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How to Protect Your Kids from Identity Theft

Contributed by on August 30, 2011 at 8:16 pm

identity theft

Identity thieves are targeting children more, as they realize most parents don’t even realize the crime has occurred until years later when they have to use the child’s social security number for opening a bank account.  For this reason alone every parent should take the necessary steps to ensure that their children’s identities are safe.

Imagine a child’s identity being used by an ID thief and then that child having a very hard time getting credit when he becomes older.  It is a terrible crime and the consequences are even more devastating.  Here are some helpful tips to help protect your kids from identity theft.

First you will want to be aware of what is going on.  If your child is getting a lot of credit card requests in the mail it might be a sign that his identity has been compromised.  Minors are not allowed to have credit and therefore should not have a credit report.  You can try to lookup your child’s credit report to see if he has a credit score but don’t try to do this too often because you may get a false positive.  You see, by ordering a credit report repeatedly you may have a file opened in your child’s name and it will be hard to tell if any fraud has actually occurred or not.

Some people have resorted to getting a new social security number for their child, but this is not always the best idea.  First of all it is a very tedious and time consuming process, and it may also give the child harder problems down the road when trying to establish credit, since the other social security number may still be in the system.  It may take a while for everything to transfer, but this should probably be a last resort option.

Don’t give out information about your child that is not necessary.  Many companies will ask questions about your children but make sure his information is actually required.  Most of the time these businesses lack the skill and ability to protect the information that they gather from you, so if there is any breach of security on their end, it could result in your own identity theft.

Protect any personal documents you have about your child and don’t just leave them around.  You should shred any documents revealing personal information just as you would for your own personal documents that you didn’t want to fall into the wrong hands.  Foster children are even more susceptible to identity theft because their information is passed through so many hands, so try to be very discreet and careful if you do have foster children.

You also have the option to sign up for an identity theft protection service that offers protection for children as well as adults.  There are several companies that do this and it’s much less expensive than paying for ID protection for an adult, but it is just as important.  After all, a child losing his identity to this crime can be just as devastating for his future.  Follow these tips and be smart when dealing with any private information about your children.