What LifeLock Says
The company claims that you need to protect your children from identity thieves, and should be worried about this happening, because identity thieves view children as a “gold mine” since their credit is clean and unmonitored. Even worse, this type of identity theft can go undetected for years.
In response, they offer the following benefits for the cost of $8.99 a month:
- Identity threat alerts and detection
- Verification of credit files
- Surveillance of black market websites
- Searches of file-sharing networks
- 24/7/365 member service
- $1 million in identity theft protection
The Junior edition of their system seems to be nothing more than a marketing ploy. Although they market this protection specifically toward your child, closer inspection shows all they’re offering is the same service that they offer to adults as part of their regular identity theft protection. What they’re really doing is playing on parents’ fear and emotions of not being a good parent. In fact, there’s no actual LifeLock Junior plan for your child to sign-up for. It’s impossible to only choose to get identity theft protection for your child. The only way that you can receive it is as an addition to your protection if you join LifeLock as their parent, so that you would also need to pay $110 a year, which almost doubles your costs.
Not Likely to Happen
The truth is that it’s much less s likely for your child to get their identity stolen than an adult. This is because kids don’t have a lot of sensitive financial information about themselves floating around where it can be stolen. In fact, many children who have this happen to them have their identity stolen from a parent or close relative who have access to their social security number. That being said, it does happen.
You Can Do Better for a Lot Less
Here’s the thing. You can actually get better protection for your child for a lot less cost. All you have to do is put a credit freeze on your child’s credit with the three credit bureaus, and you’ll be doing more to protect your child’s identity than LifeLock can do. For those who haven’t had any identity theft take place, the cost ranges from no cost to $10 depending on the state to place a freeze on their social security number.
Your child shouldn’t be taking out any type of credit on their own before their teenage years. It’s as simple as that. LifeLock will alert you if someone applies to get loans with your child’s social security number, but this is notifying you after the fact. Placing a credit freeze on your child’s social security number with the three credit bureaus means that nobody can open any type of credit account without your permission, stopping them before they even have a chance to ruin your child’s credit.
If you still feel the need for identity theft protection and insurance even after placing a credit freeze on your child’s social security number, you don’t have to pay LifeLock to get it. Credit Sesame now offers $300,000 in identity theft protection for free. The main difference is that Credit Sesame with have staff help walk you through restoring your child’s identity rather than doing it for you. You can also do this on your own using the step by step instructions given by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Does your child need identity theft protection? Probably not, but to be on the safe side, simply put a credit freeze on their social security number so that nobody can take out any type of credit without you knowing and your approval. This is truly the best way to protect them, and you do it at much less cost to yourself. When your child gets older, you can take off the credit freeze and they can begin to build their credit on their own without any surprise that someone had stolen their identity years before.
(Photo courtesy of thejbird)