Family Identity Theft Protection Is No Longer Optional
When Gordon Ewen applied for his new passport, the 80 year old Florida man experienced what can happen if you don’t have family identity theft protection.
The real Gordon Ewen died in 1945 at the age of five. However, it was discovered that an impersonator in Florida named Douglas Edward Bennett stole Ewen's identity.
Bennett was eventually caught and charged with identity theft and passport fraud[*]. The convicted felon was arrested on federal charges in 2020 for using a deceased child's identity.
The threat of identity theft has reached all-time highs given how much time we spend online. According to Javelin Strategy & Research’s 2021 Child Identity Fraud study, 70% of victims are nine years old, or younger[*].
This guide explores the best family identity theft protection services available on the market today.
These identity protection tools can monitor and detect fraudulent activity to help protect your credit score, bank accounts, credit card numbers, personally identifying information (PII) and more.
By the end, you’ll know how to make the right choice to protect your family from identity theft.
How Bad is Child Identity Theft? Is My Family at Risk?
Scammers can use a child’s Social Security number (SSN) to open bank accounts, apply for credit cards, buy real estate, take out loans, and even apply for a passport.
Most victims are unaware of their stolen identities until adulthood when they need a loan or credit card. By then, their credit scores are already wrecked.
As a result, they may face serious financial consequences impacting their chances of obtaining credit, a mortgage, or a job.
They could even end up in court if the person who stole their identity is convicted for crimes!
So, how can you protect your children and loved ones from identity theft?
Can An Identity Protection Service Safeguard My Family?
No identity theft protection service is able to prevent all risk of identity theft and credit fraud. But with the combination of multiple advanced tools integrated together, a solution like Aura is able to closely monitor and alert you to potential fraud up to 4x faster than other tools on the market[*].
The reality is that it’s getting harder to manage all devices and safeguard your online accounts against every potential threat.
Luckily, with today's modern solutions, you have the advantage of technology helping you protect your identity, rather than doing it manually.
Here's what identity theft protection can offer you:
- Filter and block harmful websites and apps to shield children from hackers, predators, or age-inappropriate content.
- Limit screen time to a maximum number of hours per day and to set times of the day.
- Keeping tech-unsavvy elderly parents safe from fraud and scams when they’re online.
- Monitoring social media accounts to know which apps your children are using.
- Help prevent home title theft by alerting you if there are ownership changes to your deed.
- Combat fake ads and phishing by sending alerts whenever your family members enter a suspicious website or unsafe place on the internet.
Is Identity Theft Protection Worth The Cost? ← Read it!
10 Essential Features of Family Identity Theft Protection
- All-in-one protection.
- Child SSN monitoring.
- Dark web monitoring.
- Wi-Fi Security (VPN).
- Near real-time fraud alerts.
- Credit monitoring.
- Credit freezing.
- $1M identity theft insurance.
- Qualified customer support, 24/7.
- Fraud resolution.
When you start looking at options, it can be overwhelming. It's hard to determine what you need or which software is the right fit for your family. Before we review the best tools for identity theft protection, we will first explain the key features and why they matter.
1. All-In-One Protection
The average U.S. household now has an estimated 25 connected devices online[*].
All-in-one digital security can help protect you from identity theft, financial fraud, and online threats. Instead of managing several solutions separately, you can get protection for the entire family through an easy-to-use platform that scans your computers, smartphones, and tablets for viruses and harmful malware.
Digital safety solutions like Aura will notify you if your registered information — SSN, financial accounts, usernames & passwords, or IDs — have been exposed online.
Comprehensive identity monitoring is one of the most important functions of any identity theft protection service.
2. Child SSN Monitoring
It's crucial to protect your children's sensitive data. A family identity theft protection service can monitor your children's registered personal information and ID numbers, including passports and Social Security numbers. Credit monitoring products also let you add your children’s profiles to monitor for any suspicious activity.
3. Dark Web Monitoring
The Dark Web is a hidden collection of internet sites that require specific web browsers for users to access. Many illicit activities occur here, such as the sale of stolen personally identifiable information (PII). A good identity theft protection service patrols the Dark Web and alerts you if your PII has been exposed online during a data breach.
4. Wi-Fi Security VPN (Virtual Private Network)
You should be able to shop, bank, and stream online privately and securely. With powerful antivirus and Wi-Fi security, you can protect your internet connection via military-grade encryption that hides your online activity from cybercriminals. This private tunnel between you and the internet is essential, especially when you’re browsing on public networks.
