Monday, January 13, 2020

Prevent Child Identity Theft

Prevent Child Identity Theft

Identity theft is a constant threat these days. With the number of major data breaches that have occurred in the past few years, such as the unprecedented Equifax breach in 2017, you’ve most likely experienced some form of financial fraud.

You might keep a close eye on your own finances for that reason, but your child can also be susceptible to identity theft. An identity thief can use your child's Social Security number to open a credit card, a bank account and apply for government benefits.

More Information Online Means More Child Identity Theft

According to the The Federal Trade Commission, many school forms require personal information and many are now online. Even novice hackers can get into systems easily to steal identity information. (My dog once received a credit card solicitation!) How your child's personal information is collected, stored, used and thrown away by their school can make a difference. As a parent or guardian you have the right to question the school and request they safeguard your child's information.
You can find a list of red flags to look for and how to repair the credit damage here. If you believe your child's credit may have been compromised, check to see if they have a credit report.
You can file an Identity theft claim with the FTC online or by phone 877-ID-THEFT

Avoid and Repair

Fortunately, a law went into effect in 2018 that lets you freeze your credit ― a helpful preventative measure ― for free. This can help avoid identity theft and or repair the credit damage afterwards if needed. You can freeze your child's credit so no one is able to use the information. (You can also freeze your own credit.)
The FTC suggests checking for a credit report in your child's name before they turn 16. You will need to fix any issues with the report before they apply for jobs, scholarships, loans or rent an apartment. Their credit plays a big part in all of these.
Identity thieves are ruthless and they do not care how much trouble they cause you. It can happen to anyone (or anyone's child). Even yours. Report any irregularitie you see and stay safe online!

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