The last few weeks I have received emails and data regard the theft of Social Security numbers that belong to children.
It is estimated that as many as 3.5 million kids are suffering from this sort of fraud, consistent with the Federal Trade Commission. Parents, as most know, apply for a Social Security number after a baby is born because you use it for filing your taxes.
Well, our criminals are making good use of these numbers. Children are the new surprising target for identity thieves. They are an excellent target because it will be years before it'll be detected, which can create serious consequences down the road when that child becomes older.
Readers, this is often an enormous issue. First, you need to ensure sure your child’s Social Security number has not been stolen. Parents, you need to begin taking action now even though you only have a newborn. Identity Theft could affect your child’s future credit and employment history if the thieves obtain credit accounts or get jobs with your child’s identity.
How does one know if your child’s identity has been stolen?
First, you would need to check with the Social Security Administration once a year to ensure sure nobody is using your child’s SSN. Secondly, you would need to check your child’s credit report (free — Equifax -1-800-525-6285; Experian-1-888-397-3742; TransUnion-1-800-680-7289.) You'll also report fraud to them. By law, you're entitled to a free report once a year. Third, if your child starts getting pre-approved credit cards and other financial offers normally sent to adults, pay attention.
Other ways you'll find out: If you are trying to open an account for your child, and it already exists, or if you apply for financial assistance because he/she goes to school, and you're turned down due to a poor credit rating in their name, again that's an enormous red flag for you to see. In fact when your child is older and is prepared to buy that long awaited car, well he/she will determine if someone stole their identity years before.
Tips to use:
Keep all documents that show a child’s personal information safely locked up. What's personal? At a minimum, it includes a child’s date of birth, Social Security number and certificate. DON’T carry your child’s Social Security card with you. Share your child’s Social Security number only with who you know and trust. Ask why they need it, how they're going to safeguard it and how long they're going to keep it and the way they're going to eliminate it. If you're not satisfied with the answers, don’t share the number and ask them to use another identifier.
For more information visit: www.ftc.gov/idtheft