5. Near Real-Time Fraud Detection
If your information is compromised, you need to know as soon as possible. Look for a service that can provide instant alerts whenever there is an inquiry into your credit file at any of three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion).
6. Credit Monitoring
Look for a solution that makes it easy to track and detect any suspicious activity on your financial accounts. A reliable service will include robust credit monitoring and financial fraud protection features. With these tools, you can mitigate any potential fraud before it becomes a major issue. For example, if your children use your credit card online, they might unwittingly visit an unsecure website.
7. Credit Freezing
When someone steals your PII, freezing your credit will stop the fraudster from opening any new credit accounts. Ensure that you find a solution that can instantly lock and unlock your credit file. This will in no way impact your credit score. It simply restricts unauthorized access to prevent further damage.
8. Identity Theft Insurance ($1M)
In the worst-case scenario, you need to ensure you have sufficient coverage for your family. Look for family identity theft protection that offers high insurance coverage. Most insurers extend coverage only if you report a stolen identity event within 90 days of it happening.
9. Qualified Support, 24/7
With U.S.-based customer support services, you will be able to get help to answer any account, technical, or billing questions. Aura also provides White Glove Fraud Resolution (more below) where a dedicated case manager works directly with you to prevent and recuperate existing losses or damages.
10. White Glove Fraud Resolution
If you're a victim of identity theft or financial fraud, it helps to have dedicated agents who help recover your identity and assets. This specialized “done-for-you” service takes the guesswork out of fraud resolution.
For example, Aura has a team of trained experts that are able to complete forms and make calls on your behalf — saving you time, money, stress and headaches.
7 Top-Rated Identity Theft Protection Services for Families
We’ve looked at the most popular identity protection services on the market and narrowed it down to seven choices.
In our review of each solution, we consider:
- Key features
- Best plans
- Why families choose the service
- Background about the company
Here are the seven best family identity theft protection services you can buy today:
Aura's mission is to create a safer internet for people and families. Our seasoned executive team has an unparalleled, proven track record of innovation, market disruption, and corporate growth. The business unit leaders boast a combined 120+ years of experience in cybersecurity, having worked with some of the biggest companies in North America.
Aura - Pros:
- Simplified pricing: individual, couple or family - with everything included.
- Prices do not increase in year two (no pricing gimmicks or "gotchas").
- All-in-one solution with no integrations or upgrades required.
- Wi-Fi Security VPN, antivirus software, and password manager included.
- 24/7 U.S.-based customer support and white-Glove fraud resolution.
- Consistently one of the highest rated solutions on the market.
- Up to $5 million coverage on the Family Plan.
Aura - Cons:
- Slightly higher starting price points than other tools, (BUT PRICES DO NOT GET JACKED UP).
- Only available in the USA, with no known plans to expand globally.
Aura - Key Features:
- Parental notifications and controls.
- Cyberbullying protection.
- Online account monitoring.
- Personal information & SSN monitoring.
- Dark Web monitoring.
- Personal data removal.
- IP masking / location hiding.
- Identity verification monitoring.
- Home title and address monitoring.
- Lost wallet remediation.
- Identity restoration & fraud recovery.
- Three-bureau credit monitoring.
- Bank account monitoring.
- Financial transaction monitoring.
- Monthly credit score.
- Annual credit report.
- Credit freeze & lock.
- 401k and investment account monitoring.
Aura - Plans & Costs:
- Aura's Family Plan covers up to five members — adults or children — and all plans are available on a 14-day free trial basis.
- Pricing for families is $37/month (if billed annually) or $50/month (if billed monthly).
- Aura's family plan includes premium identity theft protection, credit monitoring, online security and privacy tools (like VPN, antivirus, and safe browsing) and $1 million in identity theft insurance* for every adult member in your plan.
- You’ll also be able to add your kids to monitor their SSN and online accounts to catch early signs of child identity theft.
- Every family member will have access to Aura's 24/7 White Glove Fraud Resolution services to help resolve any identity fraud incident.
- Call Aura at 1-844-939-3681 to learn more.
Special Family Offer: Get Aura 50% Off Today
Why Do Families Choose Aura?
- Aura is an affordable and intuitive platform for family identity theft protection.
- Aura has a sleek and responsive user interface, which is easy to set up and use, making it effortless to protect your family across all devices.
- Aura offers a host of proactive features that help you react quickly to fraud (not when it's too late).
- Aura protects the whole family against threats like child identity theft, elder fraud, and cyberbullying.
- Aura offers social media scans and dark web monitoring.
- Parents can feel confident that their kids won’t be able to get around the content filters.
