Feature-rich plans with A+ identity theft restoration support
Not to scare you, but the Internet can be a dangerous place. We divulge a ton of information online,1 from our names, addresses and telephone numbers to our debit and credit card information, Social Security and driver’s license numbers. In fact, we probably tell the Internet more about ourselves than our friends and family, which is why it’s essential to use a strong identity monitoring service. Identity monitoring keeps track of many different areas, from court records to payday loans, to ensure that we stay safe online and in the real world, and today we’re looking specifically at a service called IDShield.
It turns out the company has a pretty interesting backstory. Part of the legal services company LegalShield, their mission has always been about protecting people, ever since its founder, Harland Stonecipher, got into a car accident and faced expensive legal fees.2 With IDShield, LegalShield extends their mission from providing people with affordable legal representation to providing them with insurance for identity theft, which, if not covered, could result in thousands of dollars of losses. Let’s see if IDShield has what it takes to protect us in the digital landscape and beyond.
IDShield Pros and Cons
Here’s our favorite and least favorite things about IDShield:
What We Like
- Affordable plans for individuals and families: Plans start at just $12.95 a month, which is on par with other identity monitoring services.
- 30-day trial: Try IDShield for free; our credit card wasn’t charged until 30 days after we clicked purchase.
- Great coverage for identity and credit monitoring: From Social Security numbers to sex offender monitoring, IDShield covers everything we needed to protect our identities.
What We Don’t Like
- Based in the United States: As the company is based in Oklahoma, personal information could be handed over to the government under the jurisdiction of Five Eyes,3 Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes.
- Clunky setup: The user experience wasn’t the best when we signed up for IDShield.
IDShield Privacy and Security
IDShield is meant to protect us online, but who’s going to protect us from IDShield? Since the company is based in Oklahoma, that means they can pass over our information to the United States government by law, under very specific and unlikely circumstances. That’s because the good old U.S of A is part of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes alliances. Skipped history class? Those are international surveillance alliances that could force companies to hand over customer data. Now, keep in mind that every single service on our best identity monitoring list is based in the U.S, so IDShield isn’t unique in this way; however, if privacy is a number one priority, IDShield may not be the best option.
We also liked that they allowed us to use Touch ID on our iPhones when logging into the IDShield app.5 On top of that, we created a four-digit passcode, which made us even more secure. Basically, the only people accessing our IDShield app were authorized to do so.
Hot Tip: To keep your account safe, enable multi-factor authentication on your phone, requiring Touch or Face ID.
How Does IDShield Protect Your Identity?
Okay, so what are we paying for exactly? Primarily, IDShield monitored our identity and credit, which included monitoring for:
- Credit scores and reports: We invested in the Premium plan so we got updates from all three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and last but not least, TransUnion. We got our credit score monthly and an updated report annually.
- Social Security numbers: Believe us, someone else using our Social Security numbers isn’t a good thing. But fortunately, IDShield used what they call SSN Skip Trace to detect when someone besides ourselves is using our SSNs.
- Dark web monitoring: The dark web is where criminals buy and sell6 stolen passwords and usernames. IDShield scanned it to make sure we weren’t involved. Phew!
- Public records: Did you know that there are 78 billion public records in the United States? IDShield scans them for our personal information, which, if we entered it all, amounts to 34 different pieces of data, from our names to our addresses to our Social Security Numbers.
- Court records: On top of that, the U.S also has over 350 million court records, all of which IDShield monitored to make sure our info didn’t show up. These areas included local, state and federal courts, the Department of Corrections and more, resulting in comprehensive criminal coverage.
- PayDay loans: If someone tried to get money quickly using our information, IDShield was on it, monitoring payday, online and rent-to-own loans.
- Username and password: Once we created our IDShield usernames and passwords, the company made sure they weren’t anywhere else online.
- High-risk applications: If anyone opened a new account using our information, like a bank account, IDShield would let us know.
- Address changes: Someone trying to get our mail? Not so fast. IDShield monitored the U.S Postal Service to make sure we’d get alerted if anyone requests to change our addresses using our names.
