It is pretty obvious that we should all check our credit reports for fraudulent activity. However, it is also a good idea to check your child’s credit report as well. Sound strange? Unfortunately, identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in our country, and it’s affecting all ages.
Identity Theft and Children
Before your children are even old enough to apply for a credit card or student loans, keep a close eye on their credit reports because they are still at risk for identity theft. Identity thieves find targeting children to be ideal because they can get away with the crime for longer periods of time – most parents aren’t actively reviewing their child’s credit report every year. The damage usually doesn’t appear until years later when your child’s credit report prevents them from taking out a loan to buy a car, get a credit card, etc.
All a criminal needs is your child’s Social Security number to take out a loan using that number. They will even use false names and dates of birth after obtaining that number that gets them government benefits, an opened bank account, applications for utility services, a home to rent and more.
What To Look Out For
There a few warning signs that may indicate your child’s information is being used fraudulently:
- You/your child may denied government benefits because benefits are being paid to a different account under your child’s Social Security number.
- You/your child may receive a notice from the IRS stating that your child owes income taxes or that their Social Security number was used on multiple returns.
- You’re getting collection calls or bills for things you didn’t purchase.
Be sure to check your child’s credit report to ensure that their identity has not been stolen. Take steps today to protect your child’s identity by requesting a free credit report each year.