Warning Signs To Look For
As I already noted, this type of crime often goes undetected for a year or more because parents dont have occasion to check their childrens . But here are some warning signs the FTC says you should look for:
- Your child is turned down for government benefits because his or her Social Security number is already receiving those benefits.
- You get an IRS notice saying your child didnt pay income taxes or that your childs Social Security number was used on another return.
- You get collections calls or bills for a product or service you never used.
These are the reasons the FTC lists, but if you have another reason to think your childs ID has been compromised, you might also take the following steps. This might include a family member explicitly asking for your childs identity information in a way that makes you suspicious. Or it could include receiving notice from your insurance company, doctors office, or other entity that identities they have on file may have been compromised.
How Can I Place A Freeze On My Childs Credit Records
As a parent or legal guardian of a child under the age of 16, you can place a freeze by con-tacting the three nationwide credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. You must provide the credit bureaus with certain informa¬tion and documents. See the instructions for each credit bureau at the end of this sheet.
Important Resources For Identity Theft Victims:
Did you know that it is illegal for collection agencies to harass you once you have notified them that the debt is due to Identity Theft? Here are some steps to take if you find yourself in this situation:
- Contact the fraud department of any one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your file.
- Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Use the ID Theft Affidavit when disputing new unauthorized accounts.
- File a police report where you live.
- Get a copy of the report or report number.
- Contact any of the other agencies specific to your particular type of Identity Theft.
- File your complaint with FTC.
- Follow up in writing. Attach a police report/number along with any other documentation you may have. Send Certified Mail – Return Receipt Requested.
- Document everything!
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Alternate Title: Is Your Child A Victim Of Identity Theft
Each year, over 1 million children become victims of identity theft. The nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center fears the number of victims will continue to rise in coming years due to the significant increase of children utilizing computers and smart devices at early ages.
Hackers and cybercriminals actually prefer targeting children for identity theft because the crime often goes unnoticed for a very long time. Adults may realize this only when unusual activity appears on their credit report or credit card bills, or they have issues obtaining a loan or getting unemployment. But children normally dont have credit histories or bank accounts. This enables identity theft to go undetected for many years.
During this time, identity thieves can use your childs identity for many nefarious purposes, such as opening credit card accounts, taking out loans, applying for unemployment and Social Security benefits, and many other fraudulent activities. Thats why its imperative that you take the necessary steps to protect your child from identity theft.
Educate Your Children About Social Media And The Internet
Children love to share all sorts of information about themselves on social media platforms. They also often keep their profiles public and dont know enough to properly utilize the privacy settings. You will need to educate your children about the importance of keeping their profiles private, as well as what information shouldnt be shared on social media or with anyone.
Children also need to be taught at a young age about the dangers of the internet. They should avoid clicking on links and downloading files from unknown and unsecured websites can lead to a malware infection. This can then be used by hackers to spy on everything you or your child does on the computer or smart device.
Note: When your child is old enough to begin using a smartphone, they must also be taught to be wary of answering calls from numbers they dont know. Many scammers use tools to make it appear as though they are calling from a trusted institution and can be quite clever in impersonating an official of some type. Regularly monitor your childs phone and email for any suspicious correspondence and inform them of possible scams and how to spot them.
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What About Repairing The Credit
If your childs credit has already been abused, you may need to spend time cleaning up the problems. First, youll need to place a fraud alert on your childs credit report. Then, youll need to file a report with the FTC and your local police department.
Next, youll need to contact businesses where accounts were opened in your childs name. These businesses should work with you to remedy the accounts and remove them from your childs credit report.
Its important to make sure you work through these steps sooner rather than later. While youre at it, be sure to record any phone calls that you have, and to send information in writing as well. Keep copies of the letters and the dates that you made calls or sent letters. That way you can reference what youve done so far if you have trouble getting businesses to close these accounts.
How Do I See If Someone Is Using My Social Security Number
Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing whether someone has your Social Security number until they use it. Some companies offer dark web monitoring, which tracks your information across areas of the internet typically reserved for criminal activities. Your information often ends up on the dark web if you are the victim of a data breach.
However, even if your information appears on a dark web scan, there’s no way to guarantee that someone has your SSN specifically or that they are using it.
To check to see if someone is using your SSN, consider checking your credit report. You can do this online through AnnualCreditReport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports. You can also use the Annual Credit Report phone number to request your credit report.
Once you have your credit report, review it to see if anything is out of the ordinary. Carefully confirm your accounts and open lines of credit to make sure all of the information in these sections is legitimate. If not, someone may be fraudulently using your information.
Lastly, you may also want to view your Social Security Statement. This document will show whether someone has begun withdrawing against your Social Security account earnings, which is another tell-tale indicator that someone is using your SSN.
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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.
Is It Safe To Give Your Social Security Number Over The Phone
You should never provide your SSN to someone you don’t 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, don’t give your SSN to anyone unless you are absolutely certain they have a reason and a right to have it.
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Stop Junk Mail Spam Email And Unsolicited Phone Calls
Tear off the label, write your request to be removed on the label:
Fax it to the company.
Enclose the label in the postage-paid ordering envelope. Mark envelope “ATTN: customer service”.
