Itâs just another Thursday at our place, and I get a phone call from some collection agency.
The representative says that Mike, my son has racked up a mind-boggling $46,000 worth of debtâ he bought a 50-inch curved TV, an uber-cool drone (which was in my wish-list, by the way) and a used hatchback car too!
The agency needed answers from me, for his debts were way overdue. To be frank, I was proud of my son for a moment, and then I looked at him, merrily eating dirt in our lawn.
Mike turned 3 years old this September. It was that moment I realized; my son is a victim of Identity theft!
Child identity theft occurs when a childâs identity is used by another person for the imposterâs personal gain. Just like regular identity theft, this can severely damage the victimâs credit score.
Getting hold of a minorâs personal information like Date of Birth and Social Security Number (SSN), it is as easy as one two three for an identity thief to apply for credit cards, bank accounts, loans, government benefits and a job too!
From infants to toddlers (my own Mike) to Middle-school children, anyone can be a victim of child identity theft. So the question that fuels up in every parentâs mind is- âHow to protect your child from identity theft?â
Before answering that question, letâs look at the two major reasons why identity thieves hit below the belt and steal the identity of small children;
Now that we have a brief idea about why they do it, letâs figure out how they do it.
As stated before, all that the bad guys need is your childâs Social Security Number and Date of Birth. Now think about it- Who has all this information, any takers? Your childâs school? That Social Security Number you jotted down at the baby-docâs office? Aunt Shirley, whoâs drowning in debt?
Letâs see how it happens, so that you keep these in mind and know how to protect your child from identity theft:
Think about it- at how many places have you submitted your kidâs birth certificate? Almost every piece of paperwork has a blank for your childâs Social Security Number and Date of Birth, and itâs not even relevant at most of those places.
These fraudsters pounce on any given opportunity they can find to get hands on those sheets of paper. If forms arenât shredded properly before disposal, it can also be found in recycling bins by thieves. To defend against these risks, be judicious about what you write on forms.
âThe biggest crimes take place right under your noseâ, thereâs some truth in that. At most times, these âbad guysâ are our relatives and close family, itâs just that we donât think on that tangent until law enforcement interferes.
Even parents are sometimes tempted to put their childrenâs names and Social Security Numbers on account applications if their own credit is bad. To prevent a relative from exploiting your childâs identity, keep those sensitive documents under lock and key, just like your own.
If youâre looking for ways to protect your child from identity theft, this is one dynamic you canât do anything about. Hacking is a worldwide virtual plague from which thereâs no escape. Once your data is online- itâs all exposed, as simple as that.
The answer for âhow to protect your child from identity theftâ cannot be cutting the LAN cable. The internet is an indispensable part of our lives and your childâs school records are on the online database too, which includes the Social Security Number.
Itâs the parents who are generally the first ones to know about their childâs ID-theft jitters. But when they get to know it, itâs already too late.
Shockingly, by and large, the parent doesnât understand whatâs occurred until the point that their child is nearly grown.
It might be too late to learn how to protect your child from identity theft you these warning bells start ringing:
These are some serious consequences, we know. One can never be too careful when filling out forms with information as crucial as Social Security Number. So yeah, if you received a call as I did, better take an action before something worse goes down.
If youâre learning how to protect your child from identity theft, remember that itâs never too late. If youâve just discovered that your child is a victim of identity theft, itâs important to take those countermeasures ASAP. You can repair that credit score later, hereâs what to do first:
Enough of beating around the bush- time to know how to protect your child from identity theft. Here are some things to keep a check on to make sure there are no cracks left for the bad guys to steal your little oneâs identity.
At last, donât live your life in fear that your childâs identity is going to be stolen! Just take some small preventive steps, donât be too careless (donât be too skeptical too), and you donât need to specifically worry about how to protect your child from identity theft, youâve done enough!