Are Identity Thieves Targeting Your Children?
You have probably grown tired of all the stories surrounding identity theft and the constant reminders to be cautious. Here is something new you may not have considered. Criminals are widening their reach by using children’s dormant Social Security numbers to obtain credit accounts, car and home loans, and even jobs.
Many parents don’t know their child has been a victim until they apply for a student loan, bank account or apartment and are turned down. While there may be no way to completely protect your child’s identity, there are a few precautions you can take to lower the risk.
Because each Social Security number is unique, places such as schools asking parents to provide the number as a method of identification is common. Don’t be afraid to ask if they will accept an alternative form of identification, what precautions they take to secure personal information and whether they plan to use the number as your child’s personal identification number in correspondence, or on ID cards.
Here are some signs to look for if your child’s information has been compromised. For instance, they may be receiving credit card offers in the mail. You could be denied opening an account in their name because one already existed using the same Social Security number. One of the most telling signs is receiving calls from collection agencies, creditors or government agencies.
The best rule of thumb is to use the same precautions with your child’s personal information as you would your own. Know the warning signs, and don’t be afraid to take action.