in Identity Theft

How to protect your child’s identity from ID theft?

Back to School

Time to protect your child’s identity

As you prepare to send your child(ren) back to school there is one “to-do” that is crucial to your child’s future.  Protecting your child’s identity from identity thieves.

Paperwork

It seems that every time you turn around someone is asking for either your or your child’s social security number.  The doctor’s office, school, sports, insurance, etc.  But do you really need to provide it?  It has become such common practice that most people do not give it a second thought.  They mindlessly do as they are told and provide their or their child’s social security number.  This is mistake number one.  When an organization asks for either your or your child’s social security number ask them if it is required.  You might be surprised by the answer.  Or if you are not comfortable asking them simply leave the section blank or only provide the last four digits of the social security number.  If the organization requires it then ask to see a copy of their privacy policy or ask them what measures they take to protect the information.  By limiting the number of organizations that have your child’s social security number you lessen of a chance of exposure through a data security breach.

Credit Report

Once ID thieves have your child’s social security number they will use it apply for credit.  Think about it.  A child typically does not have a credit report as there is no credit history.  Thus no reason for a parent to monitor it, giving thieves sixteen to eighteen years to use it undetected.  Thieves know this which is why children are a favored target.  Good news! There is a simple, low cost way to prevent this.  The best way is to lock down your child’s credit through a security freeze.  You can do this by contacting each of the major credit bureaus which are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.  Each bureau will provide you with the requirements for implementing the security freeze.  Or just click on the credit bureaus name in this article to open a link to their requirements.   On average the fee will be $10 per bureau per child.  ATTN: Florida residents the new KIDS (Keep I.D. Safe) Act in Florida becomes effective September 1, 2014.  To read the KIDS Act click here.

Education

Taking the above steps greatly reduce the chance of your child becoming a victim but it will not eliminate the risk.  There is still a chance your child’s identity could be use to file a fraudulent tax return or to gain employment.  While identity theft cannot be prevented 100% you can reduce the risk even further by talking to your child about identity theft.   If you need help resources are available.