- Parents can monitor how much time teens are spending online.
- Aura helps protect your elderly parents from online scams and fraud.
- Aura flags suspicious websites and unsafe internet portals.
- Aura cam protect credit cards and PayPal information if anyone in the family lands on a malicious website.
- Aura is a comprehensive digital safety solution that provides peace of mind to help you save money and live more securely.
2. Identity Guard
Identity Guard is consistently a top provider in family identity theft protection that has been in operation since 1996. In 2018, Intersections Inc. united under a new brand name, Aura™. Aura has now established itself as the new standard in digital security.
Identity Guard - Pros:
- Trusted Brand Name: Identity Guard has shown that its leadership and product reliability can be trusted to protect your personal and financial assets.
- Advanced Partnerships: Identity Guard partners with IBM to collect and analyze data with advanced methods and technologies.
- Advanced Technology: Identity Guard leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and monitors identity threats with IBM® Watson®™
- Mobile App: Identity fraud is unpredictable. A mobile app where you can manage features at your fingertips is critical for case resolution and convenience.
- U.S. Based Support: If you are the victim of identity theft, it can be frustrating to encounter heavy accents and language barriers when needing customer support. Identity Guard offers U.S. based case managers to provide local assistance.
Identity Guard - Cons:
- The Ultra Plan is the most comprehensive Identity Guard offering, but it does come at a higher price point than their Total Plan.
- Credit protection is only offered with higher-tier packages. Annual credit report is only included in the Ultra plan.
- White Glove Resolution Concierge only comes included with the Ultra plan.
Identity Guard - Key Features:
- Dark Web monitoring.
- Social media scanning.
- Annual credit reports.
- Alerts from the major credit bureaus.
- Monthly credit score report.
- Home title monitoring.
- Monitoring of retirement and investment accounts.
- Monitoring of sex offender registries.
Special offer: Save 33% on your Identity Guard membership today.
Identity Guard - Plans & Costs:
Why Do Families Choose Identity Guard?
- Trust is a huge factor. Identity Guard, powered by Aura, was the #1 rated identity theft protection service by U.S. News in 2022.
- Identity Guard includes a range of tools to keep you safe as you bank, shop, or pay bills online.
- Also, Identity Guard uses IBM Watson's AI system to rapidly monitor vast amounts of data — pinpointing threats as you browse on any device.
- This technology scans the Dark Web to check for any personal information exposure.
- Identity Guard's combination of speed, vast industry experience, and powerful partnership with IBM make Identity Guard an attractive option to keep your family safe.
LifeLock Inc. is an American identity theft protection company. Based in Tempe, Arizona, this security system helps protect personal information and alerts users to any credit score changes or identity theft.
LifeLock is an established brand name, there's no denying it. There are many reliable alternatives to LifeLock out there, but many customers choose them because of their recognizable household name, as well as integration with Norton.
LifeLock - Pros:
- 24/7 customer service support.
- Includes coverage of up to $1 million for legal fees.
- 60-day money-back guarantee with annual membership.
- Recognized, household name brand that's been around forever.
LifeLock - Cons:
- FTC Lawsuits, bad publicity stunts and crypto mining software - read more.
- Steep renewal costs ranging from a 40–70% increase from the original signup rate.
- One of the most expensive overall solutions on the market when you factor renewal pricing.
- Family plans charge an extra $5.99 per child.
LifeLock - Key Features:
- Dark Web monitoring.
- Data breach notifications.
- Antivirus and malware protection.
- Password manager.
- Parental controls.
- Cloud backup for Windows computers.
- Social Security number monitoring.
- Integrations with Norton (parent company).
LifeLock - Plans & Costs:
Note: Pricing information is current from Lifelock as of May, 2022. The prices listed above are for the Family Plan (two adults + five kids).
Why Do Families Choose LifeLock?
- LifeLock is one of the most well-known products on the identity theft protection market.
- In addition to its robust security features and support for identity theft recovery, it has a well-designed mobile app that is easy to use.
- Key features of the service include dark web monitoring, antivirus software and access to a VPN.
- LifeLock was acquired by Norton in 2017. This means every account integrates with Norton 360 online protection against viruses and phishing.
Related: Aura vs. LifeLock Comparison: 2022 Showdown →
IdentityForce is a leading provider of identity theft protection software to individual consumers, families, businesses, organizations, and U.S. government agencies. Its headquarters are in Massachusetts, where IdentityForce was first incorporated in 1978.
IdentityForce - Pros:
- Detailed reports with actionable notifications.
- Intuitive user interface on their desktop version.