- Child monitoring: We didn’t sign up for the family plan, but if we did, we’d get the same identity monitoring features as we got in our adult subscription.
- Sex offenders: This isn’t something we want to think about, but it’s great that IDShield told us exactly where the sex offenders in our neighborhood lived, along with some useful information about them. Now we know when to cross the street and when to keep walking on our path.
- Telecom: Most identity monitoring services don’t include this feature. IDShield monitored phone records, over 1.5 billion, to be exact, to see if anyone is redirecting our phone number to another number or if another account opens up with our information. Especially if you have a landline, this feature is super useful.
- Social media: We’re on social media, which was why it was such a relief that IDShield scanned our accounts for risks, which included illicit language or other information that could be potentially damaging to our reputations. Coverage extended to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, the major social media platforms.
Aside from that, IDShield took it a step further with features that didn’t only make us safer, but also got rid of some of the junk in our lives, literally:
- Solicitation reduction: Junk mail and telemarketing calls may just seem like minor annoyances, but they can contain a lot of our personal information. So, IDShield does their best to reduce them significantly. We found that our voicemails and physical mailboxes were much less cluttered after signing up for their service!
- Deleting data brokers: You may not be aware of it, but websites like Whitepages and Spokeo contain tons of personal information, which they then sell to third parties, mostly for advertising purposes. If you don’t believe us, just Google your name and see what comes up! After we bought IDShield, however, our personal information was removed from these types of websites, otherwise known as data brokers.
- Medical data reports: Some more information we’d like to stay private? Our medical data. IDShield had our back, scanning medical data reports for false or even fraudulent info.
- Anti-bullying protection: Only included in family plans, IDShield helps protect kids against cyberbullying, which affects about 37% person of kids in the U.S from ages 12 to 17.7
- Reputation management: Got some NSFW pictures online leftover from your college days? IDShield is on the case, managing our online reputation, which is going to be really useful if we ever need to apply for another job.
- Unlimited consultation: If we had any questions or concerns at all, IDShield’s identity theft specialists were available for as much time as we needed.
- Licensed private investigators: IDShield, like every identity monitoring service, can’t completely prevent identity theft from occurring. So, if it happens, they’ll help us out, giving us private investigators, licensed and based in the United States, that will help us get our identities back. These investigators are available at all times, even in the middle of the night and Christmas. Talk about full coverage!
- $1 million protection policy: Aside from support, we got an identity theft insurance policy that could reimburse us for up to a million dollars if our identities were stolen. This coverage is the standard maximum, so we’re glad to see that IDShield offers competitive policies.
- Lost wallet support: Finally, if we ever lose our wallets, our investigators can help with that, as well, making sure our identities are protected.
All of these features are exactly what we look for in an identity monitoring service, covering everything from criminal areas like court records to our financial accounts. But how much did it set us back?
IDShield Subscription Options
|Individual||Individual||Family (up to 2 adults and 10 children)||Family (up to 2 adults and 10 children)|
|Credit Bureaus Monitored||Transunion||Transunion, Equifax, Experian||Transunion||Transunion, Equifax, Experian|
|Social Security Number||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Dark Web Monitoring||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Public Records Monitoring||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Court Records Monitoring||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|PayDay Loan Monitoring||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Username and Password||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|High-Risk Application Monitoring||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Address Change Monitoring||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Sex Offender Monitoring||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Social Media Scanning||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Delete Data Brokers||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Medical Data Reports||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Licensed Private Investigators||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Credit Score Tracking and Reporting||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|24/7 Emergency Assistance||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|$1 Million Protection Policy||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Lost Wallet Support||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Length of Free Trial||30||30||30||30|
IDShield’s subscription options are very straightforward, with coverage for either a single adult, which we went with, or coverage for an entire family, which includes two adults and up to 10 children. The only choices other than coverage was how many credit bureaus were monitored, just TransUnion or TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
For the most coverage, we went for all three, which only cost us $17.95 a month, pretty average compared to other companies. Of course, they didn’t charge us for the first month, which was a nice way to try the service out. And we think the family prices, starting at $25.95 a month, were also reasonable, especially considering how many people they cover. For a family of 12, that’s only a little over two dollars per month per person! To learn more, read our IDShield pricing page.
