On top of consumer debt and your other financial obligations, protecting your family’s identity should be a priority. More often than you realize, your child’s personal information is used to commit fraud. And it’s just as easily as if it were an adult’s identity. So, what steps can you take to protect your child’s identity? How will you know if their identity has been compromised?
Protect Your Child’s Identity – Steps to Take
An identity thief can use your child’s social security number to commit numerous fraudulent activities. These include opening bank and credit card accounts, applying for government benefits, applying for a loan, opening utility service accounts, and even buying a home. But how can you protect your child’s identity from fraud?
These steps should not be any different from what you would do to protect your identity.
- Never give out your child’s SSN 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
Protect Your Child’s Identity – Warning Signs to Look Out For
- 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.
- If 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.
- If your child receives calls or bills from creditors or collection agencies for unpaid debts.
Managing debt is a crucial process in your financial life. Identity theft makes it more difficult. Therefore, take the necessary steps to protect your child’s identity as well as your own before anything can happen.