This post is generously underwritten by the good folks at LifeLock. As always my comments and opinions are my own.
7 Tips for Helping Protect Your Child's Identity
Getting homework done, transporting kids to extra-curricular activities, lunch—just some of the tasks parents worry about each day. The last thing on most parents' minds is protecting their children's identities. In fact, most parents probably think identity theft is the one thing they don't have to worry about in regards to their kids. That's exactly why a child's identity is so attractive to identity thieves.
An identity thief can do most of the same things with a child's social security number as they can with an adult's, only it's not as likely to set off an alarm. Why? Because kids don't check their credit reports and they don't have loan officers asking them, “what's this unpaid credit card about?” A thief could use a kid's identity for years before anyone is alerted to it, questions it, or stops it.
So here are 7 tips for helping protect your child's identity:
- Protect your child's information just as you would your own.
Store your child's personal information in a safe place, including both hard copies and electronic files. Shred documents containing your child's personal information before tossing them out or recycling them.
- Ask “why?”
Just like you do with your own Social Security Number, before giving out your child's Social Security Number, find out why it's needed. Can you use just the last four digits? Even better, ask if you can use an alternative identifier like a password.
- School Work
Check with your school to find out how they protect your child's personal information. They have a legal obligation to protect it.
- Birthday Bashes
Avoid publicizing your child's personal information on social media. Thieves can use simple statements to piece together the puzzle of your child's personal information. A phrase as innocent as, “It was Johnny's birthday Saturday,” gives the thief all he needs for that piece of the puzzle.
- Credit Check
Use a service like LifeLock's to monitor inquiries and changes to your child's credit file. Consider placing a freeze on the file. Or call all three major reporting agencies and ask for a manual check of your child's credit file. You will have to provide identification documents for both you and your child. They will let you know which ones.
- Problems? Act immediately.
Facing the task of repairing credit can bring out the procrastinator in anyone. But taking action sooner, rather than later, can help minimize the damage. Resist the temptation to wait for your child to get older before fixing things.
- Watch for signs of misuse.
Look for these signs something may be amiss. A letter from the IRS stating your child didn't pay her taxes. Being denied government benefits because benefits are already being paid. Calls from collection agencies.
If you’d like to keep up with more tips on how to help protect yourself and your identity, check out the great folks at LifeLock, they’re the ones who relentlessly help protect identities every day. Get great information delivered to your streams by following them on Google+, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter (@LifeLock).
Disclosure: I’m a LifeLock Ambassador and as such I am compensated. As always my comments and opinions are my own. Mama Latina Tips Information Purposes Legal Disclosure