It’s 10 p.m., do you know where your child’s credit card is?
The Identity Theft Assistance Center produced a report on Identity Theft Protection for Kids and found that 1 in 40 respondents had a child who was a victim of Identity Theft. Social Security numbers are the most common piece of information stolen and the theft was often carried out by someone known by the family. Lower income families (under $35,000) are the highest group at risk. Once the identity theft occurs with kids, it often takes longer to uncover when compared to adults.
Identity Theft Protection for Kids – What Can I Do?
Dealing with Identity Theft is a huge hassle. There are three basic steps you can take to provide Identity Theft Protection for your kids.
- Get a Good Quality Shredder – The most common way that identity thieves still operate is offline, not online. Make sure you shred any financial and medical paperwork (bills, statements, letters, etc.) before tossing them. Amazon has a good one for $50.
- Don’t Give Out Social Security Numbers – Yesterday I took my daughter to a pediatric dentist after she fell on the playground. We typically take her to our dentist, but he recommended that we take her to a pediatric dentist due to the injury. At the pediatric dentist’s office, I was given lots of new patient paperwork to fill out. The forms asked for my Social Security number, my wife’s and my daughter’s. I left all three blank. After turning in the paper work, I learned that they only needed my wife’s Social Security number because the insurance was under her name. That was one less place that can put my daughter’s Social Security number at risk.
- Check your child’s credit report every 4 months. You are entitled to pull your kids’ free credit report every year. Because there are three main credit reporting agencies, you can pull your free yearly report every four months with some good timing. There is one big difference between your credit report and your kid’s credit report…your children should not have any credit history. Since this is the case, you will need to order their report by mail.
Identity Theft Protection for Kids – How To Pull A Child’s Credit Report
You can get a free credit report every year from Equifax. Below are step by step instructions on how you can get a credit report for your children from one of the three major credit reporting agencies.
1. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com (1), Choose Your State (2), and click on Request Report (3).
2. Fill in your child’s personal information (1), enter the characters (2), and click Continue (3).
3. Choose Equifax (1) and click Next (2)
4. Click Next (1) to leave the Annual Credit Report site and enter Equifax’s site to get your Credit Report
5. Enter the last four digits of your child’s Social Security Number (1) and Click To Continue (2).
6. Wait for the Equifax system to retrieve your personal information.
7. The next screen will give you instructions on how to request your kid’s credit report by mail. Download the Form (1) and fill it out. Include a copy of the child’s Social Security card, birth certificate (2) and your driver’s license (3) with your current address (one that matches where you want the credit report mailed). Mail the completed form and identification to the address on the page (2).
NOTE: If you get out of wallet questions (questions based on credit history), this is a huge red flag as your child should not have any credit.
8. Sign up for my newsletter and you can get a reminder every year to check your Equifax report.
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