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Protect Your Kids from ID Theft

The last time you checked your child’s credit report was when?  Never?

 credit_reporting_anencies

Kids are easy targets for identity thieves. Until they are old enough to apply for credit, there is little reason to check  their credit reports.  Adam Levin, founder of  Identity Theft 911  (a provider of identity theft remediation services to businesses and consumers)  says kids are prime targets because their debts often go undetected for years. 400,000 children a year become victims of ID theft after criminals get their Social Security numbers through medical records, mail tampering, computer searches or a stolen wallet.

How Can You  Protect Your Child’s ID?

Guard their Social Security number. Don’t carry your child’s Social Security card in your wallet. Don’t give out the number by phone or email unless you trust the recipient.  
Be cautious about posting information about your child online.  If  it’s your child’s birthday, don’t post their age on Facebook or Twitter (Don’t post your own complete birth date on social networking sites either.) Talk to your children about protecting their own personal information online.
Be careful with the birth certificate. Sports teams often ask parents to present a birth certificate for proof of a child’s age. If the team needs your child’s birth certificate on file, make a copy of it (don’t give them an original), and retrieve it at the end of the season.
Check your child’s credit report. Through annualcreditreport.com you can get a free report from all  three credit bureaus – each year. If you enter your child’s information and no report comes back, that will confirm that no credit has been taken out in your child’s name.
Signs that your child’s ID has been stolen
– Your child receives unsolicited credit offers.
– Your child receives letters from debt collectors.
– The IRS send you a letter stating that the Social Security number listed for your child on your tax return (or the child’s) is a duplicate number.
– The bank tells you, when you go in for the first time to open an account for your child, that an account with your child’s Social Security number already has been opened.
– Your health insurer says it won’t cover a procedure for your child because it covered that procedure before (even though your child never had that procedure).

Reported by Cameron Huddleston –  Kiplinger.com  

 

 

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