One of the first and easiest things you should do to prevent your child’s identity from being stolen: caution him or her about giving personal information, especially their Social Security number, to anyone over the Internet. The most likely person to steal your child’s identity is a family member or frequent visitor to your home. Be sure your child’s Social Security card is stored in a secure place. Shred any papers that have your child’s Social Security number on them.
One part of the problem: credit bureaus don’t check social security numbers with the Social Security Administration in order to verify a person’s name and age. That means thieves can use the number with their own name, or a fake name, to open credit accounts, get student loans, home, boat and car loans, receive government benefits, unemployment compensation, tax refunds or access to medical care and employment, all using your child’s number. The crime will not be known until your child grows up and is denied credit because of debts on his credit report.
To obtain your child’s credit report, you have to contact a credit bureau through the mail by sending them your child’s complete name, address, date of birth, a copy of the child’s birth certificate, a copy of the child’s social security card, and a copy of your own driver’s license or other government-issued proof of identity.
Also, the proof must include your residential address along with a current utility bill that also includes your home address. Mail these items to one or more of these credit bureaus:
- Equifax, P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374.
- Experian, P.O. Box 9532, Allen TX 75013.
- TransUnion, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834.
Be suspicious of credit offers sent to your children. Notify credit bureaus, then check your child’s credit report. You need the report to prove your child is a victim. Contact your local police to file a police report if you have any suspicions. Learn more by contacting the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov or (877) IDTHEFT.