Child identity theft is on the rise, however, there are ways to prevent child identity theft. Identity theft is the act of taking someone's personal information and using it for financial gain. This type of crime usually targets adults. However, some brazen thieves steal the identities of innocent children. Don't let your child become a victim. Here are seven ways to prevent child identity theft.
1. Don't Carry Their Social Security Card
Interested in ways to prevent child identity theft? Never carry his or her Social Security card in your wallet. You may believe that this is a safe place. However, thieves can steal your wallet and gain access to your child's personal information. With this information, thieves can open accounts in your child's name and ruin his credit history.
2. Lock up Your Child’s Birth Certificate
Keep your child's birth certificate in a safe and secure location. Ideal places to store this important document include a locked safe or a locked file cabinet. In the event of a break-in, burglars will not have easy access to this document. Thieves can use this piece of information to assume your child's identity.
3. Do Not Share Personal Information
Be leery if a family member or friend requests your child's Social Security number. If a relative inquires about this number, ask questions. Don't readily hand over your child's personal information. Very few reasons justify sharing your child's Social Security number with others. However, if your child is the beneficiary on a life insurance policy, you may have to supply his or her Social Security number.
4. Teach Kids Privacy
Even if your child is too young to fully understand identity theft, always stress the importance of not sharing his personal information. Advise children not to share their information with classmates, neighbors, relatives and strangers. Additionally, monitor your children’s social media accounts to make sure they don't post too much information about themselves.
5. Be Suspicious of Mail
Given the fact that your child doesn't have a credit history, he or she should not receive credit card offers in the mail. If your child receives this type of mail, call creditors and opt out of pre-approved credit card offers. Do not simply throw these offers in the trash can. Shred these offers to stop thieves from applying for credit in your child's name.
6. Contact the Credit Bureaus
If you suspect that your child has been a victim of identity theft, contact all three credit bureaus immediately. Inquire as to whether there is a credit report in your child's name. If there isn’t a credit report for your child, he or she is safe. But if there is a report, this indicates identity theft.
7. Order His Credit Report
Obtain a copy of your child's credit report. Report fraudulent activity to the bureaus, and contact each creditor listed on the report to file a dispute. The bureaus will investigate and remove this activity from your child's history. Also, contact your local police department and file a report. Identity theft is a crime, and having a record of this crime can help clear your child's name faster.
Keeping your child's credit report clean ensures his ability to obtain financing as an adult. The sooner you start monitoring his credit activity, the easier it is to detect fraud. What steps have you taken to keep your child's credit report clean?