- 24/7 identity theft monitoring.
IdentityForce - Cons:
- Only two service plans offered.
- No refunds for cancellations.
IdentityForce - Key Features:
- $1 million identity theft insurance.
- Malware protection for mobile devices.
- Junk mail opt-out.
- Social media monitoring.
- Anti-phishing and anti keystroke logging software.
- Payday loan application alerts.
IdentityForce - Plans & Costs:
Note: Pricing information is current from IdentityForce as of May, 2022. You can add children to any plan for $2.75 a month.
Why Do Families Choose IdentityForce?
- While on the expensive side, the two identity theft protection plans from IdentityForce offer many advanced features that other competitors don't include.
- For example, the deceased family fraud remediation services may come in handy for anyone dealing with the stolen identity of a deceased family member.
- Another useful add-on is the ChildWatch service, which is available to adult members on IdentityForce.
- Smart SSN Tracker alerts parents to any attempts to compromise your children’s Social Security numbers.
Outside of identity theft protection, IDShield also partners with Trend Micro to offer anti-malware protection, VPN, and password managers. IDShield kicked off this partnership in October 2021 to roll out affordable and comprehensive protection plans for individuals and families. IDShield is Android and iOS-compatible with family plans that cover up to 15 devices.
IDShield - Pros:
- Private investigator to help restore members’ identities.
- Family plans allow for up to ten dependents.
- Social media scan to find unwanted images and posts.
IDShield - Cons:
- Does not provide credit simulation to see how financial choices may change credit scores.
- Can be challenging to set up correctly.
- Single-bureau credit score.
IDShield - Key Features:
- 24/7 access to emergency customer support.
- Data breach notifications.
- Monthly credit score tracker.
- Lost or stolen wallet assistance.
- Credit freeze and fraud alert assistance.
- Identity consultation services.
IDShield - Plans & Costs:
Pricing information includes both individual and family plans. All plans also come with a 30-day free trial.
Why Do Families Choose IDShield?
- IDShield has a great mobile app that delivers fraud alerts and access to full-time licensed private investigators.
- Plans include Dark Web surveillance, credit score tracking for one year, and monitoring of your financial accounts, personal information, and court records.
- You can also use IDShield to monitor social media accounts, which is optimal for active families on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- IDShield social media scans look for exposed home addresses, emails, birthdays, and Social Security numbers.
Zander identity theft protection is a service from the independent insurance group Zander Insurance, which offers a wide array of financial products and services at extremely affordable prices.
Zander - Pros:
- Endorsed by Dave Ramsey, a powerful and well-respected name.
- More affordable plans compared to other solutions in the market.
- Recovery specialists are assigned to every case of identity theft
- Comprehensive identity monitoring, alerts, and recovery.
Zander - Cons:
- No credit monitoring services.
- No free trial.
Zander - Key Features:
- Dark Web monitoring.
- Social Security number monitoring.
- Address change monitoring.
- Data breach updates.
- Lost Wallet service.
- Support and recovery services, 24/7.
- $2,000,000 coverage for stolen funds.
Zander - Plans & Costs:
Each of Zander’s plans comes with both individual and family options. The Family Plan includes protection for any two adults and free coverage for children.
Why Do Families Choose Zander?
- Zander is endorsed by Dave Ramsey, one of the most respected names in the industry.
- Zander’s unique value proposition is its price. It’s one of the most affordable family identity theft protection services on the market.
- You can get inexpensive coverage that will keep you safe from financial fraud, tax fraud, Social Security fraud, employment fraud, and medical ID theft.
- Zander also lets you add coverage for an unlimited number of children, which is ideal for big families on a budget.
- Zander has a big focus on identity restoration. The company will assist victims of identity theft with up to $1 million in stolen funds reimbursement.
PrivacyGuard offers a useful identity theft protection app that helps you monitor and control your most valuable credit and identity information. Service alerts cover all three credit agencies, the Dark Web, and public online spaces.
Another popular feature of PrivacyGuard is access to a fraud resolution team that does most of the legwork to dispute fraudulent charges when dealing with credit agencies.
PrivacyGuard - Pros:
- 14-day trial period at $1 per day.
- Dedicated ID fraud resolution teams.
- Flexible credit, identity, and total protection options.
PrivacyGuard - Cons:
- No insurance or compensation coverage.
- PrivacyGuard doesn’t offer social media surveillance.
PrivacyGuard - Key Features:
- 24/7 credit monitoring
- Dark Web monitoring
- Personalized credit report
- Personalized ID theft risk assessment
- Valuable document registration
- Cifas protective registration
- Access to your own fraud adviser.
