- Mobile apps are well-designed
- Easy to use
- Easy to sign up for
- At under $10 each month, it is pretty low cost
- Manages to cover a wide range of security and privacy concerns
- Customer service options are limited
- No refunds
- No free trial
- Lack of a yearly subscription package option
IDShield provides a lot of value for users who are in need of security monitoring.
There are tons of features that they can use to benefit themselves
The product itself is low-cost and offers both family and individual subscription plans.
However, the user will have to take a bit of risk while signing up for IDShield review because it does not offer any refunds and/or free trial.
This makes IDShield an option that the user needs to become absolutely sure about before even thinking about a purchase.
IDShield full review
Online consumers are becoming concerned about their online identity and identity theft.
And the reason is simple.
The number of incidents where an online consumer has lost his/her identity online is on the rise.
We, as a community, should have the sense to understand that the increase in the number of identity thefts is increasing thanks (and in no small part) to the increase in the number of online data breaches per year.
This is also the reason why the number of identity theft online protection services is also growing.
As an identity theft protection service, IDShield, came into the general market back in 2010.
More specifically though, it came as an offshoot to the older company called LegalShield.
LegalShield, back in the day, was a company that provided pre-paid legal services.
Now, IDShield is a service provider that offers a rather beefy set of security features and that too at an eye-raising-low cost especially when we compare it to some of its closest competitors in the field such as Identity Guard and IdentityForce.
So the only question that remains is whether IDShield has enough about it for users to count on it to offer them an equally impressive level of identity theft protection service as its competition but only at a cost that comes close to rock-bottom.
As mentioned before as well, the first thing that potential users would notice about IDShield is that how low-cost of an online solution it is.
This is the main feature that the company makes use of to lure in the potential customer.
In other words, it is an immediate draw.
Basically, IDShield offers users a total of three basic protection packages.
They come in the form of,
- IDShield Family
- IDShield Individual
- IDShield Canada
This package is designed for those users who not only want to cover themselves but also want to cover their partner/spouse and/or up to a total of 8 other dependents.
The package itself costs around $24.95 per month.
Users should also keep in mind that currently the prices are meant for subscribers living in the US only.
The company has designed this package to enable users to cover just themselves with a complete ID theft protection system starting at just $9.95 per month.
Again, this option is for US subscribers only.
This is the more of a lightweight ID theft protection option for residents of Canada.
The package includes restoration services as well as a basic privacy monitoring feature.
This package costs around $12.96 per month.
Readers do not need us to tell them how cheap that is especially when compared to the rest of the competition.
IDShield can also boast about shirking three other common business practices that a lot of other online identity theft protection services regularly employ.
The first of these practises is offering a free trial.
A good number of security products come with a free trial.
Not, IDShield though.
Users have no option but to pay the company a full month’s subscription fee in order to use the service and test it out.
After that, the user can determine if he/she likes what IDShield is offering or not.
The second practice IDShield does not follow is the fact that it does not offer users any yearly plans which come with a discount
This is another departure from the industry’s standard practice.
Users who are interested in IDShield can only subscribe for a monthly plan and nothing else.
Finally, the company does not take the pains to offer users an official refund policy.
That is strange as well.
If users go through a quick search and see the company’s official Terms and Conditions of service document, it should reveal that the company does not even make a mention of the word that even closely resembles the word ‘refund’.
Moreover, even if the user cancels his/her subscription package immediately after he/she has signed up for the service, the user would still not manage to get rid of the hook for a complete month’s payment.
It doesn’t matter which of the two subscription plans that the user signs up for.
Because the company offers the same set of features for each subscription plan.
The more expensive IDShield family subscription plan just extends all the features to cover an increased number of users.
One more thing that readers need to keep in mind is that each of the given US-based plans comes with a basic set of online theft protection features such as,
- Child monitoring service which is only available in the IDShield Family subscription plan.
- Event-driven consultation support
- Identity consultation services
- IDShield vault password manager
- Identity restoration
- Social media monitoring
- Privacy monitoring
- Security monitoring
- Payday loan monitoring
- Monthly credit score tracker
- Credit inquiry alerts
- Credit monitoring
- Court records monitoring
- Address change verification
- Alerts and notifications
Needless to say, that is a long list of features.
