As adults, we know the importance of a good credit report but have you ever thought to check your child’s credit?
Identity thieves are always using web crawling software to locate information like birth dates, social security numbers, and names that are pieced together to create a brand new identity. Thieves covet social security numbers from our kids because they’re clean credit slates. They can spend years using a child’s identity to take out loans, open credit cards, etc. because the rightful owners won’t find out until they open their first credit card or take out college loans years later.
Credit fraud and identity theft affects children in the same way it can harm adults. It causes years of financial damage before the crime is discovered and potentially requiring years of damage control to correct it.
As a result of identity theft, your child:
- May not be approved to open a bank or checking account.
- May not be accepted for credit, a mortgage or a college loan.
- Could be denied a driver’s license, as well as other household resources, such as a lease, utility accounts and more.
- Could have a criminal record in his/her name.
- Start monitoring your child’s personal information to see if they’re exposed and, if so, to what degree.
- Explain identity theft to your child so he/she knows it exists and the effect it could have on their future.
- Remind your child not to give personal information to anyone.
- Take note of mail, such as bills, DMV or Internal Revenue Service correspondence, as well as prepaid credit offers that arrive in your child’s name. Follow them up with a dispute.
- Keep your child’s Social Security card in a safe place, not in your wallet or purse.
- Only provide your child’s Social Security number when absolutely necessary; always question a business or individual’s “need to know”.
- Occasionally check all three credit bureaus — Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion® — to see if they have a credit report under your child’s Social Security number.
- If they don’t have a credit report under your child’s SSN (and normally they shouldn’t), then it’s unlikely that thieves are using it to obtain new credit.
- If any of the bureaus do have a credit report under a Social Security number belonging to your child, chances are he/she has been a victim of identity theft at some point.
- Talk to your kids about the risks of identity theft. They should not know their Social Security number yet, but you should caution them to avoid revealing any personal information, especially online, in school, and on social networking sites.
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Original post by Tech Savvy Mama