Financial institutions, credit card companies and the media often warn adults about the dangers of identity theft, but what about children? According to the Federal Trade Commission, 400,000 child identities are stolen every year. Because children often have a clean credit history and do not check their credit reports, this type of identity theft can go unnoticed for years. Protect your child from this damaging crime by following these simple tips:
- Check your child’s credit history for free once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Keep documents like their Social Security card, birth certificate and grade reports in a safe place – all criminals need to steal an identity is a Social Security number, name and/or date of birth.
- Be suspicious of any credit card offerings or account statements your child receives in the mail; this could be a sign that their identity has been stolen.
- Educate your child about the importance of keeping personal information private, especially while using the Internet.
- Don’t give your child a credit card until they are responsible enough to handle the sensitive information.