Prevent Child Identity Theft – Keep Your Child’s Personal Information Safe.
Why Is Child Identity Theft So Attractive For Thieves?
is estimated that around five percent of ID fraud involves thieves
cloning the identities of children – infants, minors and teens.
Why should that be? Why do criminals seek to steal the personal information of kids?
In most cases children will have unused and spotless credit records and this makes them highly desirable victims for identity thieves.
they have a youngster’s ID, the crooks can cultivate it until it has an
established credit score then use and abuse it, and they usually have
plenty of time to do that.
Most parents would not think to run a check on their young son or
daughter’s credit record and the child will not be applying for a loan
or credit card until they are older.
It is then that the years of
child identity theft comes to light. What a horn of plenty a child’s ID
can be for identity thieves.
Child Identity Theft – How Is It Done?
thieves do not need much in the way of information to open a bogus
account. The golden piece of information is the child’s Social Security
Of course, children should be taught the importance
of not revealing their SSN.
They should understand not to reveal it to
anyone, not to their friends, classmates, family members, teachers,
youth leaders and other adults in positions of authority. But . . .
. . . unfortunately, a child revealing their Social Security number is not the only way that information gets spread around.
A child will have a clean credit record and an application for a loan is not likely to be made for some years. This makes them highly desirable targets and at risk of child identity theft.
There are some situations when a request for a child’s Social Security number is necessary, financial, tax etc.
it is often requested in situations where the need is questionable.
may be asked for your son or daughter’s SSN by schools, collages, youth
groups, sports clubs, doctors, dentists and other medical
You can always ask if it is absolutely essential
to supply this information.
Ask about their security precautions, is
everyone in the organization subject to a background check?
your concerns about child identity theft, it may just be that they will
not insist that you give your child’s Social Security number.
not carry your children’s Social Security number, or other personal
information, with you in your purse or wallet unless it is necessary to
do so, it is easy to become a victim of a Pickpocket or a Purse Snatcher.
Likewise, teach your children not to unnecessarily carry their personal information around with them.
ensure that all documents containing personal information for all
family members are stored somewhere secure. Always shred old unwanted
documents before throwing them out.
Educate your children about
the dangers of sharing personal information online. Make sure they know
what not to reveal on social networking sites.
How Do You Know Your Child’s ID Has Been Stolen?
What could give you suspicion that your child’s identity has been compromised? Here are some occurrences that could alert you.
- Unsolicited credit card/credit offers arrive for your child.
- Your child receives letters or calls from debt collectors.
- Warrants for traffic violations arrive for a minor.
- The Internal Revenue Service tells you your child’s SSN is a duplicate.
- Government assistance is denied because your child is already in receipt of benefits.
- You are told when you try to open a bank account for your son or daughter that an account with their SSN already exists.
- You receive an employment verification call for your child that is not working and has never worked.
health insurance provider refuses to cover a medical procedure because
it has given cover already, and your child has not had that procedure. (
See Medical I.D. Theft. )
observe that someone who has, or has had, access to your child’s
Social Security number is suddenly, and perhaps inexplicably, affluent.
Of course it may not mean child identity theft has taken place, there
could be many legitimate reasons for that new wealth.
If something gives you cause to suspect that your child’s identity
may have been stolen, you can contact the three major credit reporting
bureaus to find out if there are credit reports with your child’s
Social Security Number. A report should not exist if you child has no credit against them.
The three main credit bureaus are:
- Equifax: Office of Consumer Affairs P.O. Box 105139 Atlanta , GA 30348
- TransUnion: PO Box 6790 Fullerton, CA 92834
- Experian: PO Box 9554 Allen, TX 75013
The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) recommends that you write to, rather than phone the bureaus.
If it is confirmed that a credit report is in existence you may place a Fraud Alert.
The ITRC recommended that you do not request a credit report for a
minor unless you suspect child identity theft has been committed. It
is particularly not recommended to make annual checks as you would if
monitoring your own report.
There should not be a credit
report against a child’s SSN so requesting a check (when you do not have
reason to believe fraud is being committed,) can actually cause
Child ID Theft By A Parent.
It may come as a shock to learn that the perpetrators of child identity theft are often that child’s very own parent.
Children should be taught the dangers of revealing personal information online.
Why would a parent be despicable enough to steal their own child’s identity for financial gain?
the parent gets themselves in a financial hole, their lines of credit
are maxed out.
Who is in a better position than a parent to steal their
son or daughter’s identity, they have all the personal information to
Maybe they think that by taking out just one more loan they
can fix their problems. The parent may intend to pay it off before the
child finds out about it. But of course that does not happen.
Mom or dad gets deeper in the soup and further abuses their child’s ID. This situation can continue for years.
the child gets older they seek employment or apply for a loan. Then the
state of their credit report comes out into the open.
the teen do? Suffer a bad credit rating for years and struggle to pay
the debts that their parent has run up? Or report their parent as the
Not a happy bind for a young person to be in.
Child Identity Theft By Estranged Parent.
It does happen that an estranged parent steals the identity of their child.
you have cause to suspect that your ex or separated spouse has run up
debt in your child’s name you can ask the three major credit agencies
if your child has a credit report, which should of course not exist if
your child has no credit against them.
Apart from the financial
damage which can take some time to repair, a child that has had their ID
stolen by a parent will most likely suffer emotional damage. This too
may take some time to repair, counseling can help.
As well as
child identity theft being committed by a parent, offspring have been
known to steal the ID of their parent. Sometimes this also can go on for
some time before discovery, especially if the parent is a little
Identity Theft Prevention
Child Identity Theft.
Identity Theft Facts : Keep aware of ID theft facts.
By being aware of identity theft facts you can greatly reduce your chances of identity fraud.