And we haven’t even listed them all.
However, readers should understand that the Canada version of IDShield does not offer users the majority of the features which we have mentioned above.
More specifically though, the IDShield Canada version only comes with,
- Basic security monitoring
- Basic privacy monitoring
- Identity restoration services
- Identity consultation services
- Credit report disclosures
Our research shows that the IDShield service actually combines a solid mixture of automated and human elements in order to monitor various user accounts for various suspicious activities.
The majority of the tasks that this service has to perform which involve monitoring something are performed by the installed automated systems
These automated systems have the ability to scrape the online world for more information and more easily when compared to a human.
IDShield also does a good job of highlighting its various consultation services which connect real case managers to subscribers
We have also come to know that even though the majority of the service and its features are attributed to the IDShield service, but the actual service only exists as a joint effort between Kroll and LegalShield.
LegalShield is the company that owns IDShield.
While Kroll is an information and cybersecurity assurance company.
As a result of that, the major portion of what the user is likely to get in terms of features and services related to ID theft would be sourced via Kroll
On a side note, perhaps this is a good time to mention the fact that Kroll has established itself in the online identity theft protection business for over 20 years now.
Moreover, it is fully accredited by the official Better Business Bureau.
Apart from that, it also has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
All the while, it is also true that LegalShield has offered its services in the same business for over 40 years now.
But it has done so under different names.
The Better Business Bureau has accredited LegalShield with an A+ rating as well.
As far as customer reviews from Better Business Bureau are concerned, LegalShield has managed to earn a respectable 3 out of 5 stars.
IDShield advertises a number of primary services to its users such as,
- Consultation services
- IDShield Vault
- Identity restoration
- Social media monitoring
- Privacy monitoring
- Security monitoring
An odd fact (even though a positive one) about IDShield is that it provides various members with discounts when they are shopping at specific locations.
Users of IDShield have the option of getting discounts whenever they shop at locations such as,
- Verizon Wireless
- Brooks Brothers
There are lots of other places included in the list as well but we won’t mention them here.
Readers should also know that there is MEMBERPerks program as well which offers users thousands of available discounts.
Privacy and security monitoring
The official IDShield Security Monitoring feature essentially encompasses a vast portion of what the user is likely to get via the IDShield service.
This component of the overall IDShield feature includes notifications and alerts.
Along with that, it also includes payday loan monitoring, court records monitoring and all the other features which are distinctly tied to the user’s personal information security.
But perhaps the most critical elements that this online identity theft protection service monitors on each given user’s’ behalf are,
- Bank account numbers
- Credit card numbers
- General information which may or may not be tied to the user’s financial transactions or required for the financial transactions to go through.
The main goal of the Security and Privacy Monitoring feature of IDShield is to first check against all black market services and websites that usually sell user data.
This may sound like a standard procedure thing but consider this:
IDShield is able to monitor,
- Social media feeds for sold and stolen data
- P2P networks
- Chat rooms
IDShield also makes sure to check things like the user’s,
- date of birth,
- email address (users can add up to 10 email addresses),
- phone numbers (also up to 10 different phone numbers)
- Driver’s license numbers
- Any other information that the user wants.
IDShield checks for all of these to know if someone has posted it at an online forum for sale.
If the systems in IDShield service find something on the user, they would notify the user with the help of an alert that the system generates
Social media monitoring
Now, we have already mentioned the fact that part of what IDShield Privacy Monitoring feature does is that it checks the online world to make sure that the user’s personal information along with other information is not made available on various social media platforms online.
However, it also includes a feature which acts as a separate monitor for any and all social media activity with regards to the user’s information.
Users have the option of specifying which of the social media networks that they want IDShield to cover.
Then the service can move to check the related posts for the user’s information.
Not only that, IDShield components also check social media comments and images.
They also check other types of interactions on social media which might list or use information that could potentially identify other people.
IDShield has designed the social media monitoring feature to primarily check for related reputational risks.
