Identity thieves are after children’s Social Security numbers. With this number, a thief can do so many things like open a credit card account and rent an apartment. Kids’ SSNs have great appeal to crooks because:
- A child’s record is usually very clean.
- This means fertile opportunities for new credit lines.
- Kids usually don’t check their credit reports and thus the fraud can go undetected for years.
Parents should consider putting a freeze on their kids’ credit. Simply getting the credit monitored will not prevent thieves from opening accounts using the child’s SSN. A freeze does literally that: blocks a fraudster from doing anything.
- Will not create a file for a child unless required by state law, unless they are victimized.
- However, will give a free copy of an existing file of a child to the parent and will freeze it upon request.
- There may be a very small fee unless the parent provides proof that the minor’s identity was stolen.
- Their freeze is free and doesn’t answer to any state requirements.
- The child need not already be a victim of ID theft to get the freeze.
- Their site allows parents to check for a credit file of their kids.
- Freezes are permitted only in states that allow this. Fees may apply.
Innovis (another credit reporting agency)
- Parents can place a freeze no matter what their state says.
Not all the states provide protection for minors’ credit. Find out what your state’s requirements are, as some, for instance, provide only a flag on the Social Security number. Other states have protection going up only to age 16.
Signs that someone is using your child’s SSN:
- You receive an IRS notice claiming your child didn’t pay income taxes.
- You get an IRS notice informing you that another tax return used your child’s SSN.
- You receive collection notices for things you didn’t purchase.
Rejection of government benefits because the benefits are going to another account with your child’s SSN.