Protect Child Identities

Protect Child Identities

Parent Safety Tip: Protecting Your Child from Identity Theft

Believe it or not, identity thieves often prey on children's identities to commit financial fraud. According to the Federal Trade Commission, 5 percent of all identity theft complaints received involve people younger than 18 years old.

The Cole Academy does not retain children's social security numbers for permanent files; however your child's information may be on file in other locations including doctors offices or other schools or agencies, or to relatives, acquaintances and household employees . We want to share these tips on monitoring your children's identity just as you would monitor your own credit.

Here is a recent WTHR News report with more details:

"With thousands of cases of childhood identity theft each year, major credit bureaus say parents shouldn't make assumptions when it comes to their kids' credit. And monitoring your child's credit is free.

'We can let the parent know if indeed there is a credit file opened in that child's name,' explained Steve Ely, president of consumer services for the Equifax credit bureau. 'If you were to discover that your 9-year-old has a credit file open… that's a pretty big red flag that there's something wrong there and you need to look into that.'

Equifax, TransUnion and Experian all allow parents to request what's called a Minor Child Credit File Check. While the check-up is free, the credit bureaus do require parents to submit copied documentation such as a drivers license, social security card and/or birth certificate to verify identities before they will release credit file information.

If you request a file check for your kids, you'll then be notified with one of two responses: either your child has no credit file (that's good) or a credit file linked to your child's social security number already exists. If your child has a credit file, you will also be told what steps are needed to protect your child's credit and identity, and how to remove any fraudulent activity from your child's credit file.

A common red flag that something is amiss is unexpected mail such as collection letters or letters regarding financial accounts. Watch for credit reports in your child's name even though the child has never applied for credit. If you have any reason to be suspicious, check it out.

Credit Bureau Information Options and Instructions for Minor Child Credit Check:

TRANSUNION 800-916-8800 - View Website
EXPERIAN 888-397-3742 - View Website

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