For example, it checks for images, comments, posts that might hurt the user’s personal reputation.
Our research shows that this feature alone makes IDShield the ideal solution for people on the job market who may have various concerns about the impact which social media could have on their future job prospects.
We also think that the social media monitoring feature is perfect fo those people who are employed in the security industry or any other career that has to do with people’s reputations online.
People with other sensitive careers could also make use of this feature.
Negative social media content about any person or organization is never a good thing and may end up costing a lot of money to the party involved.
For cases where the user somehow manages to let a hacker steal his/her identity online, IDShield has the capability to handle the user’s case by transferring to Kroll.
Kroll can make attempts and investigate matters in order to restore any type of damage that the hacker may have done to the user’s stolen identity.
This could include actions such as,
- Perform traces and searches of various public information systems
- Notify and then work with various law enforcement agencies.
- Issue statements regarding fraud victim
- Check various public records
- Review credit activities in order to identify fraud.
- Order updated and new credit reports
- Place various fraud alerts on the user’s credit reports
- Notify the Social Security Administration on the user’s behalf of misused and stolen SSNs.
Apart from these tasks, there are a ton of other tasks that IDShield claims Kroll would perform on the user’s behalf wherever they are warranted.
All of these actions and features are presumably included the whole price of the user’s subscription package it seems.
However, Kroll itself would determine what kind of steps are really necessary and may even reject take any kind of action for a variety of different reasons.
The reasons could include the case where the fraudulent activity happened because of an enactment from someone who may not be bound to Canadian or US law.
Our research also shows that Kroll may stay away from or even reject to take any kind of action if it has enough reason to believe that the user had knowledge of a given fraud event which occurred before the user had actually signed up for the IDShield service.
In simpler words, the service gives itself a lot of wiggle room in potential use cases.
Kroll could use any number of trivial reasons to not take any action.
Even worse is the fact that there is very little recourse for the company’s subscribers.
IDShield Vault Password Manager
IDShield also comes with a password manager in order to help users guard all of their accounts from various forms of hacking.
There is little doubt about the fact that good password managers are a dime a dozen in modern times and each of these password managers comes with a specific set of downsides and benefits.
Apart from that, IDShield vault also offers users browser add-ons and plugins for mainstream available web browsers such as,
- Google Chrome
- Mozilla Firefox
It can even sync user data across devices.
The user may have to consider making use of a dedicated and well-reputed password manager such as Dashlane and/or LastPass instead of making use of the password manager that comes as a bundled add-on with an online identity theft protection service such as IDShield.
Our research shows that standalone and dedicated password managers really tend to offer users better features, security, and overall service than the ones which are just “add-ons”
IDShield makes use that it provides consultation services to any and all of its subscribers.
This is the part where the service involves its resources into helping customers becoming more aware of the best practices in how to protect and use their online identity.
The official IDShield consultation services, which (as mentioned before) are also brought to the user by Kroll, go something like IDShield offering,
- Consultation on how users can properly make use of their financial information.
- Consultation on various types of common scams.
- Online shopping tracts
- Information on any latest ID theft trends
- Consultation on various consumer rights
- More assistance on ordering credit reports
- Advice on the latest and established best practices
The consolation from the service provides users with a handful of other useful information services as well.
Ultimately though, IDShield has a desire to assist customers in preventing them from engaging in any type of common online behavior which may lead to them becoming a victim of identity theft.
Subscription sign-up process
We have no doubt that the official sign-up process regarding IDShield is a bit confusing.
But that is mostly down to the service’s website design.
However, it is also because the IDShield service makes a ton of attempts to get the user to sign up for the company’s legal services before actually given users further options to select their preferred IDShield plans.
At the official signup page, the service offers users various legal plans with many optional service add-ons like the very strangely named “Gun Owners Supplement.”
There are also commercial driver plans and small business plans.
We have already mentioned the fact that LegalShield actually owns IDShield.
However, we still feel that it must seem a bit out of the ordinary for many users to have a company push so aggressively its legal services through the official IDShield signup page.
