Many adults know the importance of protecting their credit and guarding their personal identification, but for children, this problem is too abstract for them to grasp. Problem is, children can also fall victim to identity criminals and having identity theft protection is also a must for the young population. The theft could go unnoticed for several years, because very few parents check their children?s credit. Usually, the only time they find out about it is when the children get denied when they are old enough to apply for credit cards or when collection agencies start to call and look for their children. Signs of identity theft can easily be spotted by responsible adults, but for children, it?s a different story. The main drivers for id theft in children include participating in financial fraud (organized crimes), getting employment or false IDs (illegal immigrants), and circumventing the effects of bad credit (family and friends).

Red flags for child identity theft

When trying to open a college fund or savings account for your child, you learned that there?s already an existing account with your child?s SS number being used.
When attempting to open a new account on behalf of the child, it gets denied because of a bad credit history.
There are pre-approved credit card offers (with your child?s name in it) that arrive in mail.
Checks, bills, and bank statements in the name of your child are sent in mails.
A teenager gets denied of his/her driver?s license application, because there?s already someone who opened up a license with the teenager?s SS number.
Or worse, there is an outstanding warrant for the arrest of the child for crimes committed by another person.

As parents, it?s your job to learn some basics about child id theft protection and be proactive when safeguarding your child?s identity.

Today?s highly connected and digital environment has made it easy for thieves to hack into someone else?s identity. But others still adhere to the old-fashion style of stealing someone?s identity. Here are some brilliant ways parents can do to protect their children against identity theft.
Always proceed with caution when giving out your child?s identifying information. Don?t just provide it to anyone without asking first why it?ll be needed. In most cases, your child?s information is required for verification and legitimate reasons, but it?s still necessary for parents to ask some basics ? why the information is needed, for what purposes will it serve, how the information will be secured. If the organization is asking for a copy of your child?s SS number or birth certificate, ask the mode of disposal once the information is no longer needed. Simply put, don?t be afraid to ask some important questions before you allow your child?s information to be used.
Keep your child?s SS number in a safe place. Just like how you keep your important documents safe, you should also learn how to maintain the safety of your child?s SS number. Take note that once stolen, SS numbers can be used to establish new credit accounts, resulting in other financial problems that can affect your child in the long run. Never put your child?s SS number in your wallet because once it gets stolen the problems can affect both you and your child?s credit status. Lock it up on a safe and try to memorize the number instead.
For those school-aged or high-school children, start teaching the value of privacy. Emphasize the need to be cautious when sharing information online or giving out their personal details to anyone without checking first with their parents.

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