PrivacyGuard - Plans & Costs:
Why Do Families Choose PrivacyGuard?
- PrivacyGuard boasts some of the best utilities including robust antivirus protection and a credit calculator.
- If your credit takes a hit, you can use PrivacyGuard to initiate a credit freeze.
- There's no dedicated family plan from PrivacyGuard, nor can you add your family members to an existing individual account.
- Instead, you can set up PrivacyGuard to monitor the Social Security numbers of up to ten children.
Family Identity Theft Protection: FAQs
No family identity theft protection service is a catch-all. All services mentioned above, including Aura and Identity Guard are essential monitoring and recovery products. Protection against identity theft starts with a deliberate resolution to organize and limiting access to your personal information.
Aura and Identity Guard consolidate all your monitoring information on a single dashboard to save you time. Recovery steps may also seem daunting to do alone and involve dozens of man hours. This is where paid services are beneficial.
If you’ve made it this far, you know the importance of your family’s digital security. Here are some frequently asked questions to help your decision-making process.
Can I monitor my credit and bank accounts myself?
The reality is that you could do most of this stuff on your own. But it's a time-consuming, manual process.
Family identity theft protection services make it easier to be proactive about digital security than be reactive after a breach. With one dashboard that monitors your entire family's passwords, bank account numbers, and email accounts, you’re more informed than you would be on your own.
In doing so, these programs prevent identity theft. They also monitor the Dark Web as well as your credit file, alerting you if someone compromises your most valuable information.
Family identity theft protection — is it really worth it?
It’s a common misconception that simply subscribing to an ID theft protection service will prevent fraud. Signing up for a service and trusting that vendor with your PII are only step one and two.
Products like Aura and Identity Guard only become truly valuable if you take action based on the early alerts you get. When one dashboard flags potential vulnerabilities with your SSN or social media accounts, it’s easier to secure those accounts immediately.
Investment fraud cost Americans $1.6 billion in 2021, with a median loss of $3,000 per person. In the unfortunate event of a breach, fast remediation with expert guidance can be the difference between walking away unscathed or being swindled.
What are some common identity theft scams?
- Account takeover.
- Debit or credit card identity theft.
- Child identity theft.
- Social Security number identity theft.
- Tax identity fraud.
- Driver’s license identity theft.
- Online shopping fraud.
- Senior identity theft.
- Mail identity theft.
- Medicare scams.
Past FTC reports suggested that older citizens were more susceptible to scams. However, new data from February 2022, showed that 41% of victims were between the ages of 20–29. Any of your family members — the young or the elderly — could be victims of these ten most common scams:
How much does family identity theft protection cost?
The best "bang for your buck" plan that offers your family the most protection is Aura's Family Plan.
This option is $37/month, billed annually, or $50/mo billed monthly. You can try Aura for 14-days free before committing to an annual plan.
Aura’s Family plan provides coverage for up to five members of your family (kids or adults) which includes premium identity theft protection, credit monitoring, online security and privacy tools (like VPN, antivirus, and safe browsing) and $1 million in identity theft insurance for every adult member in your plan.
Find a detailed breakdown here ←
How do I know if my identity has been compromised?
- Your credit report doesn't seem accurate
- There’s suspicious activity on your credit card and bank statements
- Unexpected physical mail reach you from financial institutions
- Physical packages and mail go missing
- Your personal documents are lost or stolen
- Incoming phone calls and voicemail messages seek PII
- An unusual amount of texts or emails prompt clicks on spammy links
- Unfamiliar SMS verification codes show up in your inbox
- Your income tax return is way off or has already been filed
- Unfamiliar devices have access to your online accounts
More ways to spot scams: How To Know If Your Identity Has Been Stolen ←
A family member’s identity was stolen. What should I do?
- File an Identity Theft Report with the FTC
- Report the identity theft to the credit bureaus
- Consider a credit freeze
- Notify your financial institutions
- Alert your cellular carrier to prevent SIM swapping
- Consider canceling your bank accounts and credit cards
- Immediately change the usernames and passwords to your online accounts
- Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to get a free credit report from the major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
Initial steps to recover your family member’s identity include initiating a fraud alert, freezing credit, filing an ID theft report, contacting all credit bureaus, and placing an extended fraud alert.
We break these down some more on this post: How To File A Police Report For Identity Theft ←
Why should you choose Aura?
We'll let Vince Russo and U.S. News do the talking for us!
Aura delivers security, privacy, and parental controls on one intelligent platform.