Monthly cost: $20
Yearly cost: No annual plan
Family plan: $35/month
No. of bureau scores: 3
No. of bureaus monitored: 3
Frequency of credit reports: None
Type of credit score: VantageScore 3.0
Credit-improvement simulator: No
Credit-lock/freeze button: No
Security software: AV, PW manager, VPN, parental controls
Investment account monitoring: Yes
Max. ID-theft coverage: $1 million
Data Breach Alerts: Yes
Medical Records Monitoring: Yes
Payday loan monitoring: Yes
Sex Offender Alert: Yes
Title Change Alert: No
Two Factor Authentication (2FA): No
By combining credit monitoring with hacking protection into a single package, IDShield 3 Bureau Monitoring is an inexpensive alternative to larger and costlier approaches to ID security. The malware defenses, VPN and password manager can help keep your identity yours while the three-bureau monitoring and dark web scans can warn of potential dangers to come. While its protection is comprehensive, the IDShield package lacks the ability to deliver full credit reports and doesn’t have any credit simulators or calculators. Unfortunately, the service lacks no two-factor authentication to make sure you actually are you.
Our IDShield review will help you decide if this is the best identity theft protection service for you thanks to its inexpensive entry price or if you’d be better off spending a bit more.
IDShield 3 Bureau Monitoring review: Costs and what’s covered
One of the least expensive and simplest ID protection services, IDShield comes in two major flavors: Individual and Family. The former is for loaners while the Family plan will cover two adults and an unlimited number of children under 18 living at home; full-time students can be covered up to 26 years old.
Both options have base plans that include single bureau monitoring with TransUnion but no full credit reports. There’s dark web and social media monitoring, data breach, sex offender alerts and Trend Micro’s Maximum Security plan for up to three systems for the individual plan. It includes malware protection, access to a VPN, parental controls and six licenses for its password manager; a $100 a year value. Finally, all the plans provide monthly TransUnion VantageScore credit appraisals and up to $1 million for identity restoration and lost funds.
The 1 Credit Bureau Monitoring plan costs $15 for one or $30 a month for a family. While the 3 Credit Bureau Monitoring plan adds Experian and Equifax data to the mix but continues to lack access to full credit reports. It costs $20 a month for an individual or $35 for a family.
While IDShield has annual plans, there’s no discount. The company is working on introducing a discounted yearly product soon.
Owned by PPLSI/LegalShield, the company has a variety of products that include legal advice for individuals and small businesses. IDShield lacks a Better Business Bureau rating but the parent company received a coveted A+.
IDShield 3 Bureau Monitoring review: How we tested
In the summer of 2022, I signed up and paid for IDShield’s Individual 3 Bureau plan. I used the service for three months, checking in several times a week for status, alerts or warnings and then canceled the service.
IDShield 3 Bureau Monitoring review: Credit scores, reports and monitoring
If your focus is on monitoring credit scores, IDShield does the trick with monthly TransUnion VantageScore tallies. This is a good way to see your creditworthiness at a glance, though it is not as popular a measure as the FICO score that lenders use.
Unlike many ID protection competitors, IDShield doesn’t deliver full credit reports. An effective way to find mistakes in the file, annual reports can make for interesting reading. On the other hand, they can be had for free once a year at annualcreditreport.com. Many competitors provide these valuable reports periodically and MyFICO lets you buy instant credit reports.
While its emphasis is on TransUnion, during an ID theft emergency, IDShield agents work with all three major credit bureaus. They create a merged report to diagnose the problem and help fix it.
The company scans the dark web for instances of your personal information, like your Social Security number, address and credit card information, showing up in the wrong hands. They also monitor payday loan companies, court records and social media accounts for the early signs that someone is using your online personality. On the downside the service can’t alert you to a property title or address change.
Users can call or email the company’s representatives to discuss credit or online anxieties. They are well trained, hold multiple certifications and can help with tweaking the program’s settings to a comfortable level of protection without it being too burdensome.
IDShield 3 Bureau Monitoring review: Insurance and services
All the IDShield plans include $1 million for actual monetary losses due to theft as well as getting documentation, like a driver’s license and passport. However, it lacks McAfee’s $25,000 extra insurance for a ransomware attack.
The plan can cover travel and child or elder care while you’re dealing with the details; the limit is $2,000 for each category. IDShield can help by paying you your salary for up to five weeks if you need to take time off from work to straighten things out or go to court; the limit here is $1,500 a week for a $7,500 ceiling.
The company has a slew of experts to help resolve your case, including lawyers, accountants and licensed private investigators. The company promises a single agent on call day or night for emergencies will help you from start to finish. IDShield also notifies collection agencies, law enforcement bureaus and creditors of the status of your claim to help avoid conflicts. They say the typical case takes four months to fully resolve.
