Frequently Asked Questions about IDShield™

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is the fraudulent use of personally identifiable information (PII) by a thief to obtain goods, services, and/or employment; commit a crime; gain a benefit; or prevent revealing the thief’s real identity.

PII includes but may not be limited to a consumer’s name, Social Security number, date of birth, address, driver’s license number, telephone number, passport information, birth certificate, student transcript, or medical record.

How do thieves get my information?

There are numerous ways that thieves can obtain personal identifiers:

  • Stealing physical items such as mail, wallet/purse, smart phone, trash, etc.
  • Stealing digital data as when a business computer system is breached, your computer is tainted with malware, or a skimmer is placed on a payment card reader.
  • Gathering personal information from social networks and data aggregator websites.
  • Phishing schemes - tricks to get you to reveal information.

Is checking my credit report enough?

No. There are a lot of things that an identity thief can do that will not impact your credit report. If an identity thief has done something else with your identity such as opened a utility account or committed a crime, those types of activity would not be discoverable on a credit report or through free credit monitoring.

Who is affected by identity theft?

Identity theft is a crime that does not discriminate. If you have personally identifiable information—and everyone does—it can be stolen and misused regardless of age, credit usage, technology usage, or any other factor.

Is identity theft the same things as credit card fraud?

Identity theft is much more than credit card fraud. It's the fraudulent use of personally identifiable information (PII) by a thief for the purpose of obtaining goods, services, and/or employment, committing a crime, gaining a benefit or hiding a real identity. It can include a consumer's name, Social Security number, date of birth, address, driver's license number, telephone number, passport information, birth certificate information, student transcript data, and medical record information.

If I have a bad credit score, do I need to worry about identity theft?

Remember, identity theft is not limited to credit fraud. In fact, credit-related identity theft accounts for only a small amount of the identity theft incidents reported to the FTC each year.

Someone can misuse your driver's license number, make counterfeit checks using your personal information, use your identity to rent an apartment or apply for a payday loan, or give your name and other identifiers to the police if they're arrested. These activities and others have nothing to do with your credit history.

There is an account on my credit report that I did not open. Doesn't that confirm that I'm a victim of identity theft?

No. Many reports contain errors. If you find an account on your credit report you don't recognize, call that creditor and ask them to tell you whether there is an account that was opened with the use of your personal identifying information, particularly, your Social Security number.

How do I prove I'm an identity theft victim?

Sometimes a consumer may think identity theft has occurred when it may not have. If there is an account on your credit report that you did not authorize, it is possible that an identity thief used your information to create an account, or it could simply be the result of a credit reporting error. You can prove you're a victim of identity theft if you can confirm that your Social Security number or other key piece of your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) was used to open a credit card account, obtain a loan, submit health care information, or similar unauthorized activity.

*IDShield™ members have unlimited consultation with Licensed Private Investigators if they have any questions or concerns regarding the status of their identity.

Should I check my bank and credit card accounts, even if I haven't used them in the last month?

Yes. Be certain you receive a monthly statement and review it even when you haven’t initiated any transactions. If a thief has accessed an account that belongs to you, the monthly statement will alert you. It’s your responsibility to inform your bank or credit card company that fraudulent activity is taking place. If a statement doesn’t arrive, call the issuer and determine if someone has changed the address on your account.

What is the Dark Web?

Often confused with the “deep web” which is simply those parts of the internet not indexed by any search engine, the “dark web” includes those sites that take measures to hide their IP address to remain anonymous. The most notorious sites on the dark web are those with illegal activities such as the sale of stolen information (think credit/debit card data and personal identifiers that can be used to commit identity theft), drug sales, weapon sales and pornography.

What is credit or debit card fraud?

Credit and debit card fraud, sometimes referred to as "existing account fraud," occurs when a thief steals information on an existing account and then uses it to make use of that account.

In contrast, "new account fraud" happens when the thief uses the victim's Personally Identifiable Information to establish an entirely new account of which the victim has no knowledge.

What is government documents or benefits identity theft?

The largest category here is tax return fraud which occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a fraudulent tax return to claim tax refund. This category would also include use of stolen identifiers to claim government benefits such as food stamps, disability, unemployment, etc. Driver’s licenses obtained by means of identity theft are also included in this category.

What is medical identity theft?

Medical identity theft is typically described as the fraudulent use of an individual’s personal information, Social Security number, or health insurance information to obtain medical services and treatment. The stolen information can be used to obtain medical goods and services or for health insurance coverage. It can also be used to commit fraud in the form of insurance reimbursement for treatments that are not provided.

What is criminal identity theft?

Criminal identity theft occurs when an individual is arrested for a crime or ticketed for a violation and then supplies the arresting officer with your name and PII (e.g. an address, date of birth, and/or Social Security number). The imposter may even present a fake driver's license to law enforcement, further legitimizing the identity thief's claim to be you.

What is child identity theft?

Identity theft involving minors occurs when a child’s personally identifiable information is used by another individual for personal gain. There are essentially two types of victims: one who learns of the issue while still a minor child and the other, one who was victimized when they were a minor but didn’t learn of it until they were of adult age.

What is identity theft of the deceased?

