Back to school is an exciting time for families. A new year. New classes. New friends. New opportunities for identity fraud.

One in four have experienced identity fraud, and going to school makes children even more vulnerable, because schools regularly ask kids’ private information, and they don’t always have the right security protocols in place to protect it. When you have to give out your child’s information, protect them with IdentityProtector Child SSN Monitoring.

For the rest of the time, follow these tips to keep your child’s private information secure.

Only Give Out Your Child’s Information When Necessary

School forms ask for a lot of information. Your child’s age, address, Social Security number, doctor’s name, and more. In some cases, this information is necessary for the school to provide appropriate services and ensure your child’s safety—but not always. If you’re unsure what information really is necessary, ask the school to explain why they need it.

Find Out How Your School Stores Records

You can’t withhold all your child’s information, so make sure you know how your school protects it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions:

• If you had to fill out a paper form, where is that form stored?
• Will that information be entered in a computer? If so, who has access to the digital information and will they shred the original paper form?
• What type of network security do they have in place, and how often do they test it for vulnerabilities?

Opt Out

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires that schools get parent permission before releasing a child’s education records to third parties . Unless you have a specific need for this information to be shared, it’s best to opt out. Most schools will also ask your permission before sharing other personal information or using images of your child for their website or promotional materials. Opting out can reduce the risk of your child becoming a target for scammers.

Talk to Your School’s IT Department

Whether your school provides laptops or tablets to students or simply requires computer use at school, talk with the IT department to determine what kinds of protections they have in place.

• How does the school monitor the use of those devices?
• Are filters in place to protect your child from accessing suspicious websites?
• What kind of site are blocked? Just adult sites, or chatrooms and other unsupervised sites where scammers can easily target children?
• Will your child be given a school email address? Who is monitoring that account?
• Who has access to the information your child saves while using those devices, and how is that information protected?

Talk to Your School Board

If you’re not satisfied with your school’s data security practices, make a point to attend the next school board meeting and bring up your concerns during the public comment section. Better yet, call the school’s superintendent and get your concerns added to the next agenda. If you can get the school board to see the risk, they have the power to force a policy change to address your concerns.

Monitor Your Child’s Social Security Number

No matter how careful you are, there’s no way to completely secure your child’s information. The school network could become compromised, a school employee could get greedy, or your child’s personal information could be stolen from any of the many other places you’ve already shared it with (doctor’s office, dentist, daycare, etc.).

Check your child’s credit report at least once a year to see if credit has ever been established in their name. What’s even better? IdentityProtector can alert you if we detect the creation of a credit file associated with their social security number.

Talk to Your Child About Identity Theft

You can’t be with your child at all times, and you won’t be able to monitor everything they do. Talk openly with your child about identity theft risks, let them know what information is okay to share and what they should keep private.

School should never be a scary place to send your kids. By asking the right questions and limiting the information you share, you can help make your child’s school days safer and more secure—and protect their future from being ruined by identity fraud.

IdentityProtector can help by alerting you when fraudulent names, aliases and addresses become associated with your child’s SSN and monitoring certain areas of the world wide web where personal information be illegally traded. Use promo code FAMILYDISCOUNT20 at checkout for 20% off for an entire year.