There’s also lost wallet protection. In addition to helping get your documents replaced, IDShield agents can determine if any of your credit or debit cards have been used. All you need to do is call them.
IDShield 3 Bureau Monitoring review: Notifications and alerts
While IDShield’s interface is functional and its alerts are complete, it can be a little hard to use at times. For instance, its identity alerts are not pushed into your face. They are in the second row of functional boxes from the top and can’t be rearranged. They’re easy to see in an emergency but lack the urgency of others.
After a few days, it showed the results of its deep dark web scan. Here, I had several instances of old log-in credentials that I don’t use anymore that were compromised by breaches. Alerts don’t have to wait until the next time you log in to the web account. They can be emailed or sent using the app.
A level below the surface, the Financial Account Monitoring section keeps an eye on your bank and investment accounts. It can monitor an unlimited number of accounts, from checking to retirement. The Sex Offender alert section is comprehensive with a photo of the perpetrator and a map of his or her location. Anytime a new offender moves to within a specified distance, an alert is sent out.
The service showed me five alerts over the three months I used IDShield. It’s at the low end but none were false alarms.
IDShield 3 Bureau Monitoring review: Setup
The last time we looked at IDShield it took a week to set up. This time around there were fewer glitches and I was up and running in about five hours. The company is making a concerted effort to further streamline the on-boarding process. It started at the company’s website where I picked the three-bureau plan.
I paid with an American Express card; IDShield can take payment directly from a bank account but not PayPal. Next, I entered a user name, followed by an email and password as well as my date of birth and the last four digits of my Social Security number.
At this point I waited for a confirmation email with a needed membership number. Those in a hurry or easily diverted take note, it took 1 hour and 50 minutes to arrive.
I activated the account and was halfway there. I needed to complete my profile and answer a few challenge inquiries. This was followed by entering my driver’s license, credit cards, passport number and bank accounts.
Finally, I added dark web monitoring, entered a couple extra email addresses, phone numbers and other personal information. After I entered my LinkedIn data, I was done. All told, it took about five hours but a lot of that was spent waiting.
The company’s tech support crew is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday. If you have an ID theft inquiry, there are people available 24/7. They responded with the right answer when I was using my email address rather than the member ID. The call took three minutes.
IDShield review: Interface and utilities
IDShield’s web interface is functional and quick but has a quirk. It all worked well when I signed into idshield.cloud using my ID, but not the registered email address. If I used idshield.com, there was an additional step to complete.
The main action takes place in the Overview page, where I was able to see everything with the browser’s zoom set to 50%. This level didn’t require any scrolling, and everything was still readable. According to ID Shield, a redesign is in the works, although the web and mobile apps have a common look and feel.
The Overview screen shows the key items, including the Dark Web Alert and even failed logins. To the right is the current Vantage Score rating above the monthly tracker. They’re color coded with green being the best.
Along the left is a menu list with Credit Score Tracker, Dark Web, Financial Accounts, Sex Offenders, Social Media and Reputation Management. Each has details or places to enter needed information a level below.
Finally, IDShield’s Reputation Management is run from a different IDShield site. Here, the Persona Dashboard keeps an eye on your online activities and makes recommendations for a safer online lifestyle.
ID Shield doesn’t offer detailed credit reports that the others do but there’s a link to annualcreditreport.com to get free ones.
The mobile app has a different look and feel with a brighter, more colorful design. The current credit score is in your face with new alerts at the top and a direct link to the support desk at the bottom. Tapping on the three-line menu in the upper right leads to alerts and a local list of registered sex offenders. It has the same photos but no map.
Unfortunately, the included Trend Micro malware security software is separate and required a completely different set up process. That’s because it keeps the functional Trend Micro interface and operates independently from IDShield. It includes malware scanning, unlimited VPN use and a password manager but lacks two-factor authentication.
ID Shield provides the option to call or email to cancel a subscription. There’s no online method available and I sent the tech support people an email asking to cancel the service. I got an autoreply but no confirmation. I followed up three days later with another email but got the same result. So I got on the phone and the agent said the account was closed. I never received a confirmation.
IDShield review: Bottom line
One of the best bargains of the identity protection world, ID Shield’s Three-Bureau Monitoring plan provides a lot for less and can lower the anxiety level of living in an online world. With full credit monitoring and scores, it lacks full reports that can make spotting a problem easier. The best part is that the Three Bureau Monitoring plan not only comes with excellent malware protection, a VPN and password manager but also dark web monitoring, though it does without two-factor authentication. ID Shield is for bargain hunters interested in preserving their online identities.