The Best Preventative Measures are in Your Hands
Have you or anyone in your social circle:
- Received a notice from the IRS in your child’s name, stating there are taxes payable?
- Answered a call from a debt collection company asking for your child by name, and demanding payment for unpaid credit card bills?
- Got a summons for jury duty addressing your young one, instead of an adult in the family?
You may think that the collection agency or IRS had some sort of faulty databases, or the summons may have been a bureaucratic mix-up. However, before you dismiss the call, or toss away the mail, think again! Is it possible that your little one has become a victim of child identity theft?
Child identity theft is a rampant problem in the U.S., with over 1 million children targeted in 2017 alone. This has resulted in out-of-pocket costs of over $540 million to the affected families. In fact, fraudsters are 51 times more likely to steal a child’s Social Security Number (SSN), which means identity theft is no longer an adult-only problem. Whether it is for purchasing automobiles and homes, applying for loans or credit cards, getting home utilities or driving licenses, or receiving other government benefits, your child’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII) has many benefits for fraudsters. Since the SSN is not active and your little one does not have a credit history, imposters can continue to ‘borrow’ your child’s identity for several years, for unlawful gains.
At TITAN Mobile Shredding, we understand how devastating it can be to have your child’s identity stolen. Not only is your young one’s future at stake, but your entire life savings may be wiped out in clearing the debts that stack up by the time you realize there is a serious problem on hand.
Read on to know how certain precautionary measures could help address this issue.
Key Steps to Prevent Child Identity Theft
Child identity theft is not easy to detect. Very often, the problem may come to light only when your children start applying for loans, credit cards, or a driver’s license. Hence, it’s important to take as many precautions as you can, to protect your child’s future, as well as your own finances and peace of mind.
Safeguarding your child’s identity is a matter of being alert and smart about sharing your child’s PII. What details you give out, to who and when, is critical.
- Do not enter your child’s PII, especially the SSN on any forms, unless absolutely necessary. When registering for an extra-curricular activity or enrolling for a school sports team, do not part with any more information than what is required for that purpose. In fact, don’t hesitate to leave out sensitive credentials, or at least, make it a point to ask why they need it.
- Ensure that there is no credit report in the name of your child. Establish a credit freeze on your children’s accounts in order to prevent new accounts from being opened in their name.
- Proactively monitor your children’s bank accounts and finances. Periodically review the statements and set up account activity alerts, wherever possible.
- Take any breach notifications and other correspondence seriously. Don’t dismiss mail that has come in your child’s name. Instead, question the source about how they got that information and dig deep to ensure that this is not a case of identity theft.
- Sensitize your little ones about protecting their identity, train them in good online hygiene, and monitor their online activities closely. In the digital world that we live, children could unknowingly part with personal information while playing games, surfing the web, entering contests and more.
- Ensure secure storage and handling of physical records, such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, and other documents that contain your child’s confidential, personal information. Very often, the perpetrators of child identity theft could be someone very close to you, including nannies, friends or relatives.
- Be alert while making copies of sensitive documents, including bank statements, medical records and more. Ensure that you shred any physical or digital records that are no longer relevant. Avoid disposing of paper documents in the garbage.
Looking for safe and reliable paper and digital media shredding services? Speak to the data destruction professionals at a trusted NAID AAA Certified company, such as TITAN Mobile Shredding. Call (866) 848-2699 or contact us online.