Identity theft can affect anyone. What most people don’t know, however, is that children are a primary target for identity thieves. Therefore, it’s imperative that parents remain vigilant when it comes to child identity theft. In this article, we examine child identity theft and how to prevent it.
What Is Child Identity Theft?
Child identity theft is the act of using or attempting to use a child’s personal information to commit fraud. A thief may use a minor’s information to apply for government benefits, obtain employment, obtain medical care, open a credit account, or apply for a loan.
Children are at high risk for identity theft due to their lack of credit history, which enables criminals to easily create fraudulent accounts using their information. In addition, thieves target children’s information because such theft often goes undetected for years—often until a child becomes an adult and attempts to open a credit account or take out a student loan.
Warning Signs of Child Identity Theft
Warning signs of child identity theft include:
- Correspondence that attempts to collect debt in a minor’s name
- Credit card offers directed to a child
- Certain government notices directed to a child, including jury duty summons, traffic violation tickets, overdue tax notifications, or similar documents
- Insurance claims or bills for medical treatments that the child never received
Preventing Child Identity Theft
Due to the prevalence of child identity theft, it is important to take steps to protect your child. Ways to prevent child identity theft include:
Monitor your child’s credit reports: First, you should check to see if your child has a credit report. If they do, this is an indicator of possible identity theft. If you locate a credit report for your child, report this to the credit bureau.
Consider placing a security freeze: A security freeze is a tool available to prevent access to your child’s credit reports. This will prevent identity thieves from opening new lines of credit under your child’s name.
Secure your child’s important documents: Keeping certain key documents secure can protect your child from identity theft. Important documents include your child’s Social Security card, medical insurance card, birth certificate, and legal documents.
Refrain from sharing your child’s personal information unless necessary: Finally, don’t share any of your child’s personal information unless absolutely necessary. For example, any time your child’s Social Security number is requested, ask if you can provide the last four digits in lieu of the whole number.
Contact a Consumer Class Action Lawyer
If you believe that your child is a victim of identity theft, you should contact an experienced attorney immediately. When you come to attorney Seth Lehrman for assistance, he will take the steps necessary to resolve your child identity theft issue. In addition, if your child’s identity was stolen as a result of a corporate data breach, Mr. Lehrman will do what is necessary to hold the responsible entity accountable. Please contact us today to arrange a free and confidential initial consultation.