How Does A Childs Identity Get Compromised
A childs identity can be compromised in the same way as an adults. A data breach is one way information can be exposed at a school, medical office, or other entity with whom youve shared your childs personal information.
When that happens, the information can end up in the hands of criminals who can use it to steal identities. If the breached data includes Social Security numbers, the situation goes from bad to worse. You cant easily replace a Social Security number, and that number is integral to ones ability to obtain credit including an identity thiefs ability to obtain credit in someone elses name.
Check Employer Verifications At My E
You can also check for the names of employers who have verified your eligibility to work in the U.S. if they went through the Department of Homeland Security E-Verify system. To do that, go to the myE-Verify webpage. If you see an employer whose name you do not recognize, someone else may be using your number to work in the U.S. The site also has a self-lock feature that lets you place a lock on your SSN.
How To Keep Other People From Knowing Your Social Security Number
When the Social Security number was first devised, skeptics warned it would become a national identification number, used by non-governmental organizations to keep track of people.
That hasn’t completely happened, but many businesses and organizations do ask for Social Security numbers when they shouldn’t. Such practices make it harder for individuals to be sure their SSNs don’t get into the wrong hands.
The fact that companies regularly ask for SSNs is a “real challenge for individuals,” said Suzanne Barber, director of the Center for Identity at the University of Texas at Austin.
As a general rule, if the Internal Revenue Service isn’t involved, you can refuse to provide your Social Security number. But while government agencies still have to provide services if you don’t hand over your SSN, private businesses don’t have to.
That means consumers can be strong-armed into disclosing their SSNs, said Bryan Hjelm, vice-president of product and marketing at CSID, an identity-theft-protection provider in Austin, Texas.
In such situations, Barber said, it might be best to ask the business why a Social Security number is necessary.
“Ask them, ‘What other data could help you feel confident about my identity without giving my SSN?'” Barber said. “If you want to get tough, ask, ‘Are you willing to ensure that you will cover liability and even my losses in time and money if the SSN you collect is compromised?'”
Report And Close The Fraudulent Accounts
Contact the companies where fraud happened. Tell each companys fraud department that someone opened an account using your childs information, and ask them to close the account. Ask for written confirmation that says that your child isnt responsible for the account.
Contact the three credit bureaus. Tell each credit bureau that someone opened an account using your childs information. Ask them to remove any fraudulent accounts from your childs credit report.
Monitor Your Child’s Personal Information
If your child starts receiving credit offers in the mail, or if you see unexpected activity on their email, phone or bank accounts, their personal information may have been compromised. When you first give your children their own phones, advise them that caller ID can’t always be trusted, and calls that appear to be from banks or other trusted institutions may be scams.
Although a phone number may seem innocuous, identity thieves can use your child’s phone number to get access to accounts. Many companies use a phone number for identity verification, and caller ID spoofing allows identity thieves to make your child’s phone number appear when they call one of these companies. They also use automated callers , and some may even impersonate institutions and call your child directly.
Mail The Request And Document Copies
You will send each form or letter, along with one set of documents, to each credit bureau. Equifax and Experian list their mailing addresses on their freeze request forms. TransUnions address is P.O. Box 380, Woodlyn, PA 19094.
Either regular or certified mail is acceptable. Because you are mailing sensitive personal information, NerdWallet suggests using certified mail.
Contact The Internal Revenue Service
You may also want to contact the Internal Revenue Service if you suspect an identity thief has filed a tax return in your name to get a refund. The IRS should also be on your list of contacts if you suspect someone is using your number for work purposes. Otherwise, the IRS could think you failed to report income when you file your own tax return. Use the IRS Identity Theft Central website or call 800-908-4490.
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S A Parent Can Take To Help Protect Their Childs Identity
If youre a parent of the child, you can check to see if the child has a credit file at the three major credit reporting agencies. It a credit file exists, here are some additional steps to take.
- Contact each of the three major credit reporting companiesExperian, Equifax and TransUnion.
- Request a manual search of your childs file. This involves searching for a file with your childs name and Social Security number, and one using just the Social Security number.
- Keep records. Note the dates you made phone calls or mailed letters to the agencies. Keep copies of any letters you send and receive.
- Contact businesses where your childs information was misused. Ask them to close the fraudulent accounts and note the presence of identity theft.
