Is Your Child at Risk of Identity Theft?
As a parent, you worry constantly about the health and well-being of your children. From the dangers of the schoolyard and online bullying to the risk of abduction and crime, you are confronted with plenty of scary challenges.
Given the seriousness of the other dangers, it is easy to put things like identity theft on the back burner, but if your child becomes a victim, the damage could be both long lasting and difficult to unravel. Due to the unique nature of childhood identity theft, the crime may not be uncovered for years or even decades, and by the time you realize your child has been victimized, the damage could already be done.
Unfortunately, children make tempting targets for identity thieves, in part because the crime is so difficult to uncover. That is why parents need to take a proactive approach to protect the next generation from financial crime. Your son or daughter may not need to worry about their credit and financial profile for years, but that does not mean you get to rest easy. Here are some tips to protect your child from the dangers of identity theft.
Memorize Their Social Security Numbers
Sharing your son or daughter's Social Security number can be risky, and carrying their Social Security cards in your wallet could be even more dangerous. So do yourself, and your children, a favor by memorizing their Social Security numbers.
Once you know those Social Security numbers by heart, take the cards and lock them away in a safe or other secure location. Keep in mind that many instances of childhood identity theft originate with family members, so it is doubly important to safeguard that private information.
Work with the School District
When you sign your child up for school, you will need to provide their Social Security numbers, and that could put their identity at risk. Whenever you provide any personal information, including Social Security numbers, find out how the school uses that data, and what they do to safeguard it.
Do not assume that the school district is up to date about the dangers of childhood identity theft. Some schools are woefully unaware of these risks, so sharing your concerns could help them improve their security and help other parents as well.
Watch Out for the Warning Signs
Even though childhood identity theft can be difficult to uncover, there are some warning signs to look out for. Knowing these warning signs could help you nip an identity theft attempt in the bud, so you can minimize the impact and take steps to protect your child and their future finances.
Keep a close eye on the mail your child receives - if you see a bunch of credit card offers, loan applications or other financial documents, chances are your child has already been victimized. If you see any suspicious activity or any unusual mail, contact the local authorities at once to start the recovery process.
Review Your Child's Credit Reports
Hopefully, you already review your own credit report, but what about your children? Your children may be too young to own a credit card or sign a contract, but they are not too young to be the victims of identity theft.
The next time you review your own credit file, take a minute to check the credit files for your children as well. It should not take long - unless there is a problem. If you see any unusual activity, contact the credit reporting agencies right away to report the problem and start working to resolve it.
The threat of identity theft is always out there, and the victims are getting younger and younger. Many scammers have already discovered that children are uniquely vulnerable to financial fraud and identity theft, especially when their parents are busy with other things. If you want to protect your children, you need to take a proactive approach to prevent identity theft, starting with the tips listed above.
It is highly recommended that everyone who suspects their personal information has been compromised, obtain identity theft protection as soon as possible. There are several organizations that provide identity theft protection service to US residents. We have selected the best 3 protection plans allowing you to get protected immediately and for free for the first 30 days. Select the most suitable option for you below.
Consumers who have been targeted by scammers over the phone or the internet could have had their identity breached. It is highly recommended that everyone who suspects their personal information has been compromised, obtain identity theft protection as soon as possible. There are several organizations that provide identity theft protection service to US residents. We have selected 3 protection plans allowing you to get protected immediately and for free for the first 30 days. Select the most suitable option for you below.