How To Protect Your Childern From Identity Theft

Children can be excellent targets for identity theft since it may not be discovered for many years.

Here are a few tips for helping to protect your child’s social security number.

* You can check if your child has a credit report. Hopefully they don’t! A child does not have a credit report until their social security number is used to apply for credit. Since a child doesn’t have a credit report, a fraud alert can’t be added to their social security number. However, there are several services that offer credit monitoring that will alert you if your child’s information was used in an attempt to get credit. Check with the major credit bureaus to see which service is best for you.

* Make sure to monitor your child’s online activity on social media sites and when making online purchases.

* Educate your child by teaching them the importance of keeping their personal information private – social security #, last name, address, etc.

*Make them aware of “phishing” and scam emails and teach them to delete these emails.

* Don’t allow your children to carry their social security card with them.

* If you are asked for your child’s social security number be sure to ask these three questions: Why is it needed? Is there another way to identify my child? How will my child’s information be protected?

*Shred all personal information using a cross cut shredder.

* Never use your child’s Social Security number to open account for your benefit. It will only hurt them in the long run.

How to know if your child’s identity might have been stolen:

* Your child receives mail such as pre-approved credit card offers and other financial offers only sent to adults.

* You try to open an account for your child and learn one already exist.

* An application is denied because of a poor credit history

* A credit report already exists in your child’s name. A credit report only exists if an application for credit or credit account has been filed

If you think your child’s identity has been compromised be sure to contact the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.

Consider requesting a credit freeze.

Contact the businesses where your child’s credit was misused.

File a report with the police department and continue to monitor their credit.

Check out these links for more information on keeping your child’s identity safe.

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2014/05/19/3-ways-to-protect-your-child-from-identity-theft

http://www.equifax.com/specs/child-identity-protection-kit/child-kit.pdf

http://www.transunion.com/childidentitytheft

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