Identity theft is when someone illegally uses another person’s personal identity such as personal identification information like name, phone number, or credit card number without their acknowledgement. This is a fraud or crime committed against the exploited person as without their permission their identity is being misused.
Children are the most vulnerable group to identity theft as they do not have credit scores legally linked to banks or any assets to confirm until the age of 18, hence fraudsters can simply apply for loans or credits out of their name. In this article, we will discuss the tips to protect your child from identity theft similar to this example.
Identity theft protection is important to prevent any malpractice or crime from being committed under your name or personally identifiable information that is both misleading and dangerous.
Usually, identity theft movies and in real life suggest it as a method to gain financial benefits, to get credits, or other benefits which will be disadvantage or loss to the original beholder. The person victimized will suffer adverse consequences and falsely be held accused of the perpetrator’s actions.
The information which comes under the personally identifiable details is the person’s name, date of birth, social security pin, vehicle license number, bank account details, credit or debit card information, signature, fingerprint, passwords, or any information officially registered which can provide access to their financial access.
Children are similar to a blank slate for crime committers or fraudsters as they can use children’s Social security Numbers for illegal purposes which might go undetected for years as parents usually do not check to see if their child has any credit reports or loans in their name. Only at a later stage when the child grows as a young adult there might be some attempts to use their financial account when such theft is identified.
Another dangerous crime is synthetic identity theft in which fake information and identities fabrication occurs under children’s real Social security numbers. This includes using the number to file a false tax return, indulge in false credit reports, or even claim a child who is not theirs!
Hence, even the thought of someone stealing your or your child’s identity is frightening but as every problem has a solution, to prevent this one can also ensure proper identity theft protection to protect your child from identity theft.
Let us check out some of the best identity theft protection tips that everyone can follow to prevent and protect your child’s identity from getting into the wrong hands.
Checking the child’s credit reports
This is the first step to check and ensure the safety of your child’s identity in which you must see if your child has a credit report, if yes, then any red flag indicates a possible identity theft. In such an adverse case, inform the respective institution immediately as it may be illegal. The correct reports and documents are provided for verification of your child’s identity along with yours.
Security freezing is one of the tools which is a useful tool to prevent others from accessing your child’s credit reports. The security freeze allows the creation of your child’s credit report but then it will freeze. A parent or a legal guardian of a child under the age of 16 can ask for a security freeze on their credit reports. It requires the submission of documents and proofs showing that you are their parent or legal guardian.
Download the Equifax Minor Freeze Request Form which consists of instructions along with the documents required, email address, and other details. Along with this, there are several online solutions available for family credit monitoring such that ID theft protection is possible for the entire family.
Credit monitoring products like the credit sesame app can help to monitor the credit reports of the family members and children for regular checking of the credit reports activities. Some products have the flexibility of locking and unlocking your child’s report. It provides features like:
Other preventive tips like avoiding unnecessary sharing of details unless it’s mandatory such as for educational purposes, medical needs, etc. Ensure to check whether this information will be safe with them in the future also.
Educate your child about their behaviour and discipline while using the internet in order to know the importance of online privacy, personal data protection, security, etc. One must explain the limits and the information which one must avoid online or giving them in person. One of the basic steps is to teach them to set strong passwords, keep PIN secured and data stored on devices safe.
The FTC or the Federal Trade Commission is the platform which you can approach to report the ID theft along with getting a recovery plan. Approach FTC in cases such as:
Further, contact the fraud department of companies in which your child’s name is present and the account is opened, along with getting the letter of confirmation by submitting a copy of the police report.
According to FTC to check for the credit report activities as your child nears the age of 16 to protect your child from identity theft rather than finding solutions after adverse consequences. Hope this article was useful in knowing the tips to protect children’s identity from being stolen.