Children are 60 times more likely to have their identities stolen than adults, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. Because you may not check your child’s credit report for more than a decade, thieves can use their stolen identities for years without being detected. A child’s identity can be appealing to scammers due to their clean credit – a virtual blank slate. The stolen identity can be used by the scammer to obtain fraudulent employment, medical insurance coverage, and dependent child tax exemption. The result of child identity theft can include unpaid debts, difficulty obtaining credit, and high-interest rates on loans and credit cards.
Better Business Bureau wants families to be proactive in fighting fraud. Lookout for these identity theft warning signs:
- Your family was turned down for government benefits because of a fraudulent claim by the identity thief.
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sends a letter addressed to the child after missed tax payments/filings.
- The child’s Social Security number was used on someone else’s income tax return.
- The child receives medical service bills or insurance invoices.
- Pre-approved credit card offers are being mailed to your home, addressed to the child.
- Collection agencies call and ask to speak to the child.
To keep your child’s identity safe, BBB offers the following advice:
- Check your child’s credit report for signs of fraud. You can do so for free once a year at com
- Contact your child’s school, school, doctor’s office, etc. to see who will have access to personal information and how the information will be kept safe.
- If you monitor your child’s credit online, make sure you use software to prevent third parties from obtaining what could be private information.
For tips on protecting your children’s identity when they, or you, are using social media, click here.
Source: CNBC and BBB.org