Protecting your Kids From Identity Theft

By: Lisa Nichols

Protect your kids from the risks associated with identity theft. Children often fall prey to identity fraud, and the numbers of young victims grows every year, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). There are several simple tips you can use to protect kids from identity theft.

Why Kids Are Targeted by Identity Thieves

Kids are easy targets for identity thieves. By law, children can’t apply for credit cards, loans or other lines of credit until they are 18. That gives identity thieves many opportunities to steal a child’s identity and use it freely to open lines of credit. In addition to random strangers stealing a child’s identity, unfortunately, unscrupulous family members also often target them.

Children Feel Effects of Identity Theft When They Venture Out in the World

Children who are identity theft victims feel the pain inflicted by the crime when they try to establish a credit history. Applying for a loan or a credit card, children and their families are often shocked to learn that their child has a poor credit history, even though they’ve never had a line of credit. A poor credit score can prevent kids from getting the jobs they want, obtaining credit cards, loans and more. Although justice is on their side, it can take years to clean up a lifetime of identity theft.

Protect Your Kids from Becoming a Victim of Identity Theft

Adults can protect kids from identity theft by taking a few safety precautions. Shredding paperwork from doctors and other entities that list a child’s Social Security number or date of birth can help protect children from identity fraud. Credit card and loan offers that arrive in the mail addressed to children should be addressed with the company sending the offer, so they know that they are sending items to minor children. Social Security cards and other personal information about children should be safely stored to avoid the risk of identity fraud.

Children Identity Fraud Repair: What to Do if the Worst Should Happen

If a child becomes a victim of identity fraud, there are a few things you can do to help them repair their credit history and regain their identity. Their Social Security number should be changed and a police report should be filed immediately. Credit card companies, lenders and collections agencies associated with the phony identity should be notified immediately about the identity theft.

Reduce the risk of identity theft with credit monitoring . Credit monitoring provides an added layer of protection against identity fraud with up to date information about credit scores and details of unusual activities on a credit report.

Identity Theft
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