child safety

How to Protect Your Child from Identity Theft: 7 Steps

In October 21, 2014

 

You may think that it would never happen, but some unscrupulous identity thieves will even target children’s identities. A child’s stolen identity can be manipulated to open lines of credit and even be used to help someone obtain a fake driver’s license, birth certificate or passport in your child’s name. This is a very scary potential outcome, and its effects could make things difficult on your child today and throughout his or her adult life. That is why it is so important that you begin taking steps to protect your child’s identity today. These seven steps are a great place to start.

  • Keep Tabs on Your Child’s Birth Certificate – You may need to use your child’s birth certificate to sign him or her up for sports leagues or even school. Make sure you get this certificate back and secure it after use. There is no need for your child’s birth certificate to be out “in the wild.”
  • Shred Junk Mail – If your child gets junk mail with his or her name or address on it, shred it and consider checking to see if a credit report exists in their name. While most junk mail is innocuous, there is no need for it to be available for a thief to use.
  • Guard the Passport – Your child’s passport is one of the most powerful documents he or she will ever have. Make sure it does not get away from you, and if it does, make certain it is reported stolen and replaced quickly.
  • Pull Your Child’s Credit – Pull a credit report under your child’s name. If you see anything that doesn’t make sense, follow up on it and make sure there is nothing happening that is questionable.
  • Don’t Share Social Security Numbers Freely – There are very few reasons that you will want to give your child’s Social Security number. Make sure anytime you provide your child’s Social Security number that it is on the “up and up.” This can help prevent your child from becoming an identity theft victim.
  • Watch for Warning Signs – Learn about the warning signs of identity theft. If your child is getting phone calls from credit companies or you receive mail from the IRS in your child’s name, these are major warning signs and something you must follow up on sooner rather than later.
  • Provide Your Child With Information – Teach your child about identity theft and how to protect against it. Giving your child basic information about the issue can provide them the necessary ammunition to protect his or her credit in the future as well.

As you can see, it is possible to start protecting your child’s identity even when he or she is young. It does not take much time or effort to do this, and it can make a big difference in your child’s finances later down the line. Why not get started today?

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