Is Your Child's Identity Safe?

September 29th, 2011

At the age of 3, Caitlin's identity was stolen.  Over the next 14 years, 42 accounts were fraudulently opened in her name, including mortgages, auto loans, credit cards and various other accounts.  By age 17, Caitlin held over $700,000 in debt. 

A child's identity is more than 50 times more likely to be stolen than the identity of an adult.  By combining a child's social security number with his or her own name and birth date, an identity thief can jeopardize a child's ability to buy a car, get a job, or obtain a loan in adulthood. 

As a parent, it is critical to take necessary precautions to ensure that your child's identity is protected.

        Have age-appropriate conversations with your child.  Explain to your child what "identity" means and why it needs to be protected.  To engage your child, ask questions like "How would you feel if somebody said you did something that you didn't do?"  If you have a teenager, make sure they understand the importance of credit and how it will affect their ability to rent an apartment, buy a car, obtain a loan, etc.

        Consistently monitor your child's identity.  You can access your child's identity report for FREE at www.allclearid.com.  Such a report will list any accounts held in your child's name.  Additionally, examine any offers of credit that your child may receive.  Credit card applications and pre-approved offers could be a sign that your child's identity has been compromised.

        Forbid "identity sharing."  Unfortunately, a child's identity is frequently stolen by those closest to him.  Family members with tainted credit histories sometimes "borrow" a child's identity in order to obtain a better interest rate or receive approval on a loan.  Though parents, siblings, or other relatives may justify their actions, such action is never in the best interest of the child.  Do not allow family or friends to have unnecessary access to your child's social security number.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service, a program of the Partnership, is participating in National Protect Your Identity Week (October 16 - 22).  For more information on protecting your child's identity, go to www.ProtectYourIDNow.org.  You can also learn more about local ID protection events and services by calling (423) 490-5620 or Live Chat now!

 

Posted by | Topic: Identity Theft
1 Comment(s):
Mighty useful. Make no mitsake, I appreciate it.

Emmy - October 28th, 2011 at 9:13 am

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