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Parenting Connection: How to keep your kids from getting their identity stolen

Michigan

It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: How to keep your kids from getting their identity stolen.

It’s true… in a recent Detroit Free Press article — every year, more than 1.3 million children are victims of identity theft and half of those cases involve a kid 6 years or younger.

Authorities say, a child’s Social Security number can be used by thieves to apply for all sorts of things, like opening a bank or credit card account, apply for government benefits, a loan or utility service, or even try and rent a place to live. There are warning signs that can alert you if your child’s personal identity is being used — in fact, the Federal Trade Commission advises parents to look out for these red flags:

*The child receives credit card offers or bank information in the mail
*The child receives a notice from the IRS saying the child didn’t pay income taxes
*The child gets collection calls or bills for products or services you didn’t receive or purchase

If a parent or guardian suspects use of their child’s personal information, FCC officials say, contact each of the three nationwide credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — and ask for a manual search of your child’s file.
If you do find fraudulent activity — then you need to:

*Contact the companies where the Fraud happened and ask them to close the account
*Re-contact the three credit bureaus and ask them to remove any fraudulent accounts from your child’s credit report
*Consider a Child Credit Freeze until he or she is old enough to use it
*Report the identity theft to the FTC via IdentityTheft.gov

FCC officials also say, It’s a good idea to check whether your child has a credit report on their 16th birthday — so there’s enough time to make any fixes if their identity was stolen before they graduate.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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