If you’re an identity thief who wants to commit crimes off of his victim’s information for years without detection, you’re going to want that victim to be a child. If you’re a parent, you’re going to want to take protecting your child’s information seriously.
First and foremost, as a parent, you must protect your child’s Social Security number and birth certificate. Don’t carry these items in a purse or briefcase – instead, keep them locked up at home in a fireproof safe or in your safe deposit box.
How do you know if your child has been victimized by an identity thief? If you’ve been receiving pre-approved credit offers in your child’s name or you’ve gotten phone calls from bill collectors, chances are a crime has taken place. You’ll want to contact the three credit bureaus and obtain a credit report on your child. You’ll have to prove you’re the parent or guardian, so be prepared with copies of your driver’s license, Social Security card and a copy of your child’s birth certificate. You may also want to contact the Social Security Administration to obtain a copy of your child’s earnings statement.
You should also consider using a credit monitoring service. For a fee, a service will monitor the Internet and databases for your child’s Social Security information, and will notify you of any unauthorized activity.
It’s important that you teach your child about keeping their personal and financial information private. Many teens and even pre-teens today are active on various social media, so be sure to teach your child about what’s okay, and not okay, to post on these sites.