It is even weirder when we consider the fact that the company does not sufficiently discuss many of those services and what they are before they actually make an appearance on screen.
Additionally, users would do well to take note that IDShield is essentially a subscription-based online identity theft protection service with completely automatic subscription price withdrawals on a month-by-month basis.
So when the user signs up for this service, the user is more or less giving the service, IDShield, authorization to go ahead and legally make the appropriate withdrawals.
Of course, the company does require the user to give consent to it before the user is able to complete the official sign-up process.
Once the user has managed to sign up for the service, the next step involves the user setting up his/her online account.
IDShield puts a requirement on the user to provide his/her SSN in order to offer all of its core services to the user.
Hence, this action becomes something that the user has to pass through and reach the official account activation page.
When that’s done, the IDShield installation process walks the customer through the provided Authentication Questions.
Our research shows that this is essentially nothing else but an important safety feature for the user to make sure that someone else apart from the user doesn’t get the opportunity to sign up with IDShield by making use of the user’s personal information.
The service has designed the authentication questions to that they are able to trip up any other person who has less than perfect knowledge of all the facts about the user’s life.
IDShield usually provides users with authentication questions such as asking the user the name of the user’s current employer.
It even asks users questions which are able to relate to the cities that the user has lived in at any point in his/her life (in the past, that is).
Apart from that, there are many other personal inquiries.
Some may consider it amusing, but the company seems to have made the deliberate decision to place questions which are intentionally deceptive.
To take an example, the sign-up process may ask the user about some loan or mortgage which the user may have opened some 20 years ago.
And the user would have no idea that he/she even opened up a loan during the year, for example, in 1998 because he/she had just started, for example, high school in 1998 and hence was too young to actually go out and take out a loan in any case.
We also feel that the user should have a pretty good idea of his/her credit report so that he/she can make sure that there was not a single fraudulent loan or mortgage on the user’s credit report which somehow may pop up on the official IDShield authentication question.
The other thing readers need to note here is that the correct answer to some of the questions such as the two mentioned just now would be along the lines of “none of the above” or even something equivalent.
IDShield has systems in place which allow the company to draw various questions from the user’s credit report and even some other non-related public records which are associated with the user’s SSN.
Once the user has made it past the official authentication questions, the user is for the most part in.
Now, beyond that, the user would need to go ahead and actually set up IDShield with any and/or all of the user’s accounts which the user may want the IDShield service to monitor.
The default settings indicate that the user’s,
- Phone number
- Email address
Are all securely and safely monitored.
The fortunate thing here is that IDShield does everything it can to NOT skim on the user’s credit card information from the service’s online payment process and then insert it into the user’s monitoring system.
However, we think there is a very good reason behind it.
And the reason is that the payment which goes to the IDShield service is different and separate from Kroll that actually operates and owns the official IDShield site.
The user will have to enter that information separately in the service’s monitoring section right along with his/her other financial information like debit cards or bank accounts and/or other identifying information such as medical IP numbers, passport, and driver’s license.
Alerts and reports
Users have the option of viewing and monitoring their official IDShield account either from the official web interface and/or from the official mobile application which is available for Android and the iOS.
Using any of the options that we have mentioned above, users have the option of viewing various other reports regarding their monthly credit score.
The service features the user’s monthly credit score prominently on both the app and the site.
Users can slo view reports of many other available areas which IDShield monitors such as,
- Overall internet activity that may or may not be using the user’s private information
- Social media
- Address change verifications
- Payday loans
- Court records
The user is free to click through any of the shown reports and view it from every single different area that the service monitors.
If the user finds that everything is fine, and clean, and more importantly does not look suspicious at all, then the service would gree the user with a relatively-speaking positive message along with that now-ubiquitous green check mark.
However, for some reason, if something and/or anything is amiss in even a single area of all the areas which IDShield has begun its monitoring activities on the user’s information, then the system sends a notification to the user via the email.
Not only that, the user would also get the opportunity to review all the problems that the monitoring systems found with his/her information.
Our research shows that seemingly the app doesn’t really make use of push notifications in order to warn the user of any potential online risks when they eventually arise.
