Last Updated on August 16, 2023
I spent weeks testing IDShield and LifeLock. I looked at everything from their dark web monitoring to their pricing plans and ultimately decided that LifeLock was the better choice.
Aura offers more than identity protection – it offers complete peace of mind online for you, your spouse, and your children (even adult children). That’s more than LifeLock or IDShield can provide.
- You want the absolute best in threat monitoring and alerts.
- The maximum of $5 million theft insurance on Aura’s family plan is appealing to you.
- You value 24/7/365 US-based customer care.
- You want the best value for your money for the most identity theft protection.
- You are on a budget, but still want to protect your identity.
- You want a product that offers a variety of plans and services.
- Norton Antivirus is always on your computer and you want a complementary product.
- You don’t need more than $1 million in insurance coverage.
Still, if you’re wondering what LifeLock and IDShield can do, read on. I explain everything these services include in detail so that you can decide what’s right for you and yours.
LifeLock vs. IDShield: Head-to-Head Comparison
Found nine dark web alerts
Found eight dark web alerts
Found zero alerts
24/7/365 U.S.-based threat resolution and customer service team
24/7 overseas, third-party customer support; U.S-based identity restoration with limited hours
U.S.-based, Monday – Friday, 7 am – 7 pm CST; Licensed P.I.- led identity restoration
Five adults and unlimited children; includes parental controls and safe gaming
Two adults and up to five children under 18; includes parental controls
Two adults and unlimited children; no parental controls
$1 million per adult (up to $5 million total per plan)
Up to $3 million per adult with top-tier plan, but lower-tier plans offer far less
$1 million total
Ease of Use
Easy to use but could be more intuitive
Streamlined and intuitive
confusing sign-up and frustrating interface
Online Safety Features
VPN, antivirus software, password manager, ad tracker blocker, email alias, data broker removal services, family storage vault
VPN, antivirus software, password manager, ad tracker blocker
VPN, password manager, lost device protection, malware, and ransomware protection
Justifiable price given services included; Discount code makes it most affordable option.
Reasonable but increases at renewal
Affordable, but doesn’t include much for families
Monitoring: Winner – IDShield
For a service to stand out in terms of monitoring, it needs to be:
In other words, it needs to effectively comb the dark web and all other public and financial records for your personal information in near real-time. Then, if it finds your information, it needs to give you actionable instructions so you can protect yourself.
Few services are able to do this well – let’s see how LifeLock and IDShield fared.
Both LifeLock and IDShield include the following identity monitoring services:
IDShield also includes:
And LifeLock’s also includes:
Ultimately, both services are pretty comprehensive, though neither are as thorough as they could be. Services like Aura include everything in the above lists, plus niche monitoring services like auto title monitoring. But, overall, I can’t complain about the breadth of services IDShield and LifeLock include.
However, an exhaustive list of monitoring services doesn’t mean anything if they’re not accurate. And unfortunately, IDShield’s aren’t accurate.
When I tested their service, IDShield failed to find a single threat. Meanwhile, LifeLock came up with eight dark web alerts. That’s not as many as some of the better services (Aura found nine), but it’s respectable.
Credit and Financial
As for credit and financial monitoring, LifeLock is miles ahead. With their top-tier plan, you get:
That’s a pretty thorough list. I wish it also included transaction monitoring, as that can be incredibly handy – especially if you use more than one bank. But that’s rare to find – Aura includes it, but few other services do.
IDShield, on the other hand, only includes:
Missing the in-portal credit lock and investment account monitoring are major losses. Both of those tools are extremely helpful in protecting some of your biggest assets – your retirement savings and your credit.
Threat Resolution: Winner – IDShield
This category would be tough to call if I hadn’t spent time testing these services. On paper, both IDShield and LifeLock have obvious pros and cons. But after a couple of phone calls to customer service, a few live chats, and a thorough examination of their service agreements, it became clear…
IDShield is the winner here.
And this is a big win because no service can prevent identity theft. So, its crucial that they are able to help you resolve threats and restore your identity if you become a victim.
When I say these two services have obvious threat resolution pros and cons, I mean that LifeLock’s customer service is 24/7/365, while IDShield’s is not (their hours are Monday – Friday from 7 am – 7 pm CST). So, point for LifeLock.
BUT, LifeLock’s customer service is based overseas, while IDShield’s is in the U.S. – point for IDShield.
See? On paper, these two services tie… but putting them to the test revealed a very different picture.
