Like we mentioned the other day, many people think of identity theft only in the context of someone using your good name and credit history to get money or purchase things. But your childrens’ names and personal information can be stolen as well. College students, with or without a credit history, can especially be at risk. Below is some information about Child Identity Theft, courtesy of Trusted ID – The Top Name in Identity Theft Protection. Click here for more information & 30 Day Risk Free Trial!
What is child identity theft?
Child identity theft occurs when someone uses the child’s personal information without their knowledge for another person’s gain. All the problems that an adult experiences when their identity is stolen- from ruined credit to fraudulent accounts and rampant debt – can happen to a child. Minors make easy targets for scammers because they don’t normally check their credit reports, meaning that the identity theft can go on for years before being noticed. Also, it’s often easy for to get credit in a minor’s name due to their unblemished credit history.
A subset of this group, college students, are particularly at risk. Many colleges and universities use the student’s Social Security number as their student ID, and students are often bombarded with credit card offers. Because this group moves often and may neglect to forward their mail, sensitive information such as pre-approved credit card offers and student loan letters may fall into the wrong hands.
You can protect your child’s identity with TrustedID, the only identity theft protection company that protects your entire family under one low-priced plan. Not only does TrustedID check and protect your child’s credit report but other aspects of their personal information is monitored as well, including their Social Security number and medical benefits.
Key Stats and Facts
- – Nearly 500,000 children each year are victims of identity theft. (MSNBC, 2005)
- – The culprit is often a parent or guardian or anyone with access to the child’s information.
- – Identity theft against minors can go undetected for years since the theft is typically not discovered until the child applies for their first bank account, loan or credit card.
- – Identity thieves can obtain a minor’s Social Security number and personal information from many sources, including medical records, school files and online social networks.
How to prevent child identity theft:
- 1) Do not carry your child’s Social Security number in your wallet. If necessary, make a photocopy of the card and cut off the last four numbers.
- 2) Be careful with whom you share your child’s personal information. For example, if your child’s after school sports program requires a copy of a birth certificate and/or Social Security card, ask if the coach has had a criminal and financial background check done by an independent or hiring source. Show the papers to the coach and then put them in a sealed envelope, and write your name across the sealed flap so you can tell if it has been opened when it is returned to you. Initial the back of each page so you can tell if you got the original back at the end of the season. Ask where these papers will be stored during the season.
- 3) College students should lock away their personal information. It is not uncommon for victims to have their information stolen by roommates who seem to be friendly.
- 4) Make sure you send and receive mail in a locked mailbox, and to fill out a change of address form with the Post Office each time you change residences. TrustedID will help reduce the amount of junk mail you receive, including pre-approved credit card offers which is a common way that identity thieves can apply for and obtain new credit in your or your child’s name.
- 5) Get your child’s identity protected with TrustedID – the only company that protects your entire family under one low-priced plan.