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Protecting your Child’s Identity from Child Identity Theft

Did your kid ever get a pre-approved credit card offer? If so, this is a sign that their identity might have been taken by a scammer. Child identity theft is when someone uses the minor’s Social Security number to commit fraud. This might include applying for benefits, opening up a credit card, or even taking out a loan. 

Child identity theft

This can go on for many years, and you might not know for a very long time. However, there are some things that you can do to keep your child’s identity safe. 

What are the Warning Signs of Child ID Theft and How it Occurs

Typically, child identity theft occurs when a kid’s Social Security number is stolen. There are many ways this can happen including from electronic data breaches and stealing official documents. Fortunately, there are some signs that this could be happening: 

  • Receiving a Pre-Approved Credit Card Offer – As said above, a pre-approved credit card offering could be a sign that your child’s credit is being used. Credit card companies only send an offer like this if they have access to your credit file. 
  • Getting Turned Down for Government Benefits – You might be trying to apply for benefits for your child when you find out you were denied. It could be because your child’s information is being used elsewhere. 
  • Getting a Notice from the IRS – If you get a letter that your child didn’t pay taxes, this is problematic, too. 
  • Getting a Call or Letter from a Bill Collector – If you get a call or letter from a collection agency for your child, there is a big issue. 

How to Protect Your Child’s Identity

Here are a few tips to protect the identity of your child:

  • Unless it is absolutely necessary, do not share your child’s Social Security number.
  • Lock away and keep your child’s info secure.
  • If you have documents with your child’s information on them, shred them before you toss them out.
  • Keep an eye on anyone in your home who might be tempted to use your child’s identity.
  • Learn about any school directory information policy. Find out if you can opt out, and then do it. 

What Should You do if You Child’s Information is Stolen

If you believe that your child’s information has been compromised, you should do the following: 

  • First, contact the top three major credit reporting companies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
  • Ask each agency to do a manual search of the Social Security number, and then do a search with the name AND the Social Security number.
  • Keep a record of phone calls and letters.

If you can confirm that your child is a victim of ID theft, immediately do the following: 

  • Contact the credit bureaus and explain what is happening. Ask them to remove any inquiries, collection notices, and accounts. You then have to show proof that the child is actually a minor. 
  • You also must contact any company where the information was used and ask them to close any accounts that are open due to ID theft. 
  • Put a fraud alert on the credit report of your child by contacting the credit bureaus. 
  • Consider putting a credit freeze on your child. This is the best way to ensure nothing happens to your child’s identity. This ensures that their credit is locked until they are an adult or until you choose to unfreeze it. 
  • Get a copy of the credit report of the child. If there is a credit report, they are very likely a victim of ID theft. If there is no report, that is good news. 
  • Report the incident with the FTC online or via phone.
  • Create a report at identitytheft.gov. 

Probably the most important tip here is to consider putting a credit freeze on your child’s credit report to protect their identity. Setting up a child’s credit freeze is a very different process than freezing an adults credit. The credit bureaus don’t make it easy, in fact, they try to make it as difficult as possible. Fortunately, CreditParent makes this process relatively seamless. For a significantly low fee, all the parent needs to do is gather their child’s information and submit it to CreditParent and they do all the heavy lifting. 

Having their identity stolen could be a bad thing for the future of your child, so take the steps now to fix it.

ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program.

Child Identity Theft: Protecting Your Child’s Identity

Do you have a kid who has gotten a pre-approved credit card offer in the mail? If so, their identity might have been stolen. Child ID theft is when a person uses a minor’s Social Security number to commit some type of fraud, which can include opening credit cards, taking out a loan, or even applying for government benefits.

Child Identity Theft

Something like this can go on for years, and you might not even know it. But there are things you can do to protect your child’s identity, so keep reading.

How Does Child Identity Theft Occur and What are the Warning Signs?

In general, child identity theft happens when their Social Security number is stolen. There are plenty of ways that this can happen from stealing official documents to electronic data breaches. So, what are the signs that this might be happening?

  • Getting a Pre-Approved Credit Offer – As mentioned, a pre-approved credit card offer might be a sign that your child’s credit is at risk. A credit card company only send these offers if it has access to a credit file.
  • Getting Turned Down for Benefits – You might also be trying to apply for some type of government benefit for your child but keep getting denied.
  • Receiving an IRS Notice – Letters claiming that your child didn’t pay income taxes is a big sign, too.
  • Getting a Letter or Call About an Unpaid Bill – If a collection agency is calling for your child, there is a big problem.

Protecting Your Child’s Identity

Here are some tips for protecting your child’s identity:

  • Don’t share your child’s Social Security number unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • Keep documents with your child’s information secure and locked away.
  • Shred any documents with your child’s information before tossing them out.
  • Be aware of anyone in your household who might use your child’s identity.
  • Learn about your child’s school’s directory information policy. Can you opt out?

What Can You Do if Your Child is a Victim of Identity Theft?

If you think that your child’s information is compromised, you should do the following:

  • Contact all three major credit reporting companies: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
  • Ask them to do a manual search of the file with the Social Security number and a separate search with the name AND Social Security number.
  • Keep records of letters and phone calls.

If you confirm that your child has been a victim, you need to do the following:

  • Reach out to all of the credit bureaus and explain the situation. Ask them to remove any collection notices, accounts, and inquires. You will have to give them proof that the child is a minor.
  • Contact any business where the information was used and ask them to close any open accounts due to identity theft.
  • Place a fraud alert on the child’s credit report by contacting one of the three credit bureaus.
  • Consider a credit freeze. Freezing a child credit is the best, most proactive way to prevent “new account fraud” and lock down your child’s identity until and after the age of 18. There are “do it yourself” ways of accomplishing this or they can be done for a nominal free at org.
  • Order a copy of your child’s credit report, which shouldn’t even exist if they are 17 or under. If there is a credit report, they are likely a victim of fraud.
  • File a report with the FTC by phone or online.
  • Go to identitytheft.gov and create a report.

This could be a bad thing for your child’s future, so it is very important that you take steps to fix it, right now.

ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program.