Identity theft is on the rise and children are increasingly targeted by identity thieves. Children are desirable targets for identity theft because their credit history is often blank and the credit file tends to go unchecked until the child approaches adulthood. Identity thieves usually sell stolen identities, and children's information tends to be more marketable because more of the data may be used. Once your child's identity is stolen, thieves may open one or more accounts using your child's information. Thieves may use your child's information to open credit card accounts, loan accounts, etc. This can cause serious financial issues for your child when he/she reaches adulthood and begins applying to colleges, apartments, and more. There are some things you can do to help protect against child identity theft:
Keep your child's sensitive records such as birth certificate, social security card, passport, etc. in a secure location.
Create a credit file for your child and monitor it routinely to ensure no changes are made. It is essential that you set up your child's credit file because it is much easier to prove your child's identity if his/her information matches perfectly with the data in the credit file.
Place a freeze on your child's credit report to ensure that no changes can be made without your authorization. To place a freeze on your child's credit file, you will need to contact each credit bureau: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. You will be required to provide proper documentation along with your request to lock your child's credit file.
If an unauthorized change is made to your child's credit file, you will need to report it to the credit bureaus immediately and begin the process of closing the unauthorized accounts.
Undoing the damage caused by identity theft can be a daunting task. Foster Financial CPA is a trusted source for tax and financial advice. If you or your child have been a victim of identity theft or would like more information on how to protect your identity for a secure financial future, please contact us.