Most of us know the risks of identity theft and take some precautions against it. Unfortunately, we often think of identity theft as only effecting adults, leaving our children vulnerable. The reality is children are nearly 51 times more likely become victims of identity theft. That’s why IdentityProtector helps look out for your children.

If you have children, you need to be aware of the risks and how to prevent your child’s identity from being misused.

Why are Children Targeted?

It may surprise you to think of children being targeted by identity thieves. They don’t have credit cards or bank accounts, so what do fraudsters have to gain?

Children have clean credit – Most children have never used credit, so their credit file is clean, making it easier for identity thieves to take out new loans.

Children’s Credit Files are rarely monitored – Many people don’t even know how to monitor their children’s credit information (keep reading to learn how!). An identity thief can use a child’s information for years before anyone notices.

Children’s information is easy to obtain – Children are social and often don’t know the risks of sharing personal information over social media or in other settings. What’s more, as parents we are often required to provide their information to schools, our work, etc.—any of which could be targeted by identity thieves. When Anthem was breached in 2015, tens of millions of children had their information exposed.

Signs Your Child’s Information May Have Been Compromised

While there’s no way to completely safeguard your child’s information, there are certain signs that may indicate that their information has been stolen or misused:

- You receive credit card applications in your child’s name. Pre-approved credit card applications are usually only sent to adults with credit histories. If your child receives one, it could mean someone has used their information to apply for another form of credit.

- A collections agency calls looking for your child. Since your child shouldn’t have a credit history, they also shouldn’t have any outstanding loans.

- The IRS contacts you. Most children don’t need to file tax returns, so if you start receiving bills from the IRS, it could mean someone is using their SSN.

- Your child is turned down for financial aid, their first apartment, or even a job. Most cases of child identity theft become apparent once the child starts applying for collage or looking for work, since this is usually the first time anyone runs a credit check. If your child is getting refused due to a bad credit history, it could be a case of identity fraud.

- You received an alert. The easiest way to monitor your child’s information is to enroll them in IdentityProtector. We alert you when we detect potentially fraudulent activity associated with your child’s identity information.

Protect Your Child from Identity Theft
There’s no way to guarantee your child’s information won’t get into to the wrong hands. However, there are actions you should be taking to protect their information and their credit.

- Lock up their information. Don’t keep your child’s Social Security card in your wallet. Store it, and any other important documents in a secure location.

- Don’t share your child’s information. Avoid giving out your child’s private information, such as their Social Security number and date of birth,to anyone unless it is absolutely necessary.

- Stop posting about your kids. Even something as innocent as announcing your child’s fifth birthday gives potential identity thieves their date of birth—which, can be used to commit identity fraud.

- Talk to your children about internet safety. Our kids may be great at using technology, but they don’t always understand how it works or its risks. Talk to your kids about the dangers of oversharing, phishing, and online scams, so they know what to watch out for.

- Check their credit reports annually. Your child should not have a credit report. By asking the credit bureaus to look for a report with their information, you can verify whether or not someone else has attempted to obtain credit with their SSN. It’s best to check at least once a year, and at the very least right before their sixteenth birthday. Or better yet, let IdentityProtector monitor their credit file for you. As a member, we’ll alert you if we detect the creation of a credit file associated with your child’s social security number.

Identity theft is a serious threat to every child. A compromise now could have long-lasting effects on their future. Being aware of the risks and monitoring their information is the best way to protect your children—and the earlier you start, the better.

IdentityProtector can help. We alert you when we detect a variety of activities associated with your child’s private information, including the creation of a new credit file, new names being associated with their Social Security number, or the illegal selling or trading of their information online. Use Promo Code FAMILYDISCOUNT20 at checkout for 20% off an entire year.