contracts and other information — in the mail. One week after we signed up we received the information. Unlike the email stated, we only received a membership card with our membership number on it. The card includes a phone number to call in the event that identity theft has occurred. Attached to the card was information about how to register your membership on the LegalShield website. Once you register your membership number and create an online username and password, you can register all your personal information for LegalShield to monitor. LegalShield is the only identity theft protection service we review that requires written cancellation to terminate your membership.
Identity Theft Protection
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. This identity theft protection is divided into three categories called Web Watcher, Public Persona and Unlimited Consultation.
LegalShield's Web Watcher protection looks for use of your personal information on thousands of websites, chat rooms, forums and networks. It monitors your Social Security number, five bank accounts, five debit/credit cards, two phone numbers, two email addresses and two medical identification numbers for a couple. We found this to be limited because both individuals might not be able to add all their personal information, unless all their bank accounts and credit cards are joint accounts. Unlike LegalShield's limited monitoring, TrustedID's family plan monitors an unlimited number of accounts and other personal information as well as protects an unlimited number of people living at the same address.
Public Persona protects your identity by monitoring public record databases for names, aliases and addresses that are associated with your Social Security number. It also monitors for changes with any of this information associated with your Social Security number and will alert you of any possible fraud or changes to any records, including address changes.
The final aspect of LegalShield's identity theft protection is Unlimited Consultation, which allows you to get unlimited identity theft consultation with a licensed investigator from Kroll. 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. By contacting an investigator, you can also request lost wallet assistance, a Social Security number scan through a database of more than 34 billion public records and a sex offender search to verify a sex offender isn't using your personal information or annual credit report assistance.
If you choose to add your children to your Identity Theft Premium plan, LegalShield will monitor your child's Social Security number and name. You do also have the option to add your child's email address or phone number to the Web Watcher monitoring, however we found that this wasn't too practical considering the plan only monitors two email addresses and phone numbers for the whole family.
Similar to our other reviewed identity theft protection services, LegalShield 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.
Credit Report Monitoring Information
LegalShield actively monitors all three credit reports — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax — however it only automatically gives you online access to your TransUnion credit report and score. You get a complete breakdown of your TransUnion credit report including factors, which explain why your score is what it is, a summary of your credit report, including a list of all the types of credit accounts you have, as well as other credit report information. We found this interactive tool to be very helpful, yet lacking because it only included the TransUnion credit report. You can request all 3 credit reports once each year or one credit report every 120 days.
As part of the credit report monitoring, LegalShield 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.
We found LegalShield's customer service representatives to be very helpful and easy to contact. They can be reached by phone from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday. You can also contact customer service representatives via email.
Identity Theft Assistance
Unlike our other reviewed identity theft protection services, LegalShield does not offer an insurance, guarantee or warranty. However even without the insurance, LegalShield still offers solid identity theft assistance and restoration. If you become a victim of identity theft while you're a member of LegalShield, Kroll investigators will completely assist you throughout the restoration process. LegalShield offers Kroll's limited Power of Attorney, which you will sign and notarize, that allows them 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.
Overall LegalShield is a good option for identity theft protection, however we did find it lacking in terms of active monitoring — especially since the membership protects both spouses and limits the number of items it can monitor. The value of this service lies in the identity theft assistance which will assist you in the event that you're a victim of identity theft.
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