Protecting the Most Vulnerable Identities

Dedicated to helping Parents  Safeguard Their Children Since 1999

Dedicated to helping Parents  Safeguard Their Children Since 1999

The digital age in which we live makes it more important than ever for us to protect our children from identity theft. Identity thieves target children because we don’t usually check the personal information of our children. This makes it easy for thieves to use the information for fraudulent purposes. It can continue for years without detection. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore why identity theft occurs, its impact, how it occurs, signs to watch for, steps to take if your child’s identity is stolen, and most importantly, how to protect your child from becoming a victim of this financially draining crime.

What Is Child Identity Theft and How Serious Is the Problem?

Child identity theft occurs when a child’s personal information is used fraudulently. The impact can be severe and last for years:

If a criminal obtains a child’s personal information, it can result in fraudulent credit accounts, loans, or unpaid bills in the child’s name. This can result in poor credit scores and financial liabilities.

It can be quite distressing for us to discover our child’s identity has been compromised. The emotional impact can cause trust issues and anxiety for both parents and the child. It can also discrupt the child’s sense of security.

If a child’s identity is compromised, it may affect their ability to secure educational loans, scholarships, or employment opportunities later in life.This can lead to stress and frustration for the child who is trying to become established in a career or start building a credit file.

online youth infographics

How Does a Child’s Identity Benefit a Criminal?

A child becomes a victim of Child Identity Theft when a criminal gains access to the child’s personal information and uses it for financial gain.This information can include the child’s Social Security number, birth certificate, or other private information. Scammers steal a child’s identity for several reasons.

One reason a criminal might target a child for identity theft is because of the blank slate. Since children have no credit history, it’s easy for scammers to establish new credit lines or open fraudulent accounts without arousing suspicion.

The criminal knows he can achieve long term exploitation. Because it can take years before anyone detects the presence of child identity theft, scammers can continue their exploitation for years. The amount of debt that results can have a significant impact on the child’s financial future.

It is easy to access the personal information of a child from school records, healthcare providers, sports organizations, or even social media. This makes children attractive targets for identity thieves.

Why Do Criminals Target Children for Identity Theft?

Children are attractive targets for identity thieves. One of the reasons criminals target children is because of the limited financial activity and credit history. This makes it easier for thieves to exploit their identities.

The lack of monitoring is another reason it is so easy for children to become victims of identity theft. Since our children don’t typically have a credit file, we often don’t see the need to keep an eye on it. This allows criminals to operate undetected for extended periods.

Another problem is once an identity thief steals a child’s identity, he can use it for many years.The child may not notice it until he or she is old enough to apply for credit or is ready to attend college. This gives the thief plenty of time to do serious damage and engage in various fraudulent activities.

Methods Criminals Use During During Identity Theft

There are several methods fraudsters use when they are in the process of committing identity theft. One method is creating or taking advantage of data breaches. Data breaches can expose sensitive information such as your or even your child’s Social Security numbers. They can then use the information to target children’s identities.

Sometimes the perpetrator is someone you or your child knows. This might be a relative or family friend who has gained access to the child’s personal information.

Scammers may pose as legitimate organizations or individuals. The purpose of this trick is to convince us to provide their child’s personal information.

How to Recognize Identity Theft

It can be a challenge to recognize identity theft, but there are several signs that will help us identify child identity theft. Being aware of the danger signs can ensure quicker identification of the crime and thus prevent serious financial loss.

One of the first signs we might notice is the appearance of pre-approved credit offers or other types of financial notifications in the mail, email, or by telephone addressed to the child .

We might receive a notice from the IRS that someone filed a tax return using the Social Security number of our child. This is definitely a red flag that could indicate identity theft has occurred.

A clear indication of identity theft is receiving collection calls or bills for accounts or services of which we are unaware. In this case, consulting a Child Identity Theft Lawyer is a must to deal with this unwanted situation.

mother protecting her daughter

Steps to Take Following Child Identity Theft

If we suspect or confirm our child’s identity has been stolen, we must take immediate action. The most crucial step to take is notifying the credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. It’s essential to request a manual search to identify any fraudulent activity.

It is also important to file a police report with the local law enforcement agency. This is the first step in identifying the occurrence of identity theft.

Notify all financial institutions and creditors, banks, credit card companies and all relevant financial institutions of the occurrence of the identity theft. They will then need to close all fraudulent accounts and prevent further damage.

Finally, keep detailed records of every phase of the process. This includes all communication such as dates, names, and reference number while we navigate the process of recovering the child’s identity.

10 Ways to Protect Your Child from Identity Theft

Preventing child identity theft is much easier than navigating the process once it happens. Preventing child identity theft starts with safeguarding our child’s personal information. Some of the ways we can do this include:

1

Securing Sensitive Data: Protecting Personal Data

Keeping all sensitive documents such as their Social Security number and birth certificate in a secure location or at least under lock and key.

2

Empowering Children: Privacy Education And Online Safety

Educate your child about the importance of privacy and the potential risks involved if he should share personal information online.

3

Safeguarding Your Child's Personal Information: Excercise Caution

We need to be very cautious with whom we share our child’s personal information. Avoid providing the information unless it is necessary, especially on social media platforms

4

Vigilantly Monitor Financial Accounts: Safeguarding Against Suspicious Activity

It is essential for us to monitor all financial accounts including credit reports to uncover any suspicious activity.

5

Strengthen Online Security: Regular Updating of Passwords

Make certain to use strong and unique passwords for any of the child’s online accounts. Also, we must make sure we update the passwords regularly.

6

Ensuring Online Safety: Device and Software Updates for Strong Digital Defense

Ensure all devices and security software are up to date in order to protect against any malware and other online threats.

7

Nurturing Online Savviness: Equipping Our Child to Recognize Phishing Scams

Teaching our child about phishing scams and how to identify and avoid them (for instance, never click on web addresses in emails unless we know for certain it is safe; type the address in the browser).

8

Evaluating Privacy Policies: Ensuyring Secure Data Practices for Our Child's Information

Understand the privacy policies of organizations that collect our child’s information.We want to ascertain they have appropriate security measures in place.

9

Safeguarding Student Privacy: Inquiring About School Data Protection Protocols

Asl the schools what protocols they have in place to protect the personal information of all students, including ours.

10

Maintaining Security: Regularly Reviewing Your Child's Social Security Statement

Make it a point to routinely review our child’s Social Security statement to ensure there is no fraudulent activity associated with it.

Protecting our child’s identity requires vigilance and proactive measures. By following these guidelines, we can significantly reduce the risk of child identity theft and provide the child with a secure foundation for their future.

In conclusion, child identity theft is a serious concern in today’s digital world. As parents and guardians, it is our responsibility to take proactive steps to protect our children’s personal information. By understanding the risks, recognizing the signs of identity theft, and implementing preventive measures, we can safeguard our children from this pervasive crime. Remember, early detection and swift action are key to minimizing the potential damage caused by child identity theft.

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