You might not even think about your child or children being the subject of credit fraud but it is out there.
Children are easy targets for identity thieves because it could go undetected for years. All that’s needed to open credit card accounts is a Social Security number and your child’s could be at risk. A child’s social security number can be used to apply for government benefits, open a bank account, apply for a loan or even rent a place to live.
Many school forms require personal and sometimes sensitive information. Find out how your child’s information is collected, used stored and thrown away. Your child’s personal information is protected by law and asking schools and other organizations to safeguard your child’s information can help minimize your child’s risk of identity theft.
It’s a good idea to check whether your child has a credit report close to their 16th birthday. If there is one and it has errors due to fraud or misuse, you will have time to correct it before they apply for a job, a loan for tuition or a car.
Some red flags to be aware of are:
- Your child begins to receive suspicious mail, like pre-approved credit cards and other financial offers normally sent to adults but in his/her name.
- You try to open a bank account for him/her but find one already exists or the application is denied because of a poor credit history.
- A credit report already exists in his/her name.
Here is the contact information for all 3 Reporting Bureaus
Equifax Experian TransUnion
1-800-525-6285 1-888-397-3742 childidtheft@Transunion.com