Protect your child from identity theft

Spotlight on Finance

— Identity thieves can gain your child’s personal information by hacking records stored at schools and pediatric centers. They also seek out young children online. However, according to Ken Chaplin, senior vice president at Experian’s ProtectMyId, identity fraud against children is often committed by someone in the family or close to the family.

While it can be hard to detect that your child’s identity has been stolen, here are some warning signs:

  • You begin receiving credit card solicitations addressed to your child.
  • Collection agencies call asking for your child.
  • You receive an IRS notice that someone else used your child’s Social Security number.

You should also be aware of issues with your own credit. Things that should raise a red flag that your identity has been stolen include: unwarranted calls from debt collectors; medical bills for services not rendered; denial of credit despite a strong credit history; unauthorized accounts or charges on your credit report; and errors in your bank or credit card statements.

If one or more of these warning signs happens to you or your child, contact the Federal Trade Commission immediately. While the FTC cannot help resolve individual problems, you can file a complaint, which will be helpful when dealing with the authorities. Remember, if you act quickly, you can limit the financial damage and make it easier to restore your credit history.

Getting proactive about preventing identity theft

Strong parent-child relationships rely heavily on positive and continuous communications. When it comes to monitoring Internet usage, parents should set effective guidelines for kids and teens. Parents also need to explain to children the importance of security and protecting their identity. It should never be permissible for a child to share personal information online without a parent’s approval.

Here are additional things parents can do to protect their children’s identity:

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