- Contact one credit bureau to place a fraud alert on your childs credit report. That bureau will contact the other two.
- Consider placing a credit freeze on your childs credit reports.
- Order your childs credit reportsand review them.
- File a fraud report with the FTC online or by phone877-438-4338.
- Create an Identity Theft Report at identitytheft.gov.
Keep in mind that some services can monitor your childs credit file for a fee. Such services can help protect against many types of child identity theftnot just those committed by a parent.
If you want to learn more about child identity theft, not only by parents, you can read additional tips to help protect your childs identity.
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How To Put A Credit Freeze In Place For A Child With All Three Credit Bureaus
Each of the three credit bureaus has slightly different requirements for freezing your childs credit, but the general process is the same and applies to kids under the age of 16. In order to be totally effective, you must put credit freezes in place with all three major credit bureaus. Heres how to do it.
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Pay Attention To Privacy Policies
Practically all organizations that gather data on kids have privacy policies that detail how the child’s private information will be used and protected. Reading these policies can help you identify potential risks to your child’s information. If in doubt, never hesitate to ask questions, and don’t disclose your child’s information if you’re not comfortable with what you see in the policy.
Ask Why They Want It And How It Will Be Handled
If the business insists, ask questions. You have a right to know why its necessary to provide your SSN and how it will be handled. Ask questions such as:
- Why is having my SSN necessary?
- With whom will you share my number if I provide it?
- How will my number be stored?
- Will you cover my liability or losses if my number is stolen or compromised?
Unfortunately, if you are asked to provide your SSN to a business or an institution that doesnt need it, and you say no, it can refuse to provide services to you or put conditions on the servicesuch as requiring a deposit or additional fees.
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Dont Give It Out To Strangers
You should never provide your SSN to someone you dont know who calls you on the phone and requests it. This same warning applies to unsolicited emails and any forms you fill out on the internet. In general, dont give your SSN to anyone unless you are absolutely certain they have a reason and a right to have it.
Proof Of Us Citizenship
a. Original U.S. birth certificate, or b. Original U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or c. Original U.S. Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate, or d. Original U.S. Passport.
a. Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed, or b. Original Foreign Passport, must be current and signed.
NOTE: If the name at birth and name on the identity document are different, proof of name change must also be submitted.
4. Proof of the identity of the parent signing the application
If applicable a parent can sign the form for a child up to age 18 a child can sign the form above age 12.
a. Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed, orb. Original Foreign Passport, must be current and signed.
33 Nine Elms LaneLondon SW11 7US
We will copy and return original documents within 3-4 days. We do not recommend mailing important personal documents from outside the UK. If you choose to mail your application you should use a service that allows you to track your package. Within the UK, we recommend Special Delivery mail outside the UK we recommend you use a Courier. You should include a pre-paid return envelope or courier package. The Federal Benefits Unit will return documents by regular mail if you do not provide a pre-paid envelope or courier package. Processing time for SSN applications is approximately 8-10 weeks.
Suitable proof of identity documents are:
If you are not a U.S. citizen or legal Permanent Resident Alien, see item 5. below for instructions.
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Whats The Worst That Could Happen
Even though child identity theft can be resolved, doing so can be both time consuming and frustrating. Victims or their parents can spend hours, days, or even longer to restore a childs good name.
The restoration process can involve calling or writing lenders, financial institutions, and other entities to close fraudulent accounts and wipe out fraudulent debt. To clear credit histories and clean up a credit report, victims may also have to work with the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
In cases of criminal identity theft, in which perpetrators fraudulently present themselves to law enforcement officers as someone else, authorities can arrest identity theft victims for crimes they didnt commit. Criminal ID theft can require victims to work with police departments and the court system, as well as to hire lawyers and other experts to assist.
On top of all this, a child may learn about the identity theft at a most inconvenient time when applying for a job, renting a first apartment, or taking out a school loan. The situation may put forward progress on hold until the issue can be resolved, possibly delaying employment, housing, or higher education.
What If Someone Steals My Social Security Number
All of this is of course very interesting, but lets bring it back to the point of this article: what if some bad guy steals, obtains, guesses at, or otherwise gets hold of your Social Security Number? As it happens, all kinds of bad things!
