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child identity theft
Parental Control
Apr 17, 2023
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What Is Child Identity Theft? Are Your Children at Risk?

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We all know the many online dangers for children, such as cyber predators and grooming. However, you may not know that child identity theft is also an Internet safety issue. So let’s look at what it is and learn how to prevent it.

Many of us know identity theft 101, as we’ve probably heard of identity theft being used to commit crimes via stealing someone’s personal information (such as credit card, social security number, etc.).

Child Identity Theft Description

Child identity theft is when someone steals the personal information of a person under 18. Unfortunately, many people do not take this form of digital theft seriously, believing that identity theft is only something that adults need to worry about. However, this is not the case whatsoever. When looking at internet identity theft statistics, we were stunned to learn that 1 in 50 children have had their identity stolen in some form or the other. It’s not some one-in-a-million event; it’s an everyday occurrence, and if you’re not careful, it can happen to your child.

So let’s look at why someone would steal from your child to begin with.

Why Would Someone Steal Your Child’s Identity?

Child identity theft can be a confusing concept for many, as you may wonder why an identity thief would go after someone without money and little influence on the world. There are no child credit cards they can exploit, either. However, there are many reasons why someone would want to steal your child’s identity.

The answer may surprise you. Many lenders do not verify a person’s age, especially when they’re predatory. You may believe a social security number would reveal a person’s age, but that’s not the case.

Also, a child has no credit history, so a thief can exploit this to get credit cards, apply for automobile loans, file fake tax returns, and much more. This creates a credit nightmare for the child before they are even a legal adult.

Finally, many children and adolescents can be less guarded about their personal information, making it easy for someone to steal it.

How to Know If Your Child’s Identity Has Been Stolen

Many child identity theft cases can go unnoticed for a while, which should not happen. You should enact ASAP if you suspect your child’s identity has been stolen. With that said, how can you know it? Here are some common signs.

Odd Mail Addressed to Your Child

If you’re receiving letters from the IRS directed to your child, this is a sign that your child may be the victim of identity theft. Of course, the IRS is an extreme example. Often, it can come in the form of credit card pre-approval letters or similar letters acting like your child is an adult. Please don’t dismiss this as junk mail; many child identity theft stories end with the parent wishing they acted faster.

Phone Calls Addressed to Your Child

If you’re receiving calls from people such as debt collectors, this can be a sign that your child’s identity is stolen. With so many robocalls and scam calls, you may ignore these, but you shouldn’t. If they’re specifically reaching out to a child, that’s a huge red flag. Always investigate these suspicious calls.

The Child Is Denied Government Benefits

Another reason you may want to investigate is if you’ve tried applying for government benefits for your child only to be denied. This is because someone has stolen your child’s information and instead collects benefits under their name.

Do not take it lightly if you’ve experienced any of the above. It can signify that your child has stolen their information, and you must act now before the thieves continue to steal their information.

Was Your Child’s Identity Stolen? Follow These Steps

1. Contact Any Major Credit Bureaus

This step can confirm if your child has a line of credit. Ask for a copy, then request the bureau delete it, freeze it, and issue a fraud alert. You will need a copy of the Uniform Minor’s Status Declaration to prove your child is under 18.

2. File Fraud and Identity Theft Reports with the FTC

Call the FTC at 1-877-438-4338 or visit their website at identitytheft.gov to file a claim.

3. Close Any Fake Accounts

If someone uses your child’s information for businesses, contact them and ensure you have an FTC claim confirmation ready.

4. Prevent It from Happening Again

With identity theft, lightning can strike twice. Don’t be unprepared for it to happen again; instead, educate yourself and your child to be ready if it happens again.

10 Ways How to Prevent Child Identity Theft

If you’re asking yourself, “How does child identity theft occur?” It’s because many parents and kids are not prepared and do not know how to prevent it. So here are ten ways to protect your child from identity theft.

  • Never Give Out Your Child’s Information Unless Necessary

You should only give your child’s personal information if it’s for a doctor, a school, or any organization to trust. If someone suspicious asks for this information, wait to give it to them until you know they’re safe.

  • Lock All Your Child’s Personal Information

Keep any sensitive documents locked away. Passport, birth certificate, social security, lock that all away in a safe that only you and your most trusted family member can access.

  • Look Into Credit Report Monitoring

Use many applications to monitor a child’s credit report and get an alert if there are any changes. If you receive an alert, you know your child is an identity theft victim, and act ASAP.

  • Update Your Cyber Security Programs

Adding a program that can prevent hackers and malware from hacking you or your child’s computer can prevent identity theft. Also, be sure to update your computer often. Updates can be annoying, but they close any security flaws.

  • Request a Credit Freeze

Contact the three major national credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) and request a credit freeze for your child. This will ensure no one can do anything to your child’s credit report. Keep it frozen until your child reaches legal age, then contact them again to unfreeze it.

  • Beware of Privacy Policies

When signing up for an organization or website, read the privacy policies. They will tell you how they will use your child’s information, allowing you to decide whether to participate in the organization.

  • Replace Social Security Card for Child ASAP

If your child’s social security card has gone missing, contact your closest social security office and replace it ASAP. The sooner, the lower the chance of identity theft occurring.

  • Apply for Programs Under Your Information If Possible

There are many cases where a child will be eager to give out their personal information, such as a newsletter from their favorite band. However, if possible, use your information.

  • Educate Your Child

As your child grows older, especially as they get online, explain cyber security to a child. Tell them about how people can steal their personal information, and tell them that if they need clarification on whether they should give out their information, the child can talk to you, and tell them if they can or cannot.

Many identity theft cases happen because parents allow their children unfettered access to the Internet. Even with parental control programs, it’s still possible for your child to find a website that does not have your child’s best interests in mind. Have your child take an Internet safety pledge, and be sure that your child feels safe asking any questions.

  • Consider Using uMobix

We all deserve our privacy, including our children. However, if you suspect your child is giving away their personal information or doing anything else that puts them at risk, it’s time for you as a parent to step in.

One way to prevent your child from having their information stolen is to monitor their Internet activities. A reliable spy app, uMobix, lets you see what your child is doing. Install it on your child’s phone, and it will help you see if they are visiting suspicious websites or sending inappropriate messages to people who do not have your child’s best interests at heart.

In addition, uMobix can keep your child safe by telling you their location. If your child is in an area where they are at risk of getting their identity stolen, then pick them up or call them. Our app also works well if you want to monitor what your child is typing on their phone.

While we should always trust our children, their online behavior can sometimes be risky. uMobix ensures they are not revealing anything that could give away their information, meaning that they do not have to deal with identity theft issues in the future.

FAQ

Identity thieves go after personal information such as credit card numbers, SSNs, bank numbers, and other sensitive information. However, information such as your email password or affiliations can lead an identity thief to steal your information. Never give out any personal data if possible.

The best way is to request a credit freeze. Contact the three credit bureaus (contact information viewable at IdentityTheft.gov) to request one for free. This will make it challenging for a thief to open a credit account in their name. Credit freezes work best for children under 16, as they can unfreeze it themselves when they’re over 16 or older.

When someone steals your personal information, they can ruin your credit and open accounts in your name. You may be denied loans and government benefits and may have debt collectors and the IRS demanding you pay loans or taxes you do not owe. You must report any identity theft case ASAP.

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