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When my wife was pregnant, I gave my information out to everyone. My wife’s doctor. The hospital. The lab. The pharmacy. You name it, they wanted my information. And in most cases, even my Social Security number.
When my daughter was born, places started asking for her information too.
In my line of work, I think about identity theft a lot. Last month I talked about some of the ways identity thieves can use your stolen information. It’s scary to think about. And it’s even scarier when I think about what that could mean for my daughter. The thefts can take the form of loans and credit, but some also in the form of utility accounts. Identity thieves may target children because their Social Security numbers may not be frequently used. If there is no credit history, bad credit may not get in the way of the crime.
And I confess, I’ve never checked my daughter’s credit report. I’m guessing that goes for most of you too. Once a thief gets his/her hands on a child’s information, it could be used for years before anyone notices.
So what’s the big deal? It’s not like our kids are using their credit, right? Unfortunately, identity theft could affect a child’s future credit, and may cause problems when he or she applies for an apartment, a job or even college.
In my last post, I provided some easy steps to help protect you from identity theft. All of those can work for your child too. But what if something does happen? How would you even know?
There are some signs you should look for:
- Your child receives calls from collections agencies.
- Your child starts getting pre-approved credit card offers, or an actual credit card in the mail.
- You receive a notice from the IRS saying that your child’s information is listed on another tax return.
- You or your child is denied government assistance because income or benefits are already assigned to his/her Social Security number.
If any of these things does happen, or anything else that makes you suspicious, take action immediately! If your child is enrolled in an identity theft protection service, call them. LifeLock offers a product designed specifically for children, LifeLock Junior™ protection, that is an add-on to LifeLock’s existing suite of protection products. If your child is not enrolled in an identity theft protection service, contact the three major credit bureaus and report it.
Identity theft shouldn’t be something you think about all the time, but we all need to be aware of the risks. Especially for our children. Be cautious with their information, and pay attention to any warning signs. As for checking those credit reports…I’m going to order my daughter’s today.
Did you know?
PTA members are entitled to a special rate on all LifeLock identity theft protection products. Get one month free plus a lifetime 10% discount using coupon code PTA. Call 1-800-Life-Lock or visit lifelock.com.
Jaramy Conners is the Corporate Communications Manager at LifeLock.