FYI: IDShield offers a free 30-day trial with all of its subscriptions, so there’s no risk to trying it out.
Our Experience Using IDShield
Getting started with IDShield involved selecting the plan; again, we went with the three-bureau monitoring for one adult, which includes a 30-day free trial. Then, we entered in some contact information (our names, addresses, email addresses, birthdays, phone numbers, and the last four digits of our Social Security numbers), before creating usernames and passwords and putting our credit card in (which won’t be charged until a month from now).
Next, it was time to actually “activate our protection” to use the company’s words.
Although IDShield provided links for the mobile apps, we decided to first set everything up on our laptop, as it’s easier for us to type, but we’ll get to the app in a bit.
In order to activate our account, we needed to enter a confirmation number sent to our email, which took a few minutes to come through. The membership number was really tiny, but after a few seconds, we found it at the top of the email. After confirming our last name and ZIP code, we thought we had finally entered IDShield’s dashboard to set up our account, but again, we had to verify our email address, which was a tiny bit annoying as we just did this. But alas, we were brought to a new window that had us create some security questions and answers as well as a few verification questions to confirm our identities. And bam, we were on the dashboard!
From there, we set up social media monitoring, allowing IDShield access to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.
We also set up sex offender monitoring by entering our address, which again, they already had, so it was unclear why we had to “activate” it again.
Overall, the setup process was a bit tedious with IDShield, especially having to toggle back between multiple windows and our email inbox.
As far as actually using IDShield on a day to day basis went, we had no issues. When we wanted to check-in, the home page’s overview section told us all the information we needed to know, namely that no identity threats were detected. Checking our credit score was also simple, and we like how they track it over time in a rainbow-colored chart.
Although the setup process was a bit cumbersome, IDShield is easy to use on a day-to-day basis.
The IDShield App
Of course, we’re not always at our desktop computer. Sometimes we wanted to monitor our identities and credit scores on the go, so we downloaded the IDShield app from the App store. Once we got logged in, we turned on Touch ID as well as made a four-digit passcode, which made sure that we were the only ones logging in. After skipping an app tutorial, we found ourselves on the home page with two new alerts.
When we clicked on the alerts, we found that we had to activate social media and sex offender monitoring again.
Since we already did this on the desktop version, this felt a bit cumbersome, but it was easy to sync our social media with IDShield and enter an address from which to monitor sex offenders.
But aside from that, the app is easy to use, with all of the options located on the left-hand side tab.
We could easily access our credit score and even a monthly tracker, as well.
So although using the IDShield app was a little redundant, it was straightforward and well-designed in general. Other IDShield customers seemed to agree with us, as the app has decent ratings on the Apple and Google Play stores, 3.9 and 4.3, respectively.
Excellent customer support is always important, but when it concerns your personal information online, it’s particularly crucial. With IDShield, we had a few different methods of contacting support, from online FAQs to live chat, phone, and email, available on their desktop site as well as their mobile application. Of course, having the prerequisite millennial social anxiety, we opted for live chat and were helped out within a few minutes. Overall, IDShield really seems to care about its customers, and their number of support options proves it!
We were very impressed with IDShield and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for comprehensive identity protection. Let’s break it down even further:
Why IDShield may be right for you
- Extensive coverage for individuals or families
- Affordable prices
- Great support
Why IDShield may not be right for you
- Extensive setup
- Member to surveillance alliances.
With IDShield on our phones and computers, we feel confident that even if our identities were stolen, we’d be safe in their capable hands.
Pew Research Center. (2016). Americans' opinions on privacy and information sharing.
IDShield. (2020). About IDShield. idshield.com/about
Office of the Director of National Intelligence. (2020). Five Eyes Intelligence Oversight and Review Council.
Apple App Store. (2020). ΙDShield Mobile App.
Sophos Home. (2019). What’s the Dark Web?
DoSomething.org. (2019). 11 Facts About Cyberbullying