Identity theft of deceased individuals occurs when an imposter uses the PII of the deceased to commit fraudulent acts. Such acts may include obtaining credit, opening accounts, setting up utilities, receiving Social Security or medical benefits, and even committing criminal acts.

What is employment identity theft?

Employment-related identity theft occurs when another individual uses your Social Security number and, perhaps, other PII to obtain employment. This results in additional wages being reported to the Social Security Administration which can create other problems.

What is an identity theft report?

It's the report filed with a law enforcement agency that details what the identity theft victim reported to that agency. What type of identity theft took place? And what entities were involved? Combined with proof of the victim's identity and residence address, an identity theft report proves that the person providing the report is an actual victim of identity theft and not an identity thief. It can also be provided to credit reporting agencies for putting extended fraud alerts in place.

How is a credit score different than a credit report?

Your credit score is a numerical representation of the history of credit use found in your credit report. Your credit report lists the details of your credit history, which can include creditor names, addresses, loan amounts, credit limits, payments made on time or past due, and amount of monthly payments.

How can I get my free credit report?

Federal law ensures that all Americans have the right to get a free credit report every 12 months from all three of the consumer reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).

Get yours for free by visiting, or by calling 1-877-322-8228.

How can I improve my credit score?

Focus on paying your bills in a timely way by paying down any outstanding balances and staying away from new debt. Be patient, improving a credit score takes time. There are so many factors, it's hard to say how long it will take to improve a credit score.

What is a fraud security alert?

It's a statement on your credit report indicating that you're vulnerable to becoming a victim or have been a victim of identity theft. It asks a credit reviewer to take reasonable extra steps to verify the identity of the applicant, reducing the chance a thief will succeed in opening new accounts.

What is the difference between 1 Bureau and 3 Bureau monitoring?

1 Bureau and 3 Bureau monitoring refers to the number of credit bureaus being monitored (the credit bureaus are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian).

Offering 1 Bureau monitoring allows IDShield™ to keep costs of the service low and still monitor important data. 1 Bureau monitoring is effective because it is rare that credit related identity theft is limited to one event and that one event is reported to only one credit bureau. Most of the time all three credit reports will be affected to some extent allowing 1 Bureau monitoring to be effective to alert the member to an issue.

It is important to note that when identity theft is confirmed, the restoration process deals with ALL THREE national credit reporting agencies so that all of the member's reports are reviewed and any fraudulent information on the reports is disputed.

What is identity theft restoration?

IDShield™ has Licensed Private Investigators to provide the best identity restoration possible and undo the damage done by identity thieves. IDShield™ Licensed Private Investigators will work for as long as it takes to restore a member’s identity to its pre-theft status to ensure that they are not held responsible for the debts created by the identity thief. By performing comprehensive restoration services, consumer reports are returned to their pre-theft status and other records are cleared of the activity created by the identity thief.

How does monitoring me protect me from identity theft?

Credit report monitoring does not prevent identity theft. However, it’s a tool that can alert you to activity that may indicate identity theft is being attempted or has taken place. If you learn someone used your data to apply for credit, you’ll take steps to prevent future misuse of your data.

I hear a lot about companies having data breaches. What is that? Should I be worried?

A data breach occurs when someone accesses information that they do not have the authority to access. Sometimes this occurs accidentally as when an employee mistakenly sends a file to someone outside of the company but it can occur by malicious intent as well. The potential risk relates to what personal information was exposed in the breach.

Can I still contact IDShield™ if I do not have an IDShield™ account?

Unfortunately, you can’t contact one of their identity theft protection consultants. However, we want to make sure that you are taking protecting yourself and your family in light of recent data breach hacks, so feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].

If you are interested in signing up or learning more about IDShield, go to

How does IDShield™ compare to the new Norton/Lifelock partnership?

IDShield™ puts its members first and is committed to developing products to best serve our members. Contrary to the ‘set it and forget it’ approach, we focus on engagement through our mobile app. We believe everyone should actively monitor all personal information and receive alerts and notifications on their smart phone. A member’s credit score, alerts, monitored information, and access to your licensed private investigator should be only one button away. In addition to our technology, IDShield™ believes best in class identity protection cannot be achieved without having a committed professional serving you. No service can completely prevent identity theft, and that’s why the real value is in having full-time, committed licensed private investigators on your side if your identity is stolen.

How do I sign up for IDShield™ if I don't have an established credit history?

You must submit a written document to confirm your identity. This is common among young adults and the elderly who do not have established credit. You will receive a prompt after you've signed up on how to begin the validation process. It's an extra step that helps ensure your safety.

What other benefits does my IDShield membership include?

Your IDShield membership plan also provides you with discounts from more than 20 partner businesses, such as 1-800-Flowers, Dell, HP, Office Depot, Enterprise/National, Men’s Wearhouse, K&G Fashion Superstore, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Six Flags and other great retail partners. Log in to your member portal for complete details and specific offers.

What is the cancellation policy?

Your membership can be cancelled at any time by sending written notice to IDShield™. Please see your membership benefits for cancellation instructions specific to your plan, or you can call/email Member Services at 800-654-7757 or [email protected].

Important: Your membership and payment remain active until written notice is received.

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