Dear Readers: Your young child may have a playdate with a friend, a T-ball lesson, a scavenger hunt, a piano lesson, a boat loan and a mortgage. Wait, a loan and a mortgage?!
If your child has a Social Security number, it’s at risk of being stolen. A bad guy can use a stolen Social Security number to rent an apartment, get utilities, apply for government assistance, open credit cards and even file taxes and have medical procedures!
It’s identity theft, and because they are kids, it could be years before you find out. Here are some hints:
≤ Check their mail carefully. Shred any preapproved offers. Force the company to remove the child’s name from its mailing list.
≤ Teach even young kids to not give out their name, date of birth, phone number or address to ANYONE face to face, over the phone or online.
≤ Contact all three credit bureaus — Equifax (www.equifax.com), Experian (www.experian.com) and TransUnion (www.transunion.com) — and request a copy of your child’s credit report.
≤ The Federal Trade Commission (www.consumer.ftc.gov) can help you draft letters to address ID theft with any companies involved.
≤ If something has occurred, place a fraud alert on your child’s credit report. This will last 90 days.
Your child’s credit is important. Keep it monitored and unfettered. — Heloise
(Heloise is a columnist for King Features Syndicate. Send money-or time-saving hint to P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or E-Mail: [email protected])