Protecting children from identity theft

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News | by — September 25, 2013

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Recently, The Oregonian ran an article regarding identity theft of minors.  The article cited an alarming study which found that 1 in 40 households with children under 18 have been victims of child identity theft. (Javelin Strategy and Research; 2012) Identity thieves use a child’s clean credit record to receive public benefits, obtain credit or work under a stolen social security number. The result is that your child may come of age with a mess of a credit report, unable to qualify for certain educational loans, rent an apartment or begin to build credit from an unblemished slate.

You are probably aware that you can put a freeze on your own credit report if you suspect you have been or may become an ID theft victim. The freeze prevents extensions of new credit unless you have been contacted and your identity confirmed as the individual who requested the credit. Now, you can do the same for your minor children. First, you must determine whether a credit report exists for your child. If one doesn’t, you’ll need to request that a report be created. Each credit reporting agency has specific information and proof of identity required for this process. Once a report is established, you can request a freeze for $10 per credit report that will last until the child turns 18. With over 34,000 incidences of child ID theft reported to the FTC between 2005 and 2007 alone, this seems a small price to pay for peace of mind.

The full text of the Oregonian’s article, along with links to many other resources on the subject can be found here and here. Also, consider visiting the FTC’s website for more information regarding childhood ID theft, and credit freezes.

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