When I called IDShield one Friday afternoon, the experience was flawless. It took just over one minute to reach a knowledgeable customer service rep. Since they also offer to answer questions via e-mail, I tried that too. And, sure enough, I got a response within twenty-four hours, as promised.
Getting ahold of LifeLock was a very different experience.
First, LifeLock doesn’t give their support phone number easily. While a “Support” link is prominently placed in your member dashboard, clicking it doesn’t take you to a phone number. Instead, you get a series of self-help articles.
You have to keep clicking “I still need help” until LifeLock is satisfied that none of their help articles will do. Then, LifeLock provides you with a customer service form to fill out. You’ll have to include your name, phone number, and your question. Then, they give you a number to call.
It’s a very annoying process. And, sadly, it doesn’t get better when you call in.
When I reached their customer service team (after about four minutes on hold), I found that their representative wasn’t very helpful. He was polite and kind, but he didn’t seem to understand my more nuanced questions. Asking about their insurance policy, for example, didn’t go well.
So, IDShield comes out ahead here, hands down. If I needed help resolving a threat, I wouldn’t mind calling their customer service team with questions. With LifeLock, I would do everything I could to avoid that call (and LifeLock’s setup implies they’re fine with that).
Identity Restoration Services
LifeLock and IDShield both have separate identity restoration teams. That means if you are a confirmed victim of identity theft, they’ll put you in touch with a team of specialists to help.
IDShield stands out in this area for three reasons:
- They offer 24/7 emergency assistance. Even though their regular customer service line isn’t available at all hours, their emergency restoration team is. So, if someone steals money from your bank account, tries to take out a loan in your name, etc., you’ll be able to reach help from IDShield right away.
- IDShield uses licensed private investigators. While almost every identity protection service offers identity restoration from some sort of “certified specialist,” IDShield goes a step further by employing licensed private investigators.
- IDShield offers a restoration guarantee. If they’re unable to restore your identity to pre-theft status, you get your money back.
LifeLock’s identity restoration services pale in comparison. First, they’re not 24/7 – their specialists are only available from 6 am – 5 pm in the U.S. At least, that’s what’s listed in one area of their site…in another area, they list the hours as 10 am – 6 pm. In any case, they’re not available all the time.
Second, LifeLock doesn’t include any sort of restoration guarantee, nor do they claim their specialists are certified in any way.
Lost Wallet Protection
Where LifeLock does stand out (a bit) is in their lost wallet protection promises.
Both services come with lost wallet protection – meaning they’ll help you replace the contents of your wallet (IDs, insurance cards, etc.) if it’s lost or stolen. This is a straightforward service that most identity protection companies provide.
But LifeLock goes a step further by offering to reimburse for the cost of your handbag or wallet. If you favor designer accessories, this could be a selling point.
Family Plans: Winner – LifeLock
IDShield’s family plans are very basic. They include two adults and unlimited dependents, but there aren’t any extra features that benefit families.
LifeLock, on the other hand, includes a full suite of features for parents with its top-tier plan (which is why I gave it the win for this category). Let me be frank, though, LifeLock isn’t the best option for families overall.
Here are two reasons why:
- LifeLock is restrictive. You can only have two adults and five children under 18. You can’t continue to cover your children through college, nor can you include other adults in your household (like aging parents). Better family plans, like Aura, give you the opportunity to include five adults.
- LifeLock’s parental controls aren’t comprehensive. I’ll dig into this below, but the gist is that LifeLock’s features for families only work in certain situations and on certain devices. Other identity protection services include tools for parents that are more broadly useful.
As a parent, I prefer Aura for family plans. They’re more flexible, as I said, and their tools are more useful for most families. I’ll show you what I mean in the next couple of sections.
Parental Control Features
IDShield doesn’t include any sort of parental controls, but LifeLock does. Their top-tier plan comes with Norton Family.
At first glance, Norton Family looks like it has everything parents need to monitor their kids online, including:
But there’s a major catch – Norton Family only works on PCs.
Aura’s parental controls work on Android and iPhone, where many kids spend their time online. It includes the ability to pause the internet with one click.
Safe Gaming and Anti-bullying Monitoring
Norton Family also fails to include any tools to monitor multiplayer games. Given the popularity of multiplayer games with kids and teens, this is crucial for parents to have.
