7 Best Identity Theft Protection Services for Children
Kids are prime targets for identity theft because nobody notices until it’s way, way too late. You grab a toddler’s social security number and you can rack up bills for 16 years or so before they start applying for cars or student loans and find you out. It’s massively damaging because it starts these kids off with a wrecked financial history before they’ve even done anything. And while some states have laws in place that let you create a blank credit report for the purpose of freezing it, most states don’t. So some form of protection for your child’s identity probably helps (it certainly can’t hurt), and we’ve taken the liberty of highlighting a few of the best for you.
LifeLock ® Junior
We’ll start by pointing out the immediate, obvious downside of LifeLock Junior: it’s not a stand-alone service. You have to be subscribed to a LifeLock plan yourself (at a rate of $9.99-$29.99/month) in order to start the $5.99/month service for your child. If you’re already concerned about identity theft, great, but if you just want something for your kid, it’s unfortunate.
At any rate, you’ll get the full range of protection LifeLock offers — an identity alert‡‡, black market website and file-sharing network surveillance, lost wallet protection with stolen funds replacement††, live support, the $1 million service guarantee†††, and most importantly, detection of any credit files associated with your child’s Social Security Number. (Remember, your child shouldn’t have a credit report at all.)
Identity Guard KID Sure
Like LifeLock, Identity Guard requires you to have an existing account with them (which will cost you $9.99-$24.99/month) before you enroll your child in their 9.99/month program. Their child coverage is a little more straightforward — it searches for SSN exposure, criminal records DMV records, and utilities records that use your child’s SSN. Usually, when people perpetrate ID theft on a minor, it’s in the form of using their SSN to fabricate a new identity, so this is an important, useful service. But the other things — black market web surveillance, lost wallet protection, etc. — can’t hurt, and you get them for the same cost or less with LifeLock (depending on which tier you sign up for). Ultimately, this decision will probably come down to which service you pick for yourself.
IdentityForce’s UltraSecure+Credit package monitors your personal information and your credit, for $19.99/month. They only offer the one service, either with or without credit monitoring. But the offering is competitive to the other major players. Their child protection add-on only costs $2.75/month and includes identity monitoring, fraud monitoring, a restoration specialist in the event of theft, and $1 million in identity theft insurance.
TrustedID’s IDEssentials package includes web surveillance of a wide variety of personal information, daily 3-bureau credit checks, SSN Monitoring, stolen wallet assistance, support specialists, and a $1,000,000 insurance policy. They don’t have a program specifically for children. But what they do have is a pretty generous family plan. The cost bumps from $16.99/month to $29.99/month, but that covers every family member living in the household — your spouse, any children, even elderly parents living with you. If you’re looking to include even you and your spouse in an ID theft protection plan, this basically pulls all of your children into the umbrella for free.
FamilySecure protects your credit, that of your children, and one additional adult — a spouse, for instance, for $19.95/month. The protection for children monitors for the existence of a credit file, emails you if it finds anything suspicious, has dedicated resolution experts for your children, and unlimited Experian credit reports and scores. Since it’s from a credit bureau, it makes sense that the protection would be primarily credit-based. Unfortunately, customers report with decent regularity that they’ve learned about ID theft by being sideswiped by it, rather than learn from Experian.
The “Complete Family” package through Equifax is a $10 add-on to the $19.95 “Complete Premiere” package, which includes 3-bureau daily credit monitoring, web surveillance, and more. Since the package is offered through Equifax, their protection for minors comes in the form of daily checks for any activity on your child’s credit report/signs that your child’s credit report exists. The plan covers two adults and four children, making it a pretty reasonable add-on for only ten dollars.
ID Shield offers extremely comprehensive searches of protected information, including court records, address change verification, payday loan alerts, medical fraud protection, and more. Their victim support includes a Kroll licensed private investigator assigned to your case. Their “Family” plan covers two adults instead of one at a price of $19.95 instead of $9.95, but it also includes SSN monitoring for up to 8 minors. That might not be as thorough as some others, but again, it’s basically free with two adults, and the SSN is the most important thing to watch out for.