Is your child a victim of identity theft? We’re serious.

Right about now is the time when many of us are searching for scholarships and financial aid for our college-bound kids. Or maybe Junior is interviewing for his first job – or Muffy is buying her first car. In the middle of the paperwork, you might get a nasty surprise: your child’s credit report shows unpaid bills and a loan default. What? My child’s credit report? Children and young teens aren’t even legally able to open credit accounts on their own; you wouldn’t expect them to have a credit report. So what happened? Most likely, it’s identity theft.

A child's Social Security number can be used by identity thieves to apply for government benefits and tax refunds, open bank and credit card accounts, apply for a loan or utility service, or rent a place to live. The best way to know if your child’s information is being misused is to check for a credit report. Even if you don’t suspect identity theft, it’s a good idea to see if there is a credit file on your child. Do a check at their 16th birthday. And if needed, take action immediately. That way, if it has errors due to fraud or misuse — you’ll have time to correct it before Junior applies for a job, a loan for tuition or a car, or needs to rent an apartment.

  1. Contact each of the 3 nationwide credit reporting companies.
  2. Ask for a manual search of the child’s file.The companies will check for files relating to the child’s name and Social Security number, and for files related only to the child’s Social Security number.The credit reporting companies may require copies of:
    • the child’s birth certificate listing parents
    • the child’s Social Security card
    • the parent or guardian’s government-issued identification card, like a driver’s license, or copies of documents proving the adult is the child’s legal guardian
    • proof of address, like a utility bill, or credit card or insurance statement

Remember to keep copies of any letters you send, and record the dates and details of any calls.

If your child’s information was misused, call each credit reporting company to ask them to remove all accounts, account inquiries, and collection notices from any file associated with your child’s name and Social Security number. Send a letter confirming that request. Explain that the child is a minor and include a copy of the Uniform Minor’s Status Declaration [PDF].Ask each company to put a fraud alert on your child’s credit report. Contact one company; that company will contact the other two.

You’ll also want to contact every business where your child’s information was misused. Ask each business to close the fraudulent account and flag it to show it resulted from identity theft. File a report with the FTC online or call 877-438-4338. Your complaint can be used as an Affidavit to create an Identity Theft Report that gives your child some important rights when clearing up identity theft.

Learn more about recovering from and protecting against child Identity Theft.

*This post was edited on June 5, 2014 to delete military identification cards from the list of items you can use to verify your identity to a credit reporting company. It is illegal to copy a military identification card. 

Blog Topic: 
Identity Theft

Comments

Instead of putting the burden of proof to the parents or the unsuspected child, if legally there is no credit granted prior to eighteen birthday, why not make it easier for the bearer to remove each and all credit information from the individuals credit report, it is a duty to the credit grantor to verify all applicable conditions before issuing credit to any person, so why not elaborate a law that permissibly allows a first time eighteen year old to have all negative credit information remove from his file.
Any individual at the time of 18 yrs of age is allowed to contract, lets say any time before that should not be a burden for the person, his parents, or legal guardian to proof, paper trail, stress, and pass on great opportunities just because he was victimized by I'd theft, how do we know if that individual has no parents, or are divorced and uncooperative to each other or surviving parents are not even capable of inquiring to credit reporting agencies for clarification or corrections on miss use or I'd theft.
Please ask our legislators to start thinking and do something to protect minors, is very difficult to be born with credit blemishes not belonging to you as an individual, and still having to proof that it is not you, credit bureaus are not the most friendly user companies there are, LETS MAKE LIFE EASIER FOR OUR LIVING YOUTH, any minor should be free of the burden of proof for credit or miss use of their identities, unless proven otherwise.
I'm running out of out of time to keep on writing.

My comments are pertaining to change of addresses when a tenant moved from one place to another or another city. Please Consumer Protection Department remind US citizens if they are moving please put in a change of address within two weeks of their moving. Identify theft is all around us. When USA Citizens do not change their addresses, the new tenants may not be "honest in putting their mail back in the box for assurance delivery", but they might use their new credit cards came through mail and other personal information that is of the important. We complain about identity theft, but are we doing the right thing to prevent these issues from attacking us. Everyone is not honest in putting mail back in the mailbox to be delivered, where others will use the information or new credit cards in the box for their own use. This is part of the problem of identity theft also. The US Postal Services has the information and booklet with the change of address cards in them and it only take a few moments to fill out and pass it back to the clerk. We must become responsible and accountable for our actions, deeds, & words. We have major responsibility today in staying safe from the attacks of the society we live.

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