While online games have benefits for kids – they may provide important outlets for socialization, improve memory, and benefit processing skills – they also come with risks. Online predators and cyberbullies are a major threat to kids playing multiplayer games.
Aura is the only identity protection service that offers safe gaming with its Ultra Family Plan. This tool monitors text and voice interactions between players for signs of bullying, grooming, harassment, and other targeting behaviors – so you can keep your kids safe more easily.
Theft Insurance: Winner – LifeLock
At its top tier, LifeLock far outpaces IDShield for theft insurance coverage. While IDShield includes a flat $1 million per plan, LifeLock includes $3 million per adult ($1 million each for expenses, stolen fund reimbursement, and legal fees).
Few other services increase their insurance coverage with each adult on the plan. Aura does, but outside of that, it’s much more standard to provide a flat $1 million in aggregate coverage, as IDShield does.
LifeLock continues to go above and beyond with its top-tier option by including over $1 million in theft insurance for children. Most plans don’t include any insurance for kids. So, I have to give LifeLock the win here.
Unfortunately, LifeLock’s lower-tier plans don’t offer as much. Though they advertise “$1 million protection plans.” that notion is a little deceptive. LifeLock’s mid and low-tier plans only include $1 million towards legal fees. The amount they put towards expenses and stolen funds is much lower – as low as $25,000 with its lowest-tier plan.
That said, if you’re considering anything but LifeLock’s top-tier plan, and theft insurance is a deciding factor, you might want to consider IDShield instead. A flat $1 million divided between two adults is more coverage than LifeLock at that point.
Ease of Use: Winner – LifeLock
It’d be very hard to beat LifeLock for ease of use, but IDShield doesn’t even come close. IDShield is one of the most frustrating services I’ve tested.
When you sign up for IDShield, you get a confirmation email with a link. It’s normal to assume this link takes you to IDShield to sign in…but it doesn’t. Instead, it takes you to LegalShield, IDShield’s parent company. You have to sign in there before creating a separate login for IDShield.
And that’s not the only hurdle you’ll have to jump. When you use IDShield’s services, you’ll find that every aspect of the service opens on a new page – often forcing you to sign in again.
LifeLock is much more intuitive. It doesn’t make you sign in multiple times, everything is organized and easy to find, and it’s aesthetically pleasing. While I have several issues with LifeLock’s services overall, its user interface isn’t one of them.
Online Privacy Features: Winner – LifeLock
IDShield has a unique “privacy feature” that warrants a discussion, but LifeLock’s online security features are much more comprehensive.
With LifeLock, you get:
IDShield gives you:
So, you definitely get more of the traditional privacy features when you opt for LifeLock. However, IDShield does offer something that other services don’t – reputation management.
This is one of IDShield’s biggest selling points. They push it as a major feature on their website, but when I tested it, I wasn’t very impressed.
First, the service was glitchy. It’s supposed to link to your social media accounts, scan them for anything “possibly offensive,” and then allow you to delete everything you need from one place.
In theory, this would be a great tool if you’re applying for a job or school. In practice, I couldn’t get the service to link to my Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. I finally got it to link to my Reddit account, but that was it.
So, I can’t say IDShield is worth getting for this feature.
Cost: Winner – IDShield
IDShield’s plans are available with one-bureau or three-bureau credit monitoring. If you opt for three-bureau monitoring, the price is about $35 per month for a family plan. That’s lower than LifeLock’s top-tier option.
But the real reason IDShield wins this category is this…
LifeLock increases its price after the first year.
And the jump is significant. Their top-tier plan goes from $40.99 to $68.33 per month!
The Winner Is…LifeLock
LifeLock offers better monitoring services, more family-friendly features, and comprehensive digital security tools, so it wins the IDShield vs. LifeLock battle. But I still wouldn’t recommend it.
LifeLock’s services are far from the best. Its threat resolution capabilities are poor, its pricing is borderline deceptive, and while its monitoring is better than IDShield, it’s not as good as other options.
If you want to protect your family from identity thieves, fraudsters, scammers, and online predators, I recommend Aura. Aura offers a full digital security solution for families, including everything from award-winning identity theft and credit monitoring to safe gaming tools.
And, when you use our discount code, you can get Aura for less than LifeLock or IDShield. Better yet, the discount code is compatible with Aura’s 14-day trial and 60-day money-back guarantee, making it risk-free.
You can choose LifeLock or IDShield if you want decent identity monitoring, but if you want comprehensive online security, choose Aura instead.
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