Warning Signs Of Child Identity Theft
Sadly, children have become popular targets for identity theft. According to the Detroit Free Press, 1.3 million children are affected by identity theft scams each year. Of these 1.3 million, 50% are under the age of 6. In addition, some experts believe that the social security numbers of children are abused at a rate of 51 times greater than the adults. These are scary statistics.
This article will provide you with seven warning signs that could indicate your child’s identity has been compromised, as well as steps you can take if your child has fallen victim to identity theft.
7 Signs That A Child Could Be An Identity Theft Victim
- Collection notices or calls in your child’s name.
- Products or services in your child’s name.
- Notices that your child owes back income tax.
- Notices that your child’s identifying information was used to file multiple tax returns.
- Offers for pre-approved credit in your child’s name.
- Marketing offers for products and services that arrive in your child’s name.
- Requests via email or phone requesting your child’s private identifying information, especially his or her Social Security number. Before you give out your child’s Social Security number or any other type of identifying information, make sure you understand how it will be used.
How To Monitor Your Child’s Identity
With some exceptions, most children under the age of 18 should not have a credit report at all. However, as we have learned, children are not immune to identity theft. One of the best things you can do to protect your child’s identity is to check for a credit report in his or her name. You can request a report in your child’s name from all three of the nationwide credit reporting agencies.
- TransUnion: Offers an online form to help you determine if your child has fallen victim to identity theft. If TransUnion finds a credit report in your child’s name, it will contact you for more information.
- Equifax: Equifax requires you to contact its Minor Child Department in writing. You will be asked to provide copies of your child’s birth certificate and Social Security card to prove that you are the child’s parent or legal guardian. You will also need to provide a copy of your driver’s license or another form of government-issued ID. Equifax states that it will notify you if your child has fallen victim to identity theft, and remove your child’s file if it does exist.
- Experian: If your child is 13 or younger, you are not able to access his or her report online. In this instance, Experian will require you to send in a form, along with a copy of your driver’s license or government-issued ID, and proof of address. You will also need to send in a copy of your child’s birth certificate, Social Security card, full name, date of birth, and address for the past two years. If you do not feel comfortable sending this documentation via mail, you can submit the required documentation here.
What If My Child’s Identity Has Been Compromised?
If you find that your child’s identity has been compromised, there are things you can do to help.
- Request a fraud alert to be placed in your child’s name and consider implementing a credit freeze on behalf of your child.
- Contact your local law enforcement agency or Attorney General’s Office to file a report of identity theft, and request a copy of any report that is created.
- If you find accounts have been opened in your child’s name, contact the financial institution or business that is listed on your child’s credit report. Explain to the organization that the account was opened due to fraud, and request that the account be closed immediately. You may be asked to provide documentation to support this, but it is worth the time and effort.
- Keep a highly-detailed list of any phone calls you make, or documentation you receive pertaining to the resolution of your child’s identity theft case. You may be asked for documentation as the case evolves.