Is Your Family at Risk of Child Identity Theft?
Parents, when you weren't looking … Your toddler bought a new car. Your preschooler got a credit card. And your third grader started collecting unemployment. Think it couldn't happen? It can – and does. It’s called child identity theft. And your child may be an easier target during the summer months.
Here’s why – and what to look out for.
When you’re away from home, you remind kids not to wander off and never go anywhere with a stranger. But have you told them what to say if they’re asked simple questions like, “What’s your name?” and “When is your birthday?” Two seemingly harmless replies could give a thief all that’s needed to steal your child’s identity. If that happens, it could:
- Affect your child’s future credit and employment history. Thieves can obtain credit accounts or even get jobs using your child’s identity.
- Ruin your child’s credit by the time he or she becomes an adult.
- Affect your child’s good name. If the thieves are arrested for other crimes, those crimes could become associated with your child’s record.
Watch for red flags that may indicate your child’s ID has been stolen:
- You receive suspicious mail (e.g., pre-approved credit cards, other financial offers normally sent to adults) in your child’s name.
- When you go to open a financial account for your son or daughter, you find out that your child already has one.
- You learn that a credit report exists in your child’s name. This is a good indication that a thief may have gotten a hold of your child’s Social Security number and created a new identity.
Take steps now to protect your kids:
- Teach older children about child identity theft and caution them about sharing personal information (e.g., date of birth, address, Social Security number) with a stranger – or online.
- If you’re traveling, leave your child’s personal information at home in a secure place. When at home, keep all personal information under lock and key.
- Make sure your kids do not have a credit record. To confirm this, ask for a free manual search of your child’s credit report. Use the guide from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help you through the process.
When you’re spraying on the sunblock, securing the car seat and taking other safety measures to protect your kids this summer, don’t forget to safeguard their future, too. From protecting personal information to protecting your family’s financial security, what you do today can make a world of difference to your kids!
Written by Mary Thoele
This blog post is from the Author's perspective and doesn't speak for brightpeak financial. Contact brightpeak if you want to know more about brightpeak products, and keep in mind that they are not available in all states and there are some limitations (some exclusions and restrictions may apply).
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