Child Identity Theft Protection

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

In a blog I guest contribute to called “NextAdvisor” they offer the following advice on child identity theft protection:

The following post in our Reader Question series is an actual user submitted question.

Q: I found out that someone used my grandson’s Social Security number to get phone service. How can I stop this? He’s only 11 years old.

A: If someone has used or is using a child’s Social Security number to secure a service, the child is a victim of identity theft. You should file a report with a local police department immediately. Having a police report will make it easier to have the fraudulent item or items removed from the child’s credit report. You should also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

You should also call the phone company to inform them that the service has been fraudulently obtained using a minor’s Social Security number. If you are your grandson’s legal guardian, you can request a copy of his credit report from all three credit bureaus, and ask that fraudulent items be removed and that his credit report be frozen until he turns 18. If you are not your grandson’s legal guardian, one of his parents will need to make this request.

When a parent or legal guardian contacts a credit bureau on their child’s behalf, they need to provide the child’s complete name, address, and date of birth, and copies of the child’s birth certificate and Social Security number. The parent or guardian must also provide a copy of their own drivers license or other government-issued proof of identity, including their current address, and a utility bill containing the current address.

Here is the contact information for the three credit bureaus:

Experian
(888)397-3742
http://www.experian.com

Experian
PO Box 9532
Allen , TX 75013

Equifax
(800) 658-1111
http://www.equifax.com

Equifax
P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta , GA 30348

TransUnion
(800) 916-8800
http://www.transunion.com

TransUnion
PO Box 6790
Fullerton , CA 92834”

And my advice. For your own good, protect your identity. Get a credit freeze. Go to ConsumersUnion.org and follow the steps for your particular state. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases, it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. This makes your Social Security number useless to a potential identity thief.

Invest in Intelius identity theft protection and prevention. Not all forms of identity theft protection can be prevented, but identity theft protection services can dramatically reduce your risk. (Disclosures)

Robert Siciliano identity theft speaker discussing child identity theft on NBC Boston


Child Identity Theft Victims

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

Jason Truxel was denied a mortgage because of bad credit. He had no idea that his credit scores were low, so he pulled his credit reports. He discovered a tremendous amount of debt, and accounts he had never opened. One such account showed that a credit card had been opened in his name when he was 13 years old. Jason found out the hard way that he was a victim of child identity theft. When Jason was a child, his father was convicted of credit card fraud. So he went to his father’s house and found a stack of credit cards with his name on them in a dresser drawer. When confronted, Jason’s dad said that Jason would never be able to prove anything. That’s a bad dad, if I’ve ever heard of one.

Diamond Daye is 11 years old. He’s going through the same problem. Except his mother is the identity thief. She’s 31, and owes thousands in rent and cell phone and cable bills.

Child identity theft is a growing problem. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that there are 500,000 new victims every year. The culprits are often parents, since they have direct access to their kids’ personal information. Irresponsible parents who have screwed up their own credit apply for credit in their childrens’ names, once they discover how easy it is. All a parent needs is a child’s Social Security number, and the fun begins. Creditors often fail to verify the applicant’s age, and simply accepts the application. Children rarely discover that they are victims of identity theft until they are adults, and are denied credit or employment because of their negative credit history. Sometimes the custodial parent discovers that his or her ex committed identity theft when the bill collector notices begin to arrive.

There’s not much a person can do to prevent child identity theft, other than regularly requesting fraud alerts and ensuring the credit hasn’t been issued under your child’s name.

What you should do to protect yourself and your children:

Protecting yourself from new account fraud requires a credit freeze, or setting up your own fraud alerts and in your childs’ name too. This provides an extra layer of protection. In most cases it prevents the opening of new credit.

Consider making an investment in Intelius Identity Theft Protection and Prevention. Because when all else fails you’ll have someone watching your back. Includes a Free Credit Report, SSN monitoring, Credit & Debit Card monitoring, Bank Account monitoring, Email fraud alerts, Public Records Monitoring, Customizable “Watch List”, $25,000 in ID theft insurance, Junk Mail OptOut and Credit Card Offer OptOut.

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing availability of Social Security numbers on Fox News