You may not realize, but children are just as much at risk for identity theft as adults. Many times, the effects of child identity theft may be more severe in instances of a compromised Social Security number (SSN). Just think, the SSN of a child typically remains unused until the age of 18, leaving years for identities thieves to cause serious harm.
Luckily, there are a number of preventative measures to help protect your children from identity theft.
Teach your kids the importance of online security. In today’s digital world, kids are constantly online – from their homework assignments to social media. Educate your child on what information not to share online, like Social Security number, driver’s license or other PII. Also advice your child to not share any information related to their whereabouts, like home address. Maintaining an open dialogue with your child will allow them to feel more comfortable talking about these issues.
Check your child’s credit report. The FTC recommends proactively checking your child’s credit report at the age of 16. That way, if you notice fraudulent activity, you’ll be ahead of the curve in correcting errors well before your child needs to apply for a credit card or rent an apartment.
Avoid sharing your child’s personal information unless absolutely necessary. Ask questions anytime your child’s PII is requested to ensure it will not be shared with third-party entities. Few organizations, such as motor vehicle, tax and welfare departments have the right to require your SSN.
Following these simple, yet critical security tips may help your child avoid an identity theft event.