Child identity theft is a growing problem, but taking proper steps to combat it can go a long way toward keeping your child safer.
One in 40 households with children under age 18 had at least one child whose personal information was compromised by identity fraud, according to the 2012 Child Identity Fraud Survey, conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research and sponsored by ITAC.
While some victims discover that credit accounts have been opened in their names, even though they were young children at the time, time is of the essence when a child’s identity has been compromised. The sooner the theft is discovered, the sooner the problem can be rectified and in turn, further damage can be prevented.
The FTC recommends checking to find out whether your child has a credit report around his or her 16th birthday, as this allows time to correct it prior to their applying for a job, a loan for tuition, a car or an apartment.
What are some reasons to be concerned?
• Debt collectors contact the child attempting to collect a debt.
• A child who starts driving is denied a license because one has already been issued in his or her name.
• A parent tries to open a bank account for their child, but is told they can’t due to a negative history with bureaus that report checking and savings account information.
• Numerous pre-approved credit offers arrive in the child’s name. (Don’t sweat occasional offers; that probably just means they are on a mailing list.)
• Bills for utilities or credit cards arrive with the child’s name on them.
Though some young people may have credit histories before they reach the age of 18, as they are listed as either authorized users or joint account holders on an adult’s account, if a minor sees accounts they do not recognize on a credit report, it’s a big red flag.
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