Identity theft is a crime that has existed for a while, but with computer technology it has gotten easier for criminals to get personal information. Most people concentrate on protecting their own personal information, but one area that can be overlooked is their children’s personal information. This can go on for months as adults may find out about identity theft when applying for a new credit card or utilizing their financial information in another manner, but the same is not true for children.
There are several scenarios where children’s information can be compromised which will have a big impact on their financial future if not dealt with early on. One is that an unauthorized family member has used the child’s blank financials to set up an account for themselves. They were able to get the information as it was not secured in the home or had access to it previously. Another is that a hacker or another criminal was able to obtain personal information to create a new identity. This could be for the purpose of purchasing items or even creating an identity to sell. They could have hacked the information from a personal computer, found it in the trash if not shredded, or through a break in. No matter the breach it can be detrimental for the child when it comes time to get loans for college, buy their first car and other financial milestones.
It would seem to some people that a child’s age would be a red flag for companies when issuing credit based on a more recent social security number, but many companies do not check the age of the applicant. Credit reporting agencies also do not check the age of the person but rely on the information provided to them about the person unless a dispute is filed. Making it highly important for parents to check that their children’s personal information has not been accessed by any unauthorized users. Some people may feel as though they should put this off because it might be expensive, but it does not have to be. The United States government has created a website that allows for everyone to have access to a yearly free credit report. There is a charge for accessing credit scores, but this is not necessary for younger children that are not working at their first job or have their first credit card account.
Find a problem with your child’s credit report? Take action now. The fact sheet located at https://www.stopidentityfraud.org/credit-monitoring-services/ from Stop Identity Fraud has recommendations for quality credit monitoring companies that can help prevent child identity theft damage, should it occur. . It may take some time to go through the right channels to clear up the credit report, but it is vital in parenting to provide a child with a unmarked future that allows them to make their own financial decisions without having to pay for the mistakes of someone else.