The Two Most Vital Steps to Take to Protect Your Child from Identity Theft

Think about this The victim is left with tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars in debt in collections to sort through as well as a credit score that has been severely damaged and will require a significant amount of time, effort, and paperwork to repair after the thief obtains the name and social security number of someone with impeccable credit, takes out loans and credit cards gradually enough to not raise red flags, then fails to pay the bills and vanishes into thin air. When the victim is a youngster, it may take several years before the crime is discovered and even longer for the victim’s credit to be repaired.

Thieves target children because they have impeccable credit histories. A large robbery may be set up through the careful manipulation of a thief over the course of a year or two. Many parents are unaware that they may prevent identity theft by taking regular, proactive measures, which they should do. Start with these two crucial actions to protect your child against identity theft.

1. Keep your child’s SSN confidential.

The social security number of your child is needed by an extremely small number of persons. Schools are prohibited from requiring it. Find out why someone needs it if they ask for it and whether the service can be rendered without it.

The truth is that the supplier does not require your social security number unless you (or your child) are asking for credit terms, such as to establish a payment plan for services (SSN). You are not compelled to supply information even though the doctor’s office for your child may request it on a standard form. Furthermore, if your child has health insurance, your doctor’s office won’t need to know their social security number because they will be able to recognize them by their member ID number. In fact, the majority of insurance companies won’t let the doctor deny care to someone whose social security information is kept confidential.

Additionally, neither does your insurance company require it! However, if you inform them that you wish to keep the SSN of your child (or your own) private, you can be informed that you are unable to do so. Push the matter by speaking with a manager. The fact that a social security number is not necessary is simply unknown to many first-level customer support agents.

Parental advice: Your own social security number should also be kept private according to the same guidelines. The decision to release it is yours alone, and very few circumstances genuinely call for it. If you refuse to provide us your SSN, you could have to pay a cash deposit (such as to set up cable T.V. service or to get a cell phone on a monthly billing account). This is so that they can offer to open your account without first conducting a credit check on you, which requires your SSN. However, a sizable cash deposit eliminates the need for a credit check, thus your social security information is unnecessary and useless.

Whom should you give the SSN of your child?

A person’s social security number is required by financial institutions in order to create an account in that person’s name. Any person listed as a beneficiary on an insurance policy may be asked for their SSN by some insurance providers. When your youngster accepts his first “real” job, he will be required to furnish his SSN.

When requesting some federal or local government assistance, including Medicaid or free or reduced lunch, you might also be asked for your SSN. Pay particular attention to whose number they ask for because many of those advantages will be given to the parent and not the youngster.

2. Examine your kid’s credit report

The best credit watcher for your child is you. You have the right to find out if your child has a credit report card and, if so, to get a free copy if you suspect fraudulent conduct in their name, maybe as a result of their receiving a credit card offer or other unsolicited mail.

Both Experian and Equifax demand that you mail your request together with the required paperwork. TransUnion offers private instructions regarding what to do next if a credit report is discovered and permits parents to email inquiries about the existence of a credit report. Children 14 and older can request their own credit files, according to Experian. Online access to credit records is not available to those under the age of 18.

Until the time comes to begin developing credit, your child’s credit report should be blank. When that time comes, you can assist your child by adding him or her as an authorized user on one of your own accounts to help them begin establishing credit.

Parental advice: Family members are occasionally the ones who steal children’s identities. Therefore, don’t provide anyone your child’s social security number unless they have a good cause to require it. To be extra cautious, in situations where the request is legitimate, such as when a relative opens an investment account in the child’s name, think about giving the organization that needs the social security number your own information.

Although it ought to go without saying, experience teaches us that it doesn’t: Never ever apply for credit in your child’s name. It is forbidden and utterly bad.

What if the identity of your child has been stolen?

Send a fraud notice to all three credit reporting agencies right away if you suspect or uncover questionable activity in your child’s name. Fraud notifications are free for victims of identity theft (and incur a small fee under other circumstances).

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