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Protecting Your Children From Child Identity Theft

Child Identity Theft: a Growing Problem

Child identity theft is on the increase in the 21st century. What is child ID theft? This type of ID theft occurs when someone uses the personal information of a minor to commit fraud. When a thief gets access to this information he can use that child’s information to get a job, obtain government benefits, medical care and much more. It can be quite a challenge to under the damage that results from the theft of a child’s identity.

While adults have the ability to monitor their own credit reports on a regular basis, it doesn’t usually occur to them to monitor their children’s credit reports. Unfortunately with the increases in identity theft of children it is essential for parents to become proactive.

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Warning Signs that Your Child May Be a Victim of Identity Theft of Children

  • Your child starts to receive mail that is normally sent to adults such as pre-approved credit card and other financial offers.
  • You attempt to open a financial account for your child and discover there is already one in existence or the application is not approved because of bad credit.
  • If you discover your minor child already has a credit report, he or she may already be a victim of identity theft of children.

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Learning How to Protect Your Child from Identity Theft

As parent s we go to great lengths to protect our children from physical harm by teaching them not to touch hot surfaces and making sure they are dressed appropriately for the weather. It’s also essential to protect their personal information so they do not face financial ruin before they are old enough to be approved for credit. Here are some of the steps you want to take in order to ensure the safety of your child’s personal information:

  • Make sure you keep your child’s personal information under lock and key. This includes at least the date of birth, social security number and birth certificate. Never carry your child’s social security number with you unless it is needed for something specific.
  • Avoid sharing your child’s social security number with those who have no need to have the information. Those who require the information might be doctors, insurance companies, the school or other medical facilities.
  • Only share personal information online when you have a secure connection. You can identify a secure connection by the lock icon in the address bar and a URL that begins with “https.”
  • Always make sure your computer has updated virus protection and a strong firewall. Never send any kind of personal information using an unsecured wireless connection in a public place.
  • If you access a website that requires a password, make sure you log out of the site when you are finished.
  • Reduce any chances of your child’s information being stolen or misused by learning who has access to your child’s personal information and read the notices schools must send explaining your rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This law protects the privacy of all student records and allows parents to opt out of the release of directory information to third parties up to and including other families.

Steps to Take If Your Child is a Victim of Child Identity Theft

Child identity theft statistics are alarming, and those who do not have to face the problem are certainly among the lucky ones. If you already have ID protection, you can include child identity theft protection to the package you already have. There is help available for those who discover their child’s identity has been stolen.

  • Cancel all open or compromised accounts and notify the issuers or creditors
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (877-438-4338) or send a letter to:
    Identity Theft Clearinghouse
    Federal Trade Commission
    600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
    Washington, DC 20580
  • File a report with the local police
  • Call the 3 major credit reporting agencies:
    Experian: 1-888-397-3742
    Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
    TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 has all the information you need to understand identity theft and get started protecting your financial future and that of your children. There is no obligation, and the online tools are easy to use. There is indeed no better time than the present to get started making sure your child’s future is secure.