Home & Family
Protect Your Child's Identity
1/3/2019 11:55:59 AM

Imagine you’re a young adult starting to make financial decisions. You apply for a loan, or try to open a credit card – but you’re denied. Why? It turns out your identity was stolen years ago, when you were still a child, and now you have to untangle the mess of a low credit rating left behind.

Unfortunately, this scenario is becoming increasingly common. However, there are steps parents can take to protect their child’s identity from theft – and protect their financial future.
Know the Red Flags
First, know the signs of your child’s identity being stolen. According to the FTC, there are a couple of things that can tip you off:
  • You receive a notice from the IRS saying your child has delinquent taxes.
  • You get collection calls or notices for services or bills in your child’s name that you know you haven’t accrued.
  • You are unable to sign up for government benefits because your child’s Social Security number is already being used.
Any of these are cause for concern, and should lead you to investigate.

Lower the Risks
As with any situation, prevention is the best option. Store all documents containing your child’s personal information in a secure manner, whether paper or digital. Shred documents before throwing them away. Only share their SSN if necessary, and if possible, only use the last four digits. 

Pay attention to their school’s privacy policies and the details of any forms you fill out with information like their date of birth, full name, SSN, and other personal identifiers.

Resist the urge to share your child’s full name and date of birth on social media – especially on public accounts. Remind grandparents and extended family of this, as well.

Check Their Credit
If you notice any of the red flags mentioned above, check your child’s credit immediately – and, if a credit score comes back, freeze their credit. 

Even if you never see any warning signs, however, the FTC says it is a good idea to go ahead and check their credit rating around age 16. This gives you a couple of years to handle any unknown problems before they turn 18 and their credit becomes more crucial.

Teach Them Online Safety
It’s no secret that kids and teens spend a great deal of time online or using electronic devices. Teach your children from an early age the importance of online safety. Make sure that in addition to things like stranger danger, they are learning never to share information about themselves through apps, online games, and more. Kids might not think twice about entering their full name and birthdate into an app to unlock features, but it’s easy to have a false sense of security!

Parents want to protect their children. It’s natural! So, while you’re baby-proofing, holding hands, and guiding them through the early years of their life, don’t forget to think about their financial future. Identity theft may never happen to them, but knowing the signs will mean that you are prepared to handle it if it ever does.
Posted by: Keaghan P. Wier | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Parenting

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