Because you have to have a Social Security Number to get a job in the United States , crooks are very fond of stealing SSNs specifically for the purpose of selling them to people who do not already have permission to work in the United States, so that those people can get a job.
Nothing is wrong with people getting jobs, of course, but if they are using your Social Security Number, it can cause untold confusion and issues with your taxes and your Social Security benefits. You could even LOSE your Social Security benefits and that can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As you can see, it is very important for you to be able to tell whether someone is using your Social Security Number without your permission. In this article, I will show you several methods of detecting whether your Social Security Number has been compromised.
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A Special Type Of Security Freeze Can Protect The Credit Of Children And Some Adults
North Carolina parents have an additional tool to help them protect their children from becoming victims of identity theft. Parents of children under the age of 16 can set up Childrens security freezes. Gaurdians, or those who have written legal authority to protect incapacitated adults, can also get security freezes for those protected consumers.Having a security freeze in place for children and other protected consumers prevents anyone from taking out credit in the childs or protected consumers name. One of the most damaging forms of identity theft happens when criminals open a new account in someone elses name, so having a security freeze is an important tool to help keep a child or protected consumers name and Social Security number from being used to open lines of credit.
To set up a Protected Consumer security freeze, you will be asked to provide proof of identification for the protected consumer and for the parent guardian, including:
- Social Security Number or Social Security card
- Certified or official copy of a birth certificate or
- A copy of a drivers license or other government-issued identification.
You will also be asked to provide proof of authority to act on behalf of the child or protected consumer.
How To Protect Your Child
Buxton advises that parents take simple steps when children are young to help avoid child identity theft. Its my duty to ensure that my son has every available advantage and safeguard. Since he does not need to open credit accounts anytime soon, I placed a security freeze on his credit profile to protect his identity, said Buxton. The next step is shedding his identity as boy who constantly puts his feet in his mouth.
As a parent, you can be proactive in protecting your child from identity theft:
- Never carry your childs Social Security card in your wallet or purse. Keep it in a safe place, where it is not at risk of being stolen.
- Pay attention to forms from schools, doctors and others asking for personally identifiable information about your child. Opt out if you can or use only the last four digits of a Social Security number.
- Before discarding, shred all documents that show your childs personally identifiable information, just as you do for your own documents.
- Most importantly: Request a credit report for your child annually, using the childs Social Security number for reference. You can request one free copy of their credit report once every 12 months at www.annualcreditreport.com. If there is no credit history on record, then typically the child has not fallen prey to identity thieves. If there is a credit history for a minor child, he/she has mostly likely become a victim.
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Can I Put A Block Or A Pin Number On My Son’s Social Security Number To Prevent His Dad From Claiming Him On His Taxes He Doesn’t Support Him Anymore
My son’s father has been claiming my son for the past nine years now. But for the past year and a half almost two years now he has stopped providing for our son. My son is now ten years old. He was allowed to claim him as long as he provided for his son financially and consistently. However, this has stopped unfortunately. He told me that he will continue to claim him whether he is providing for him or not because he has been claiming him on his taxes for years now. Also since i am the only parent that is now supporting him by myself I wanted to claim my son for the very first time this year.
Consider An Identity Protection Service
You can register with an identity protection service such as LifeLock, IdentityForce, or Identity Guard. Such companies charge fees that typically start around $10 a month. Banks and credit unions also have packages they sell to customers, as do major agencies such as Experian and TransUnion. Many of the best credit monitoring services also offer identity protection tools and services.
How Can I Protect My Child Against Identity Theft
Try to limit the use of your child’s Social Security number . When your child’s SSN is requested, ask questions. Is there an alternative form of identification? How will the information be protected? Who will have access to it? How will it be disposed of when it’s no longer needed?
Educate your children. Teach them not to give out personal information over the telephone, the Internet, or to anyone without your permission.
Use Your Own Personal Information Instead Of Your Child’s
It’s easy to share kids’ personal information without thinking about itand kids often are eager to do soenrolling in a restaurant’s birthday club to get free dessert, for example. And even if retailers don’t abuse your child’s information, none are immune to data theft that can expose kids’ personal info. To protect your child’s personal information, attach their accounts to your email or phone number, rather than the child’s, to help you pick up on any suspicious activity.
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