We have also come to know that there is actually a pretty good chance that the user would find a bit of activity on his/her account if he/she simply makes his/her way to the section labeled Internet Monitoring on the app or the official site.
From there, users have the option of expanding various available shown boxes in order to view their activity reports.
These reports, as expected, would provide the user with more information regarding the kind of activity that it located based solely on the information that the user provided to the identity theft protection service IDShield to go ahead and monitor.
For example, for a given user, the app may greet the user with a report on various different websites where a hacker or something like that, compromised the user’s passwords and email address.
Of course, for some user that may not come as news to them because they might have made it a habit to visit sites such as Have I Been Pwned to know if hackers have pwned them in a related data breach.
How to deal with your alerts.
Granted that there are not a lot of things that users can do if the service informs them that their account information has been stolen by someone.
Of course, users can always change their passwords.
But that is pretty much it.
However, if the user previously enabled IDShield to go ahead and monitor any and all financial information and assuming that the service does find some serious fraudulent activity, then we recommend that the user may want to establish some sort of contact with the company’s consultation services that it provides to its premium members.
With that said, IDShield clearly states that the service may have the right to choose NOT to take any kind of responsibility for the user’s theft events and may even not provide any response to the user’s ID theft event.
Our research shows that there is a good chance that IDShield would want to include any data breach that took place a good number of years ago and about which the user should have already known about.
Apart from that, users also have to keep in mind that sometimes services such as IDShield really have no option but to tell the user that his/her information was compromised and that the service is unable to do anything beyond that.
Occasionally though, the official IDShield application would show that the user has results when in fact the official IDShield app is only letting the user know that it actually did not find any kind of activity.
Taking the case of the service’s Social Media Monitoring feature, our research shows that alerts related to this component may just only serve the purpose of telling the user that the service has found some personal information on the user’s own social media profiles.
We have already mentioned the fact that this service does have the ability to monitor credit reports.
What we did not specifically mention was that this IDShield service only monitors the user’s Experian reports.
In other words, the service does not offer any kind of information on Equifax or Transunion.
What does that mean for the end user?
It means that the user would have a very limited view of the type of information that he/she may get as fraudulent activity.
In other words, the user would not get any notifications on the fraudulent activity that such services would detect because IDShield would simply not detect them.
Users have the option of making use of Credit Karma in order to get a free credit report from each and every big credit rating agency from the top three.
Our research shows that based on what the service has made public so far, once the user has paid LegalShield/IDShield for an official account, the majority of the identity theft services are automatically shifted over to the, previously-mentioned, Kroll.
The other interesting fact is that the official IDShield website is actually copyrighted to IDShield (kind of obvious) at the same time that the website which the user makes use of in order to login to his/her account (which is myidshield.com) is copyrighted to none other than Kroll.
Just to act as another reminder, we would like to inform users that IDShield/LegalShield and Kroll are not really the exact same entities.
Hence, it appears that the company we have so far called IDShield is only interested in selling potential customers the identity theft protection services while Kroll is the one actually doing all the managing and implementation.
Knowing that, we also think that LegalShield/IDShield is still handling the customer service department.
All that user has to do to get in touch is to click on the page that says Contact US.
Then the website would grant the user access to a relatively small number of options regarding contact with the company.
The options come in the form of,
- Link to the official LegalShield website
- Phone number
- Email address
- Mailing list
What users do not get as a part of the company’s customer service neither on the official website or anywhere else is the now-fast-becoming-industry-standard live chat feature which enables users to speak to the company’s customer service representative much more efficiently and of course, quickly.
This is perhaps the biggest problem people have with this company.
The customer service isn’t great and yet IDShield cancellation policy is anything but desirable.
Most of the services in the industry give users plenty of time and easy access to cancel their official accounts.
With that said, IDShield does not provide any quick cancellation button.
It isn’t in the account settings either.
Additionally, the company does not provide users with a dedicated email address for canceling their subscription package.
This is strange.
Because IDShield mentions in its official Terms and Conditions document that the company allows users to cancel their subscription packages at any given time and also for any given reason.
