As a parent you worry about your child’s education, their health, their safety, and their future. That’s why it is crucial to monitor and protect your child’s personal information from identity thieves from a young age. Here are some tips and ways to protect your child’s information and set them up for success in the future.
- Keep your child’s important documents and paperwork such as birth certificates and social security information locked away in a safe place. Anything that has personal identifiers or could be used as an ID needs to be secure. If for any reason you need to use those documents make sure you know exactly where they are and make sure to put them back.
- If you are ever asked to provide your child’s social security number make sure you ask them why and how they plan to keep it safe. Places like hospitals and doctor’s offices often use social security numbers as a child’s unique identifier. If that is the case it might be a good idea to keep a running list of every place your child’s social security number or birth certificate has been given out. In the event that your child’s information was stolen it would help investigators know where to start looking.
- Check your child’s social security earnings record. Many identity thieves go undetected because parents don’t assume that the child even has a credit or earnings report. By requesting these regularly you can prevent fraud.
- Request an annual Social Security Earnings record by calling 1-800-772-1213 or visit http://www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-7004.html.
- You can also request a free credit report each year for your child from each of the three major credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion annually. Because names and birth-dates can be changed it’s best to use their Social Security Number when requesting a report.
- Monitor your mail. If you start receiving mail from inappropriate sources such as credit card companies or collection agencies call and request more information about why those mailers were sent. Be sure not to share any sensitive information with the sender.
- Teach your children about internet safety. Children and teens spend copious amounts of time online using the internet. Make sure they understand the importance of strong passwords and the difference between a secure site and not secure sites.
- Be careful on social media. Make sure your child doesn’t put any information like a birthday, address, or other information that could be used to guess a password on any social media sites or profiles online. Identity thieves spend their time building profiles on children so be smart and aware.
If you take the time to follow these tips your child’s information will be far safer and you will have some peace of mind that your child’s future will be protected.