You may not realize it, but a child’s personal information can be used to commit fraud just as easily as an adult’s. An identity thief can use their social security number to open bank and credit card accounts, apply for government benefits, apply for a loan, open utility service accounts, and event rent a home. But how can you protect your child’s information from fraud?
You can take the same steps that you would to protect your own personal information…
- Never give out your child’s social security number unless you trust the organization.
- Use different identifying information whenever possible.
- Use only the last four digits of their SSN whenever possible.
- Store all identifying documents and information in a safe place at home.
- Shred any identifying information before disposal.
Warning signs that your child’s information may have been compromised…
- Check with the credit reporting agencies (www.AnnualCreditReport.com) to see if there is a credit report under your child’s name or social security number. This is a sign that someone is using their information to commit fraud.
- Your child is turned down for government services because their name/info is already on another account.
- Your child receives notices from the IRS for tax-related issues.
- Your child receives calls or bills from creditors or collection agencies for unpaid debts.
Watch out for those warning signs, and take precautionary measures to protect your child’s identity.