As I was getting ready for work this morning an interesting news clip on the television caught my attention. The news report spoke about the increased number of reports coming in from the IRS about children’s identity theft (especially in babies). The report also shared that parents usually don’t know of any problems until tax season…when the IRS return is rejected!
Whether its tax season or not it’s our job as parent to KNOW what is the best ways to protect our child’s identity.
How to prevent identify theft of your child?
- Do not share your child’s social security number with anyone! I know many times family members want to contribute to college savings plans like 529’s or pre-paid state college plans. If you’re going to release this information to family members, make sure it’s kept very safe.
- When you get your child’s social security card in the mail, keep it somewhere safe
- Watch your back…if you’re on your cell phone with a financial institution be very careful who is around
- Read every piece of your mail. If you start to receive mail with your child’s name on it from collection agencies or for bills or phone calls for your child. These are a few red flags.
To prevent identity theft; it’s recommended to check your child’s credit every few years. Unfortunately, if your child is under the age of 13 you CAN NOT get this information online. You have to request this information in writing via certified mail with a return request receipt. Your letter needs to include identification of yourself to prove you are the parent/legal guardian of the child you’re requesting the information. A copy of driver’s license is sufficient. For your own person records keep track of the date you requested and sent the certified letter. You have to contact each credit bureau-Experian, Equifax and TransUnion individually.
What to expect in return? Hopefully…NOTHING!!! The credit bureaus usually do not have information on children less than 13 years of age. This is exactly what you want to hear; that they don’t have record of your child on file.
Requesting Information from Credit Bureau:
Experian, visit their website and fill out form to request documentation.
Send request to:
PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion has a form online to fill out for request
Equifax no form necessary.
Equifax Minor Child Department
P.O. Box 105139
Atlanta, Georgia 30348