Is your child a victim of identity theft? We’re serious.

The following post comes from the Military Saves Blog.  Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

by Carol Kando-Pineda, Attorney, Federal Trade Commission

Right about now is the time when many of us are searching for scholarships and financial aid for our college-bound kids. Or maybe Junior is interviewing for his first job — or Muffy is buying her first car. In the middle of the paperwork, you might get a nasty surprise: your child’s credit report shows unpaid bills and a loan default.

What? My child’s credit report? Children and young teens aren’t even legally able to open credit accounts on their own; you wouldn’t expect them to have a credit report. So what happened? Most likely, it’s identity theft.

A child's Social Security number can be used by identity thieves to apply for government benefits and tax refunds, open bank and credit card accounts, apply for a loan or utility service, or rent a place to live. The best way to know if your child’s information is being misused is to check for a credit report. Even if you don’t suspect identity theft, it’s a good idea to see if there is a credit file on your child. Do a check at their 16th birthday. And if needed, take action immediately. That way, if it has errors due to fraud or misuse — you’ll have time to correct it before Junior applies for a job, a loan for tuition or a car, or needs to rent an apartment.

1.     Contact each of the 3 nationwide credit reporting companies.

    • Equifax 1-800-525-6285
    • Experian 1-888-397-3742
    • Transunion This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2.     Ask for a manual search of the child’s file. The companies will check for files relating to the child’s name and Social Security number, and for files related only to the child’s Social Security number.

The credit reporting companies may require copies of:

  • the child’s birth certificate listing parents
  • the child’s Social Security card
  • the parent or guardian’s government-issued identification card, like a driver’s license or military identification, or copies of documents proving the adult is the child’s legal guardian
  • proof of address, like a utility bill, or credit card or insurance statement

Remember to keep copies of any letters you send, and record the dates and details of any calls. If your child’s information was misused, call each credit reporting company to ask them to remove all accounts, account inquiries, and collection notices from any file associated with your child’s name and Social Security number. Send a letter confirming that request. Explain that the child is a minor and include a copy of the Uniform Minor’s Status Declaration [PDF]. Ask each company to put a fraud alert on your child’s credit report. Contact one company; that company will contact the other two.

You’ll also want to contact every business where your child’s information was misused. Ask each business to close the fraudulent account and flag it to show it resulted from identity theft. File a report with the FTC online or call 877-438-4338. Your complaint can be used as an Affidavit to create an Identity Theft Report that gives your child some important rights when clearing up identity theft. Learn more about recovering from and protecting against child Identity Theft.

Take the Pledge

I pledge to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time. I will encourage my family and friends to do the same

Take the America Saves Pledge

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Katie Bryan | November 25, 2013

    Tip to #save when shopping: You can #save more than 10% by comparing prices at different stores.

Saver Stories View all »

Saving Early: Key to Successful Future

Written by Katie Bryan | October 28, 2013

For Johnnie Lovett, a Young Illinois Saver, saving has been a habit since he was a teenager. “As a teenager, I was responsible for buying certain things with my allowance,”

Read more...

Another Dream Realized

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | November 7, 2014

Mary Brown was already a disciplined individual when she came to Wisconsin Saves coordinator Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) in last summer. She had successfully completed her bachelor’s degree with the assistance of her husband and son, and was now ready to tackle her next big dream – homeownership.

Read more...

Taking Steps Toward Financial Fitness

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | November 7, 2014

Nicky Vasquez learned about Virginia Saves when she attended her first class with Bank On Virginia Beach. The instructor shared how important it was to have a written savings goal, and the entire class joined Virginia Saves as the first step toward financial fitness.

Read more...

Receive Updates

Sign up for Texts

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | July 15, 2014

Sign Up

Sign up for Emails

Written by Super User | September 16, 2013

Get Emails

Take the Pledge

Written by Super User | September 16, 2013

Start Saving