Identity theft is scary and surprising when it comes from the hands of a stranger. Think of what it must feel like if your own family member, your child, has their identity stolen and had used it for someone else’s financial gains?
Identity theft of children is a serious concern. Jason Peterson was denied a mortgage because of bad credit. When he pulled his credit reports, he discovered a tremendous amount of debt and accounts he had never opened. One such account showed that a credit card had been opened in his name when he was only 13 years old. Jason found out the hard way that he was a victim of child identity theft. More horribly, Jason never found the man who stole his identity and ruined his credit.
Identity theft of children has also affected 12-year-old Destiny Davis. However, the identity thief is 31, and owes thousands in rent, cell phone and cable bills–all in little Destiny’s name.
Identity theft of children is a growing problem. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that there are 500,000 new victims every year. The culprits are sometimes parents, since they have direct access to their kids’ personal information. Irresponsible parents in financial debt apply for credit in their children’s names.
However this is not usually the case, criminals are targeting children more than ever before. It’s easy–all a criminal needs is a child’s Social Security number. Creditors often fail to verify the applicant’s age, and simply accept the application. Children rarely discover that they are victims of identity theft until they are adults and are denied credit or employment because of their negative credit history. Even worse, they are denied approval on school loans, leaving many without any options for furthering their education.
Parents can prevent identity theft of their children by regularly requesting fraud alerts and ensuring the credit hasn’t been issued under their child’s name.
How to Protect Against Identity Theft of Children
1. Do not carry your or your child’s bank/credit card account information with you unless you will need it that day. Someone could steal the information and then your money.
2. Do not carry your or you child’s Social Security card with you. As with the bank information, carry it only when you will need it. Understand that many places that ask for your Social Security number do not need it to do business with you. Ask why it is needed.
3. Consider making an investment in a LegalShield Plan with Identity Theft Shield and Safeguard for Minors. This incredible service includes access to your entire families credit report, continuous Credit monitoring, E-mail fraud alerts. In fact, LegalShield is the only company on the market that will give you access to a nationwide network of law firms, and will give your family access to a team of private investigators from Kroll Inc. to completely restore you and your families’ identity, if you are ever victims of identity theft.
Your child is a very important and precious asset, and we all want our children to have the best possible future. By protecting their identity now, they can become anyone they want and do anything they dream.