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.