A Parent’s Guide to Shielding Your Child From Identity Theft

Identity theft is becoming a common issue for children. More and more, parents are discovering that their child’s identity has been compromised and used to obtain credit. Don’t let this happen to you!

Protect your child from identity theft with these strategies:

1. Protect your child’s personal information. You can help prevent identity theft by keeping your child’s personal information safe.

* Avoid sharing your child’s social security number or date of birth unless it’s necessary. You can keep their records safe at home or in bank deposit boxes.

* Avoid posting personal information about your children online.

* Avoid giving out personal information to friends or family. Identity theft is common among friends or family members who become desperate.

2. Understand the potential sources of identity theft. It’s easy to assume that an anonymous, cold-hearted criminal can steal your child’s identity. However, this isn’t always the case for these types of crimes.

* Parents are often shocked to learn that their close friends and family can be responsible for child identity theft.

* Close friends and family have easier access to your child’s personal financial information. They may not think about the long-term consequences and damage they create for the child.

3. Check your children’s credit reports. It’s important to start checking your children’s reports at an early age.

* Instead of waiting for your child to become a teenager or turn 18, you may want to get into the habit of checking their credit reports every year. It’s possible for thieves to steal identities from babies and toddlers. You don’t want to wait to discover a credit mess on your child’s report.

* It’s easier to correct errors and identity theft on a child’s report if it’s spotted sooner. You may even be able to trace who is responsible for it.

* You’ll want to get credit reports from all of the major bureaus and check them carefully.

4. Sign up for credit monitoring services. You can be vigilant, but credit monitoring services can catch things even faster.

* There are credit monitoring services available from multiple companies. Compare costs and find the plan that works for your family and children. You can use it as extra protection against identity theft.

5. Sign up for credit freeze options. You can freeze your child’s credit to avoid identity theft.

* In some states, credit freeze options have a small fee while in others they are completely free. In addition, if your child has become a victim of identity theft, then the services are free.

* A credit freeze prevents lenders from being able to see your child’s report, so they can’t give out credit to anyone.

* You can lift the freeze, and your child’s credit won’t be affected.

6. Pay attention to your child’s school forms. Is your child’s school asking for too much personal information?

* Data breaches, hacks, and scammers can affect schools. Your child’s identity can be compromised because of school records. It’s important to pay attention to forms and announcements that come from their school.

* As a parent or guardian, you’re responsible for approving the release of your child’s personal information. You can ask to see the records at any time.

* Also, pay attention to school directories. They can include names, photos, addresses, dates of birth, and other data. You can opt out of sharing such personal information.

Child identity theft is increasing and becoming a bigger issue. Follow these steps to help keep your child’s identity safe.

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