Most people think identity theft only affects adults. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In fact, a large percentage of identity theft victims are children. Therefore, if you have kids, you must remain vigilant when it comes to their identities. In this article, we discuss how to keep your children safe from identity theft.
How Thieves Use Children’s Personal Information
There are many ways that identity thieves use children’s personal information, including:
- To apply for and open credit card accounts
- To obtain loans
- To seek unemployment, Social Security benefits, and other government services
- To open bank accounts for use in fraudulent money transfers
Steps to Take to Protect Your Child’s Identity
Although it is impossible to protect against identity theft completely, there are several steps you can take to reduce your child’s odds of becoming an identity theft victim, including:
Place security freezes on your child’s credit reports: There’s no reason for the majority of children to have credit reports, as it is illegal for anyone under the age of 16 to apply for a loan or credit card in their own name. However, if a fraudulent loan or credit card application has been submitted in your child’s name, then he or she may have one or more credit reports. If this is the case, you should place a freeze on the reports.
Guard your child’s Social Security numbers: You should be very careful about sharing your child’s Social Security number. For instance, there is rarely a reason to share your child’s Social Security number with a private business. In fact, even just the last four digits of your child’s Social Security number can be useful to identity thieves. Therefore, a good rule of thumb is to never share this information unless dealing with a government entity or other reputable source.
Avoid oversharing on social media: Social media is a goldmine for identity thieves—especially when people overshare personal information. Identity thieves routinely comb social media for personal information, from addresses and birthdays to clues about security questions. Therefore, in order to reduce the odds of your child becoming a victim of identity theft, you should minimize the amount of information you share online.
Monitor your child’s social media activity: Finally, to prevent identity theft, you should carefully monitor your child’s social media activity. In fact, you should seriously consider not allowing your child to use social media at all—there are simply too many risks involved. However, if you do allow your child to use social media, you should establish strict rules and provide him or her with a list of the kinds of information to never disclose online.
Contact a Consumer Class Action Lawyer
Identity theft is often the result of negligence on the part of organizations that store people’s personal information. If you believe that the negligence of a business or other entity has resulted in the theft of your child’s identity, experienced attorney Seth Lehrman is here to help you seek financial compensation for all losses stemming from the theft. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation with our talented class action lawyer.