However, the company forgets to leave users with information on how to do that exactly.
We’re assuming that the company is assuming that users who want to cancel their subscription would automatically do so via email or even over the phone.
Readers do not need us to tell them that this is pretty much as terrible a cancellation policy as one is likely to find in the industry.
And we say that for several reasons.
Under normal circumstances, if a user cancels his/her subscription package, the user wants pretty much an immediate confirmation of the cancellation.
The user also wants more control over his/her subscription cancellation request.
If an identity theft protection service leaves all of that up to its general email address and does not even provide customers with a dedicated cancellation official email address then that actually puts a ton of uncertainty into the minds of the user whether or not the company would actually go ahead and cancel his/her subscription with the company.
Additionally, more present and active cancellation policies have become pretty much essential for all online services who want to achieve maximum customer satisfaction.
It is especially true for services which are online and subscription-based.
Apart from that, good services commonly make the subscription status of their customers pretty visible in the customer’s account settings page.
It clearly shows whether their subscription is canceled or still active.
This gives customers their desired peace of mind that the company would not continue to bill their credit card after they have canceled their subscription with the company.
Apart from that, such a quick and easy cancellation policy makes it very easy for customers to actually renew their online accounts if, in the future, they choose to do so.
This, to us, seems like the better option for a service like IDShield that wants more user retention.
With that said, it is also true that there is some encouraging news regarding IDShield customer service and the company’s official cancellation policy.
Our research on this matter shows that if the customer has subscribed to a monthly subscription package of IDShield in order to feel the service and then tries to test the company’s cancellation policy to see how long the company takes to cancel the user’s account, then the customer should go ahead and email the company about cancellation.
When the user sends an email service to IDShield, the company responds with the help of an automatic response system which enables the user to know that the company would respond within two to four days.
Our research shows that sometimes the company can even provide users with a Spanish translation of their communication with the user.
Now, even though the company says it would require two to four days to process the user’s cancellation request, our research shows that users should not be surprised if the company responds to their cancellation request under five minutes.
This definitely gives LegalShield/IDShield some major points.
In fact, IDShield may be the fastest identity theft protection service as far as the cancellation process is concerned.
Of course, that does not hide the fact that the official customer service options of IDShield leave a good bit to be desired.
Unfortunately, there is no customer-friendly feature which enables users to cancel their subscription via their account.
However, it is also true that a quick email sent to IDShield with the user’s member account number might actually help speed up things to a great degree.
After going through everything that is on offer, we can confidently say that IDShield is, at the very least, an interesting offer.
It is actually a low-cost service which can help online consumers to monitor their and their family’s private online lives.
Apart from that, this identity theft protection service provides users with some other necessary features along the likes of credit monitoring and others.
Users also have the option of using the service to monitor a ton of other privacy-related and security-related issues which affect various areas of one’s online life as well as financial life.
Example include a payday loan app and also a social media regulation component.
IDShield offers all of this at a pretty low price.
Perhaps this is one of the tactics that the company makes use of in order to undercut the vast majority of its rivals in the industry.
However, the service, as cheap as it may be, has some drawbacks.
And they are noticeable.
For one, IDShield has a very confusing organizational structure.
It makes it difficult for anyone to figure out who exactly is actually running the whole show from behind the scenes.
And although we have mentioned that its customer service has a fast email response time, that still does not make up for the lack of other easily available cancellation options that most services clearly design in order to enhance their user retention strategy.
IDShield is a decent service but the lack of user-friendly cancellation policy is something that we think is more or less a black eye for the company.
Again, this identity theft protection service is cheap.
But there is no refund policy.
And there is no free trial either.
That means, users do not have the option of actually trying out the service before they pay for it.
Our research shows that for a good number of subscribers, it would definitely result in an increased amount of a thing that the industry calls, buyers remorse.
If one takes all of that into consideration, then we think potential IDShield customers would want to make sure that they are convinced within themselves that this is the right online identity theft protection service for them.
Otherwise, they would have to risk losing anywhere from $9.95 to $24.95 per month to an online identity theft protection service that they do not really like at all.
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