1 in 10 Kids are Targeted
Identity thieves are seeking new targets, and your child might be an easy one. When a child is born, most parents apply for a social security number. Armed with that information or a birth certificate, fraudsters can easily apply for credit accounts, loans and government benefits to name just a few. And, because it will be years until your child applies for credit under his or her own name, the ID theft can go undetected for years.
Preventing Child ID Theft
The Federal Trade Commission offers these tips on protecting your child’s identity from being compromised.
• Find a safe location for all paper and electronic records that show your child’s personal information.
• Don’t share your child’s Social Security number unless you know and trust the other party.
• Many school forms require personal and sometimes sensitive information. Ask how your child’s information is collected, used, stored and thrown away. Ask if you can use a different identifier or just the last four digits of your child’s Social Security Number.
• Shred all documents that show your child’s personal information.
• Be aware of events that put information at risk, for example losing wallet or a break-in or security breach at your home, school or doctor’s office.
According to credit reporting company, TransUnion, here are some offs that someone might be misusing your child’s personal information and committing fraud:
• Your child begins to receive suspicious mail, like pre-approved credit cards and other financial offers normally sent to adults, in his or her own name.
• You try to open a financial account for him or her but find one already exists, or the application is denied because of a poor credit history.
• A credit report already exists in his or her name. If the child has one, he or she may have been targeted already, since only an application for credit, a credit account, or a public record starts the compilation of a consumer credit file.
What to Do
If you think your child’s personal information might have been compromised, the first step is to contact each of the nation’s three credit reporting companies. A Fraud Alert can be placed with your child’s credit report.
Equifax 800.525.6285 http://www.equifax.com/home/en_us
Experian 888.397.3742 http://www.experian.com/
Transunion 800.680.7289 http://www.transunion.com/