Identity thieves are after children's Social Security numbers. With this number, a thief can do so many things like open a credit card account and rent an apartment. Kids' SSNs have great appeal to crooks because:
- A child's record is usually very clean.
- This means fertile opportunities for new credit lines.
- Kids usually don't check their credit reports and thus the fraud can go undetected for years.
Parents should consider putting a freeze on their kids' credit. Simply getting the credit monitored will not prevent thieves from opening accounts using the child's SSN. A freeze does literally that: blocks a fraudster from doing anything.
- Will not create a file for a child unless required by state law, unless they are victimized.
- However, will give a free copy of an existing file of a child to the parent and will freeze it upon request.
- There may be a very small fee unless the parent provides proof that the minor's identity was stolen.
- Their freeze is free and doesn't answer to any state requirements.
- The child need not already be a victim of ID theft to get the freeze.
- Their site allows parents to check for a credit file of their kids.
- Freezes are permitted only in states that allow this. Fees may apply.
Innovis (another credit reporting agency)
- Parents can place a freeze no matter what their state says.
Not all the states provide protection for minors' credit. Find out what your state's requirements are, as some, for instance, provide only a flag on the Social Security number. Other states have protection going up only to age 16.
Signs that someone is using your child's SSN:
- You receive an IRS notice claiming your child didn't pay income taxes.
- You get an IRS notice informing you that another tax return used your child's SSN.
- You receive collection notices for things you didn't purchase.
Rejection of government benefits because the benefits are going to another account with your child's SSN.
Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing identity theft prevention.
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