We typically think of adults as the primary victims of identity theft. After all, they’re the ones who have developed a credit history and have assets attached to their name that people want to take advantage of. However, parents should know that their personal information isn’t the only thing that they need to worry about protecting — they also need to keep an eye on their children’s information.
If anything, kids could actually be at a higher risk of identity theft than their parents. While this can seem somewhat counter-intuitive, because children do not have credit cards or loans, it also means it’s a clean slate for a thief to start from scratch. There are very few connection to their names or Social Security Number as far as the major credit bureaus are concerned, making it easier for thieves to use that information to open an account with their information.
Protecting you children from identity theft can be a long and hard battle, but here are some tips for you to help them by being proactive:
- Keep close watch on their SSN: One of the most valuable pieces of personal identification information can often be used to fill out numerous forms for schools, doctors and even extra-curricular activities. To help keep your child’s SSN more secure question the parties who request this information about how it will be used, if it will be stored securely, and if it’s even necessary.
- Check the mail: If you’re child starts receiving credit or loan offers in the mail, there’s a good chance their identity has already been used for credit purposes. Keeping an eye out for strange mailings like this can help you catch instances of identity theft and report them.
- Shred all documents with personal information: This is a standard method of helping to protect the identity of both children and adults alike. While data breaches and hacks are growing in numbers, a tried and true form of stealing identities still lays in dumpster diving. Look for a shredding event in your area, or do it yourself at home to help protect your information on paper.
It’s also a good idea to teach children about protecting their own data as early as they can understand the concept. Sit them down and have a conversation about when it is and is not appropriate personal information to give out. At the same time, talk about their online presence and how much information is shared each day over social media and other community sites.
Don’t forget that the threat of identity theftdoesn’t necessarily go away as you get older. Protecting you identity is a lifelong responsibility. Learn more about how Identity Guard can help protect you identity. With three-bureau credit monitoring service and continuous identity monitoring, Identity Guard can alert you to certain activity on you credit files that may indicate fraud.
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