Even children are at risk of identity theft
Everyone from affluent senior citizens to people with poor credit have to worry about identity proofing themselves from criminals, but what about children?
Identity fraud has evolved to the point that even children as young as toddlers are now at risk for identity theft. Just like with an adult, a criminal can open credit cards, loans and even buy a car with a child’s name. By the time the child becomes an adult, it’ll be too late to repair any of the damage the thief has done to their credit score.
“They don’t care how old you are… they are wolves in sheep’s clothing,” the spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, Kevin Walters said to the Nashville news station WKRN.
“Child identity theft is something most people don’t think about. Most people are thinking identity thieves are targeting adults or senior adults… (but) they go after the most vulnerable of the population.”
As a parent, how do I protect my children?
The most proactive thing you can do for your children is to simply monitor who has access to their personal information. When you’re registering your child for school, be sure to fill out any paperwork in your own home and not in public. Don’t be afraid to ask any organization that requests your children’s information why they need it in the first place.
“If your child, who might be a toddler or preschooler, suddenly had a credit report or credit card request, that is a sure fire tip off that you are being targeted by a scammer.”
It’s also a good idea to check if your child has a credit report when they turn 16. If they do have one, you’ll still have enough time to fix any issues for your child before they start applying to jobs, loans or an apartment.
Fortunately, there is some good news from all of this. By taking proactive measures with your child’s identity, you’re showing them the importance of identity verification, and you’re preparing them to live a life free of fraud.