As a parent, your number one priority is keeping your child safe and secure. Unfortunately, child identity theft is becoming a more common problem every year. Identity thieves can use a child’s personal information to commit fraud, which can ruin their credit score and cause them a lot of headaches down the road. So how do you protect your child from identity theft? In this article, we will discuss more about what child identity theft is, how to detect it, and how to protect them from it.
What Is Child Identity Theft?
Child identity theft occurs when someone uses a child’s personal information – such as their name, Social Security number, or date of birth – to commit fraud. This can happen in various ways, but some standard methods include opening up new credit accounts in the child’s name, filing for tax refunds using the child’s Social Security number, and even opening up utility accounts or renting apartments in the child’s name. Sometimes, identity thieves use a child’s personal information to get medical treatment or buy prescription drugs.
How Do You Detect Child Identity Theft?
There are several ways to detect if your child’s personal information has been compromised. One way is to check their credit report. If you see any accounts that you did not open, or any suspicious activity on existing accounts, this may be a sign that your child’s identity has been stolen. Another way to detect child identity theft is to monitor your child’s Social Security number. If you see any unauthorized activity on their Social Security number, such as earnings being reported from a job they don’t have, this may be another sign that their identity has been stolen.
How Can You Protect Your Child from Identity Theft?
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your child from identity theft. Here are five easy ways to protect your child’s information and prevent identity theft:
Protect Their Social Security Number (SSN)
The first step is to protect your child’s Social Security number. You should never carry their SSN card in your wallet or write their number down on a piece of paper. Also, be sure to shred any documents that have their SSN on them before you throw them away. When giving out their SSN, only give it to businesses when absolutely necessary and ensure they have a secure way of storing the information.
Don’t Overshare Information Online
In today’s age of social media, it’s important to be aware of what you’re sharing online. Don’t post photos or status updates that include your child’s full name, date of birth, or other personal information. Be sure to set the privacy settings on your social media accounts so that only people you know and trust can see your posts.
Keep an Eye on Their Credit Report
As we mentioned earlier, one way to detect child identity theft is to check their credit report regularly. You should order a copy of their credit report every year and review it for any suspicious activity. If you see anything out of the ordinary, contact the credit bureau immediately.
Create Strong Passwords
Another way to protect your child’s information is by creating strong passwords for their online accounts. Be sure to use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters in your passwords. Avoid using easily guessed words like your child’s name or birthdate. It’s also a good idea to change your passwords regularly.
Shred Any Paper With Their Personal Information
Finally, be sure to shred any documents that have your child’s personal information on them before you throw them away. This includes things like school records, medical forms, and tax documents. One easy way to do this is to use residential shredding services to do it for you, as they are trained in how to dispose of sensitive information properly. They come right to your location and collect everything that you want to destroy, and they can even do it right before your eyes so you can be sure everything is gone.
Identity theft is a serious problem, but there are steps you can take to protect your child from becoming a victim. By following the tips above, you can help keep your child’s personal information safe and prevent identity theft. If you think your child’s identity may have been stolen, contact the credit bureau immediately.
What To Do If Someone Is Using Your Child’s Identity
If you think your child’s identity has been stolen, there are a few steps you should take right away. First, you should contact the credit reporting agencies and place a fraud alert on your child’s credit report. This will help to prevent identity thieves from opening up new accounts in your child’s name. Next, you should file a police report and send copies of the information to the credit reporting agencies. Finally, you should close any accounts that have been opened in your child’s name and change any passwords or PINs that your child may have.
Trust FileShred For Your Shredding Services
If you’re looking for a professional shredding company to help you protect your child from identity theft, look no further than FileShred. We are a leading provider of on-site shredding services in Connecticut and Massachusetts. We offer shredding services for both businesses and individuals, so we can help you no matter how much or how little you need to destroy. Contact us today to get started.