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How (and Why) to Check for Child Identity Theft When Your Kids Turn 16

October 25th, 2016 · No Comments · Consumer Info

by Kristy Welsh

(Last Updated On: September 20, 2017)

How (and Why) to Check for Child Identity Theft When Your Kids Turn 16

If you have a child who is turning 16, the FTC advises you to check and see if there are any credit reports under their social security number to be sure they have not been a victim of child identity theft. Best case scenario, nothing turns up. Worst case scenario, they have credit reports generated by fraudulent activity that you’ll need to sort out through the proper authorities and the credit repair process.

“Checking to see if your child has a credit history, and then thoroughly reviewing it when they turn 16, can help you spot signs of identity theft,” says the FTC.

“If you find false or inaccurate information, you’ll have time to correct it before your child applies for a job, a loan for college or a car, or tries to get a credit card or a place to live.”

1) Ask the credit bureaus for a manual search of your child’s credit report.

Each of the three major credit reporting bureaus – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax – has a system in place for running a check on your child’s social security number. If nothing turns up, great. But if it does, the credit bureau will send you a copy of the credit report. Look it over and follow the credit bureau’s instructions for resolving fraudulent activity.

Check out IdentityTheft.gov for all the links you need to request a manual search from each of the credit bureaus and to place a freeze on your child’s social security number.

2) Contact the companies through which your child’s credit was compromised.

It might be a credit card company, a landlord, or even a government agency. Whatever the organization, call them immediately and let them know your child’s identity was used fraudulently to open the account; make sure they know your child is a minor.

As advised by IdentityTheft.gov, ask the company to close the account and send you a confirmation letter of its closing. Follow up with a letter of your own, including a Minor’s Status Declaration and a copy of your child’s birth certificate.

Be sure to make keep good records of everything — dates of phone calls, who you talk to, and what’s discussed; and copies of letters and supporting documentation you send through the mail (via certified mail with return receipt).

3) Take preventative measures to protect against child identity theft.

All of the precautions in the world cannot ensure your child will not become a victim of identity theft. However, there are plenty of things you can do to minimize the possibilities, from storing (and properly destroying) records to limiting and monitoring activity on social media sites.

Check out our lengthy list of ways to protect your child from identity theft.

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