Protecting Your Child Against Identity Theft

An adult person usually protects his credit from identity theft by placing security alerts on their credit report.  However since most of the children do not have a credit report it is not possible for the credit bureaus to place a security alert.  This does not mean however that there is no system in place that protects your child’s identity.  All the credit bureaus notify the lender in case an application for credit is made in a child’s name who is a minor.  When that happens the lender can stop the transaction until he receives further confirmation from authorised parties such as the parents or the guardians.  Each person has an individual credit report.  A credit report only gets created for a person when they apply for credit.  In the case of children credit report can be created if their parents of legal guardians include them as an authorised user or a joint account holder on a credit card for any other credit account.  If you want to safeguard your child from identity theft you can use credit monitoring services offered by the credit bureaus that enables you to check on not only your credit report but also been notified about any credit that has been applied for under your child’s name.  Even if your child does not have a credit report any application for credit made using his or her personal information will be notified to you immediately thus alerting you to a possible attempt at identity theft and credit fraud.

While it is possible for some information such as name or a Social Security number to be used for an attempted fraud you should only worried if an entire credit report has been created under your child’s identity.

If you suspect that a child’s identity has been stolen to apply for credit you should immediately contact the credit bureaus and request them to furnish you with your child’s credit report. You will need to make this request in writing while providing documentation proof of identity and relationship to the child.

You should watch out for signs like preapproved credit card offers in mail
that are under a child’s name as well as other suspicious credit documents.

You should educate your child about the importance of preserving identification information in public places, on the Internet etc.  When children are targeted for identity theft it is for the reason that they are mire liable to be careless about sensitive information. 
You should educate them so as to not to share personal and private information in online forums, chat rooms and social networking sites.  Caution should also be exercised while purchasing products online in order to avoid phishing and fraudulent websites that attempts to capture personal data such as name and credit card numbers through online forms.  Inform and explain to your child about the dangers of unsolicited scam emails.

Any document that has a personal information about your child should be kept safely.  Documents like passport and Social Security number card should not be carried around, especially not by children.  They should be put away in a safe place.