You could pave the nation with the free discs these people send out. Call 1-800-605-4297, 24 hours a day, to get off the list. Tell them your first name is “current”, last name “resident” only.
- Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes You can get the Clearinghouse to stop clogging your mailbox by contacting customer service at 1-800-645-9242 , sending a fax to 1-800-453-0272, mailing to 101 Channel Drive, Port Washington, NY 11050, or you can send email to email@example.com. PCH will remove any number of names from a specific address, but you have to list each name exactly and insist nicely.
- American Family Sweepstakes Ed McMahon and Dick Clark will stop telling you “You have definitely won 11 million dollars ” if you call them at 1-800-237-2400. AFP is a division of Time-Warner.
- Local Business & Supermarket Fliers All mailings must be identified, by postal regulations. Each loose-leaf bundle of fliers, by postal regulations, must be delivered at the same time as an address card.
What Happens When A Child Gets Older If Theyve Been A Victim Of Identity Theft By A Parent
A parent may be able to conceal identity theft of a child for a while, but probably not forever. Years later, the childnow a young adultmight apply for a student loan or a first job and discover something ominous: a damaged credit report.
Victims of child identity theft faces obstacles as young adults. They may be blocked from financial options such as opening a checking account or obtaining a credit card. And they may face the added challenge of reclaiming their identities and setting their financial records straight.
But it doesnt stop there. A son or daughter is likely to pay an emotional cost. The child might feel betrayed, violated, guilty and isolated.
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What Can I Do If My Child Is An Identity Theft Victim
The credit reporting agencies do not knowingly maintain credit files on minor children. If you suspect that your child’s information has been used fraudulently, you should notify the three major credit bureaus. You may be able to do this by calling the bureaus at the toll-free numbers below. Follow the cues for “fraud” on the automated phone systems.
Give the child’s name, Social Security number, and other requested information. The phone systems will probably give you a response of “no file found” or “information does not match.” This is good news. You should follow up by writing to the credit bureaus. Report the suspected identity theft and ask them to confirm in writing that they have no file on your child. Sample letters are at the back of this Information Sheet.
If there is a file in your child’s name, you will be told that a fraud alert is placed on the file. You will also be sent instructions on how to get a copy of the child’s credit report from each of the credit bureaus. There will be no charge for these copies.
What should I do when I receive a credit report on my child?
If any of the credit bureaus sends you a report, call the credit bureau at the number on the report. Explain that the report is associated with a minor who does not have a credit history. The credit bureau will help you begin the process of clearing your child’s credit records See Identity Theft Victim Checklist for more information.
Alternatives To The Online Tool
If you want an IP PIN but cant successfully validate your identity through the Get an IP PIN tool, there are alternatives. Please note using an alternative method to the online tool takes longer for an IP PIN to be assigned to you.
If youre unable to verify your identity online or with the Form 15227 process or you are ineligible to file Form 15227, you may make an appointment for an in-person meeting at a local Taxpayer Assistance Center. Please bring one current government-issued picture identification document and another identification document to prove your identity. Once we verify your identity, you will receive your IP PIN via the U.S. Postal Service usually within three weeks. You will then receive your IP PIN annually through the mail.
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Can I Block Someone From Using My Child’s Social Security Number
I have someone who has filed my child and continues to do such thing as filing my child how can I stop this
I have someone who has filed my child and continues to do such thing as filing my child how can I stop this
You can get an Identity Protection PIN from the IRS for the dependent. Then when you file your tax return you will enter the IP PIN on your return when claiming the dependent. The other party will have there tax return rejected if trying to claim the child as a dependent without providing the IP PIN on their return.
Go to this IRS website for an IP PIN –
Secure Your Childs Mobile Device
Your childâs smartphone, tablet, or laptop can open the floodgates for identity theft.
Enable Face ID and/or an access password in order to unlock your childâs device. This is the default on most smartphones today but if your childâs device isnât password-protected, go update that mobile device setting immediately. Hereâs how to do it for iOS, and for Android.
Consider going the extra mile and encrypting your child’s data. This means that even if a thief can access whatâs on the deviceâs memory, the information will be meaningless without the password.
If you decide to sell an old smartphone, tablet, or computer â be sure to wipe the memory clean and restore everything to factory default settings.
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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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Signs Of Child Identity Theft
There are a few telltale signs that your child may be a victim of identity theft, including:
- Your child receives calls from collection agencies.
- Your child receives bills or pre-approved credit card offers.
- Your child is denied government benefits because someone else is using his/her Social Security number.
- The IRS sends your child a delinquent tax notice.
- A bank or credit card company denies your child an account.
- The DMV denies your child a drivers license.
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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.
How To Use Self Lock
To access Self Lock, you must be logged in to your myE-Verify account.
To lock your SSN, you must enter your SSN and date of birth. myE-Verify does not store your SSN when you create your account, so you must provide your SSN to lock it.
In addition, you must select and answer three challenge questions. Select questions you can easily answer, because you will need to answer them again to verify your identity if you receive an E-Verify Tentative Nonconfirmation due to Self Lock.
If you are about to start a new job with an E-Verify employer, you should log into your account and unlock your SSN.
Subscribe to the myE-Verify website to receive email updates. Follow on Twitter . Got questions on myE-Verify? Contact us
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