More and more identity theft services are offering protection for children. Children are the fastest growing target for ID theft, in part because, without monitoring, the crime can often go undiscovered for as long as 18 years. While you can of course monitor your child’s credit for free the process is extremely time consuming, requiring you to send out his birth certificate, your birth certificate, his social security card and your social security card, and proof of residence and a driver’s license. In short, it’s a major pain that you wouldn’t want to have to go through more than once.
You can usually attach a child’s ID protection onto your own monthly ID protection services. These are often called “family plans.” Here are just a couple of the companies now offering identity theft protection services to children.
Trusted ID: Javelin Strategy and Research, the company that rates Identity Theft Protection programs, rated Trusted ID as the top service, giving it the “Best of its Class” award. At $14.99 a month their family plan is reasonably affordable. It doesn’t just protect the children in your family, but will cover spouses and any seniors that may be in your care as well, such as your aging mother or father.
LifeLock: The Star Report gave LifeLock its Number One ID Theft Protection Company stamp of approval, which makes it another fine choice. LifeLock was one of the first companies to offer ID theft protection to children, and they will remove your name from mailing lists as well as placing freezes on your credit report. The company has come under some fire—the CEO gives out his social security number as part of his advertisement, and he himself has been the victim of about $2000 in ID theft.
Debix: Debix’s child ID theft protection starts at just $2.50 a month, and you can get the child insured at up to $1,000,000. Debix’s adult protection service puts a special phone number on your credit report that creditors must call in order to open the file. It doesn’t work quite the same way for children—you have to send in identifying information once a problem is discovered and an investigator will have to go track down the problem. That said, it checks employment records, criminal records, medical accounts and credit records to protect your child, making it one of the most comprehensive services in the industry.
If your child is already the victim of identity theft while he is young you may have time to sort things out. If you don’t find out until he’s denied a college loan then his dreams and yours may be dashed through no fault of his own. Getting ID protection for your child is one of the very best gifts you can give him.