protect your familyNew year, new you, new opportunities for identity thieves and other criminals to infiltrate your life in every way imaginable (and some ways you probably haven’t yet thought of). The good news is that you can get some help protecting your identity with the assistance of an identity theft protection service — and if you’ve got a spouse, partner and/or children at home who you’d also like to protect, several of the top services have you covered. To learn more about which are the best services to protect your family this year, as well as why you should opt for identity theft protection, keep reading.

Why should you pay to protect your family?

There are plenty of things that the average person can do for free to protect themselves as well as their loved ones, and we discuss these tips and tricks all the time. However, it can be an exhausting process to constantly monitor all of your credit reports, bank statements, credit card bills and more on your own. Additionally, most of us probably don’t know how to even start monitoring the Dark Web for signs that our private information has been leaked and sold, let alone have the time and resources to do it right. That’s where an identity theft protection service comes in — many of the services we review offer a whole host of different kinds of monitoring, alerts and education to help you identify potential problems and get them solved. They also provide invaluable resources to assist you with the time-consuming and often frustrating process of reporting identity theft and getting errors removed from your credit reports.

Though you might not think it’s necessary for your children to receive monitoring, you might want to think again. Child identity theft has been a rising problem, and these days, it’s downright practical for parents to keep tabs on their kids’ sensitive information — especially their social security numbers. The last thing you want is to discover your child’s identity was stolen and misused years down the road, but that’s what often happens. Fortunately, some services offer additional options to protect children in the form of monitoring for their personal information. Keep reading to learn more about these services.

Which services offer family protection?

Currently, we review two solid services that allow parents or guardians to protect themselves as well as their children. Here’s what you need to know about both to make a decision:

Identity Guard Total Protection

One of the most well-rounded identity theft protection services out there is Identity Guard Total Protection. There are three plans to choose from: individual, couple and family. When you sign up using any of our links, you’ll get a $3 discount, which rounds out to a monthly price of $16.99 (individual), $22.99 (couple) or $24.99 (family). The couple plan covers two adults who live in the same household, while the family plan covers two adults and up to 15 children living in the same household. You must provide proof of primary guardianship, and all children must be under 18. Not sure if Identity Guard is for you? No need to worry — new members get a free 30-day trial to decide, and since all memberships are month-to-month, you can cancel any time.

Identity Guard Total Protection monitors public records, the Internet black market and numerous databases for signs of fraud, and it also provides three-bureau credit report monitoring with updated credit scores and a public record report every quarter. You get access to your three credit reports and scores upon signup, and Identity Guard will notify you of any changes to your credit reports that could indicate fraud. When it comes to protecting your children, that falls to Identity Guard’s kID Sure Child Monitoring. This monitors for your child’s information on criminal records, DMV records, utilities records, as well as scans for social security number exposure on the Internet black market. Finally, you can keep your family’s computer secure with included software for anti-keylogging, secure online shopping and antivirus protection (note that this software is only available for PCs).

In the event that you or one of your family members falls victim to identity theft while a member of Identity Guard Total Protection, you’ll be covered by $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance and access to its Identity Theft Recovery Unit for assistance with restoring your good name.

LifeLock Ultimate Plus

While it doesn’t offer a true family plan, LifeLock Ultimate Plus allows individual memberships to add children to their accounts for a small additional monthly fee. The cost for memberships can vary, as LifeLock offers monthly as well as annual pre-pay subscriptions. Those who sign up through our site will receive a special 10% discount for their first year (terms apply), bringing the price of an adult membership down to $24.74/month when you pay for one year upfront ($296.90/year), or $26.99/month if you choose to pay monthly. LifeLock Junior allows you to add children to an existing adult’s plan for $5.39/month or $59.39/year per child. While there isn’t a free or reduced-cost trial, you can cancel any time and receive a full or partial refund, depending on when you cancel.

This service provides thorough identity and credit monitoring to its adult members, including three-bureau credit report monitoring and updated reports and scores every year (plus monthly updates of your Equifax credit scores). Its LifeLock Identity Alert technology will scan a network of data sources and alert you to suspicious activity, such as if your information is used to open a new credit or utility account. Dark web monitoring keeps an eye out for your data on the Internet black market, and you can connect your credit and bank accounts to notify you when certain transactions exceed a specific limit.

LifeLock Junior monitors for your child’s information on applications for credit cards, wireless services, retail credit, utilities, mortgages, auto and payday loans, and alerts you if suspicious activity is detected. It also monitors your child’s social security number to verify that no credit files are associated with it, and scans more than 10,000 criminal websites on the dark web to verify that your child’s personal information is not being sold.

Should you or your children fall victim to identity theft, LifeLock has you covered with access to certified resolution specialists who will work with you throughout the restoration process for no additional charge and up to $1 million to cover reimbursement of stolen funds, coverage for lawyers and experts, and personal expense compensation.

Is one better than the other?

Both services provide fairly extensive coverage for both adults and children, however, you’ll note that LifeLock Ultimate Plus is a fair bit more expensive for families with more than one child. Therefore, if you have two or more children you’d like to protect, Identity Guard Total Protection is likely to be better for your wallet.

Keep up to date on the latest in data breach and cybersecurity news by following our identity theft protection blog.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the companies referenced in this article. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the companies mentioned. NextAdvisor.com may be compensated through advertiser affiliate programs.