5 Tips for Preventing Child Identity Theft

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					5 Tips for Preventing Child Identity Theft

Think your child isn’t at risk of becoming yet another victim of identity theft? Think again. The
FTC estimates that over 140,000 children are victims of identity theft every year, and the
Carnegie Mellon University CyLab Child ID Theft Report showed that children are 51 times more
likely to experience identity theft than adults.

Preventing child identity theft can be difficult because kids are easier targets than adults. Their
Social Security numbers are unused so it’s easier to associate different names and birth dates
with them. Their identities are typically a blank slate and the likelihood of discovery is low since
most parents don’t monitor their children’s identities.

The crime can go unnoticed for many years, often until they try to open a bank account or apply
for a driver’s license, job, student loan, or credit as a young adult. By then their identity could
have been stolen and sold multiple times by thieves using it to obtain credit cards, insurance,
medical services, employment, housing, passports, government benefits, and loans. The list
goes on and on.

Safeguarding your child from identity theft begins with recognizing the signs, such as receiving
unsolicited credit card offers or bills in his or her name. Here are five tips for preventing child
identity theft:
   1. Don’t disclose Social Security numbers. Your child’s Social Security number is the most
        important piece of personal information to protect. If an organization requests your
        child’s Social Security number, ask how it will be used and how it will be protected. As
        the prevalence of identity theft has grown, providing a Social Security number is
        typically not required unless there are tax implications.
   2. Request your child’s credit report. The credit reporting agencies don’t keep credit
        reports for minors because they aren’t allowed to open lines of credit. If your child has a
        credit report, you know identity theft has been committed.
   3. Get a crosscut shredder and put it to work. Shred all documents you receive in the mail
        that contain your child’s personal information. Remember that mail such as unsolicited
        credit card offers are indicators of child identity theft, so shred these documents right
        away. (Don’t forget to do this for yourself as well.) Then contact the credit bureaus to
        see if there’s a credit file in your child’s name.
   4. Don’t carry around your child’s Social Security number. Preventing child identity theft
        also includes locking up his or her Social Security number with other important personal
        identity records such as birth certificates and passports, and only access it when you

      absolutely need it. Locking up all private information is generally a good idea to prevent
      houseguests or babysitters from viewing it.
   5. Monitor your child’s social networking accounts. Identity thieves troll social networking
      websites, so make sure private information like date of birth, address, and names of
      family members are not included in profiles. It’s also a good idea to set privacy settings
      so your child’s profile can only be viewed by friends and family.

In addition to these do-it-yourself precautions, you can start proactively preventing child
identity theft by relying on a trusted company like Entrust America. Entrust America will protect
you and your family from all forms of identity theft, and is the only company with a proprietary
partnership with law enforcement nationwide to recover identities and ensure you get back to
pre-theft status.

Learn more about preventing child identity theft by visiting or
calling 310.831.4400.


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