One of my favorite columns in the Wall Street Journal “Fiscally Fit” had a very informative article a few days ago about how to protect your children from identity theft. I never considered identity theft until my credit card information was stolen a few years ago. We still don’t know how it happened, I think it might have been when I purchased an item via Amazon but from a third party vendor. But it happened and I am glad we were able to resolve it satisfactorily in our favor.
Then right around the same time my first son was born I read an article about identity theft in children. In this case the hospital where the child in case had been born had a very poor information security policy in place. In this day and age when so much hinges on how clean our credit is, it is terrifying to think that our children could get a start in life with a damaged record.
Terri Cullen’s tips for protecting your children include:
- Be diligent about who you give your children’s social security number to. Ask them why the number is needed and how they will protect that information. In many cases providing your children’s SSN may not be necessary at all. This could be the case for Dentist or Doctor’s visits. If your children are under your insurance plan, these offices need your SSN not the child’s.
- Consider it a red flag if you start receiving credit offers on your child’s name. If ever something like this exist contact the company issuing the offer and ask if your child has an account open with them. Ask that they remove him from their mailing address, you may have to write a letter to have this done.
- Finally, she suggests you confirm that your child doesn’t have a credit report by contacting the three credit bureaus directly. Here’s the information on how to go about doing that.
I know the alternative of having to contact the credit bureaus may seem daunting. But I think protecting our children’s future makes it worthwhile.
Source: Fiscally Fit by Terri Cullen “How to Stop Identity Thieves from targeting Your Children”