Most parents don’t worry about their child’s financial reputation until their young adult lives when they’re off to college. However, children are targets for identity thieves who depend on parents not monitoring their child’s social security number and credit reports. Thieves target these unlikely victims because of the clean records to easily open up accounts and the fact children do not review their credit reports and criminal activity could be hidden for years. A child usually discovers they were a victim of identity theft when they first apply for credit.
Your child’s Social Security number is typically received within days after birth. It’s important to monitor and protect your child’s reputation from the beginning. Here are a few things you can do to protect your child’s identity from ID thieves:
- Don’t carry your child’s Social Security card in your wallet. Lock it up until it’s needed for medical reasons, job applications and college admissions.
- Be weary of individuals and companies that require you to provide your child’s Social Security number and that includes the doctor’s office.
- Check your child’s credit report after they reach the age of 14.
- Educate your child on online safety such as phishing scams and other erroneous ways identity thieves try to get personal information online.
The consequences of not protecting your child’s identity could lead to future financial headaches.