Effective Ways to Protect Your Kids from Identity Theft

Effective Ways to Protect Your Kids from Identity Theft

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Last Updated on August 3, 2023 by Emma White

Out of many threats that children face while using the internet, one of the major ones is identity theft. People normally are not aware of the severity and instances of identity theft when it comes to children, since they are among the more vulnerable fractions of people who are targeted. However, as a safety precaution, you can opt for an internet connection that comes with a strong security system, such as Spectrum

You need to make sure that you are well aware of the threats that children could potentially face when it comes to identity theft and them using the internet. In this article, we will point out how children are potential targets of identity theft and what you could do to protect them:

Understanding Whether Your Kids Are at Risk or Not

The first thing that you need to realize is whether or not your kids are at risk of identity theft or not. Normally, kids that are targeted are under the age of 18 because they don’t have a credit score or a credit report. This is where scammers make use of their social security number so that they could misuse it in whatever way they want. The worst part is that even if their social security numbers are misused, the process isn’t detected until a couple of years pass by. 

Children’s information is typically used in what is known as Synthetic Identity Theft in which fake identities are created but the social security codes that are used are real. The scammers can then apply for credit and may even apply for loans and it usually goes undetected because parents don’t keep check on their child’s credit score. 

What else is Child Identity Theft Used for?

Normally, the social security code isn’t the only thing that is used for identity theft, in fact, scammers also steal children’s names, dates of birth, or addresses. Using this, they can apply for benefits from the government such as nutrition assistance or healthcare. They could also open a new bank account or could even apply for a credit card account. The scammers may also sign up to use a utility service such as water or electricity. Not just that, but scammers also use the sensitive information of children so that they could rent places to live, which is bad considering that their whole process is shady. 

The whole idea is really scary since so much could be going on under your nose and you wouldn’t know about it since you never really kept check. No matter how young your kids might be, you should always keep checking if someone is using their social security number or not and do see if they are generating a credit score at this age or not, which is a red flag. 

Ways You Can Detect Possible Identity Theft

Identity theft is something tricky to look out for, you need to be vigilant and careful when you are looking for signs of possible identity theft. Always keep a good check on your child’s email address, and look out for emails for offers for credit cards, insurance, or other email that ends up in junk email and would normally be considered inappropriate email. Also, look through your physical mail for anything that is addressed to your child concerning collection notices. Keep an eye out for unsolicited bills that are sent in the name of your child since that could be a possible sign of identity theft as well. 

If you ask for governmental benefits and are denied on the basis that you have already availed them while you have not, that could also be a sign that your child could be targeted for identity theft. Even letters from IRS that say that your child isn’t paying taxes are a sign of identity theft. 

How Can You Protect Your Children From Identity Theft?

Now the question is, how can you protect your children from identity theft? There are some steps that you can take responsibly so that you could play your part in protecting your children. The first thing that you can do is more of a physical kind of thing, you can make sure that all their documents such as their social security card, their medical bills, and everything else with sensitive information are kept locked in a cabinet. 

If you are selling off their phone or computer, make sure you delete all files that might have sensitive information. You could run a hard reset or a factory reset that could wipe all of their data and restore the device to as good as new. 

Keep in mind that your child cannot apply for a loan or credit card until they are at least 16. Till then, you can make sure that their credit reports are frozen so that no one could misuse that information and you could re-activate it when they are of age. You can do that by heading to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion which are the three major credit companies, and have their records frozen there. 

Try to use your personal information instead of your child’s where needed. You also need to make sure that neither you nor your child end up oversharing on social media since that could also lead to people extracting essential data and misusing it. You also need to keep a strict check on what your child is browsing so that you could keep them as safe as possible. Make sure you have parental control on your internet connection so that your children are limited and they don’t access anything they shouldn’t be accessing. 

Wrapping Up

So this is how identity theft works in the case of children and though it might be scary, you could always do something about it to prevent it, and we hope this article helped you enough to know what to do to protect your children.