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How to Protect Your Child from Identity Theft

July 11th, 2011 at 05:36 pm

With the constant rise of identity theft, it was only a matter of time before our children became the target. As a parent we do everything we possibly can to protect our children, but how many of us think about someone trying to steal our child's identity? To an identity thief, stealing a child's identity is perfectly safe and will usually go unnoticed for years.

What Information Should Be Protected

You need to exercise caution when it comes to your child's social security number and their birth certificate. You should never carry these items in your purse; they should be kept in either a fire proof safe in your home or in a bank safe deposit box. Of course, there will be instances when you will need these documents, but make sure that they are absolutely necessary before handing them over to anyone.

Credit Checks

All three major credit bureaus offer parents the opportunity to check if their child has an open credit file. This is free to parents, but you will have to provide documentation proving that you are the legal guardian. You will generally have to send a copy of your driver's license, social security card, and a copy of their birth certificate. You may also want to contact the social security administration and request an earnings statement for your child's social security number. You should contact these companies at least every other year. You may also use a credit monitoring service; for a fee, they will watch your child's social security number and alert you if there is any activity.

Identity Theft Education

As your children grow into young adults, it is very important to teach them the responsibility of keeping certain information private. Social networking sites have become a breeding ground for identity theft. The thieves offer what appears to be a fun survey, but in reality it is a questionnaire that exposes private information.

Danger Signs

If your child starts receiving pre-approved credit offers in the mail or if telemarketers begin calling and asking for your child by their name, that should be seen as a warning. You should contact the credit bureaus and request a credit file check as soon as possible. If you receive a collection notice in your child's name, then you know someone has stolen their identity and you will have to begin to restore it.

Take Action

Your child's identity has been stolen, so what do you do about it? Restoring your child's credit will be a daunting task, but the sooner you begin repairs the better off your child will be. The first step will be to notify the credit bureaus--each bureau should be notified individually as they may different protocols that need to be taken. You will need to notify the police and have a report written up. You will probably need this report when you start contacting the creditors. This is a big part of

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identity theft prevention and will help prevent further theft.

1 Responses to “How to Protect Your Child from Identity Theft”

  1. patientsaver Says:

    This is one of the topics I used to write about at my last job before my layoff. As I did my research for various stories, I ran into plenty of immoral parents and other relatives who would use a child's SS number to get a loan. As you pointed out, children are often seen as an ideal target by would-be ID thieves becus in most cases there would be no reason for the parents or the child him/herself to check their credit until they were 16 and needed either a car loan or college loan. So any ID theft could go undetected for years.

    I might add that adults, not just children, should be extremely wary about who they provide their SS number to. It's become so routine for doctor's offices to ask for that on a new patient application. I leave it blank, or if pressed, I write down my birthday that's different by a day.

    The 2 most valuable pieces of personal ID that you should be protecting would include: 1. SSN, 2. Birth date.

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