Identity theft is not something people often associate with children, but law enforcement officials say there are 500,000 cases of childhood identity theft each year.
There are lots of ways to steal a child’s identity, and it can ruin their credit. As a parent, these are the three things you need to protect:
- Your child’s name
- Date of birth
- Social security number
Parents need to become assertive and start to question why different organizations want your child’s social security number.
Some of the places that truly need your child’s social security number include credit card applications, certain federal benefits or programs, the DMV and military paperwork.
As a parent you can question why your doctor’s office, dentist or preschool needs to have your child’s social security number.
Then you want to ask who has access to this information, how is it stored, what happens to it once your child moves on or grows up, and what kind of policy is in place if there is a data breach.
Detective Michael Stevens, with the Orlando Police Department, said that in a lot their cases it’s someone with access to personal documents.
“Many times in our investigation, we find it is a person who has access to the forms and they are taking the information, copying it, selling it, or somebody not disposing of it properly, not shredding it.”
Other ways to protect your child’s identity:
- Never carry their social security card in your wallet or purse.
- Keep your important documents in a safe that only you have access to.
- Shred everything with your information on it, that you don’t need to keep.
- Another option – in the state of Florida – you can Freeze your child’s credit.
How to know if you child’s identity is compromised:
If a child is receiving bank statements with their name, or any type of commercial mail, that is typically a red flag that their identity could be compromised, law enforcement officials said.