Identity theft protection of children's online data in this digital era is a crucial element and the most important responsibility for parents.
By securing their child's data and freezing their credit, parents can create strong barriers against child identity theft.
Parents and guardians may now freeze credit for children under 16. If there is no credit file, the credit bureaus will create one and then freeze it.
Credit bureaus don't knowingly create a credit file for minors.
👉According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (a non-profit org. that assists with ID theft recovery and prevention), they don't have a way to verify that a Social Security Number belongs to the person who uses it.
Thieves can even "create" a customer by using a child's Social Security Number to blend with another name, address, and birthdate. This is known as synthetic ID theft.
The crime may go unreported for years because parents don't have the means to verify that their child has a credit history.
💡 Identity theft protection of children's online data will stop criminals from using child's personal information to obtain credit. It will also prevent them from making a mess that the family must clean up.
Here are some simple steps to prevent child identity theft.
How to Freeze Your Child’s Credit
1. Collect All Necessary Documents
There are slightly different requirements for the three major credit agencies (Experian Equifax and TransUnion). To make it simple and efficient, send the same set to all three bureaus. Additional documentation will be ignored by each bureau.
These are the documents you will need to meet all requirements of each bureau. You should make three copies of each bureau; don't send originals.
- A government-issued ID (typically a driver's license).
- Your birth certificate.
- The birth certificate of your child or any other document that shows you are authorized to act for the child (foster care certificate, power of- attorney, or court order).
- Your Social Security card.
- Social Security card for your child.
- Utility bill, bank, or insurance statement containing your name and address.
Sort the copies into three piles, one per credit bureau.
2. Print the Child Freeze Request Forms
You will need to complete a separate form for each child if you are requesting freezes. The Equifax or Experian forms can be downloaded.
👉TransUnion does not have a form. However, you can get this letter and fill it out to request a "protected consumers freeze" for your child.
3. Send The Request And Copies of The Documents
Each letter or form will be sent to each credit bureau along with a set of documents.
Experian and Equifax list their mailing addresses in their freeze request forms. TransUnion's address can be found at P.O. Box 380, Woodlyn, PA 19094.
Regular mail or certified mail is acceptable. NerdWallet recommends using certified mail if you are sending sensitive personal information.
4. Wait For the Confirmation and Then Secure It
The mail will confirm that a freeze was placed. It will also include your child's PIN. This number is required to unfreeze your child's credit.
Keep it safe (preferably a fireproof safe). It is possible to also store the information electronically using a password manager service.
The freeze will continue to be in effect until your child removes it later to apply online for credit cards, student loans, or other credit.
Tips to Protect Your Child Against Identity Theft
While freezing your child's credit can prevent a criminal from opening credit in your name, it does not protect your child against identity theft.
👉It is possible to adopt habits that protect against identity theft in your child's life and teach them to do the same.
- You can protect your Social Security numbers by not filling out forms that request them until you are informed why they are needed and how you will be protected.
- Mail is important. Although credit preapproval letters in your child's name don't necessarily indicate identity theft they are worth looking into. A collection agency's correspondence addressed to your child can be a red flag.
- Keep all documents about your child safety and security. You should not keep birth certificates or Social Security cards in your wallet, purse, or car. You should keep all information containing that information safe in your home. This means that you should keep Social Security numbers paperwork safe and secure in your home.
- Keep track of information about health insurance claims. If you don't understand a claim, it could indicate that your child has used their personal information to gain access to health insurance benefits.
Velasquez states that parents and guardians need to be aware that the data of a child are not theirs.
Sometimes, foster parents or parents use children's unblemished records to connect utilities or set up mobile devices to keep in touch with their families.
That's all in this blog. Thanks for reading 🙂