You are probably aware of the risks of someone stealing your Social Security number, etc. and stealing your identity to commit fraud. But what about your children (or grandchildren)? Are they potential victims of identity theft?
If your young children or grandchildren have Social Security numbers, they, too, are indeed at risk for identity theft. And since thieves are aware that a newborn baby’s or a young child’s credit report is seldom if ever checked, those pieces of information are much more valuable than those of an adult.
Once a child’s ID has been compromised and sold, cleaning it up can be extremely difficult and can take years. One individual I read about actually had to change her child’s name in order to get a new Social Security number issued and get out from under the problem.
What to do? On September 21, a new federal banking law has gone into effect which will make it easier for families to make inquiries about credit files in their child’s name. Experts recommend checking the credit bureaus to make sure there is no reported credit file. Some also suggest that you create a credit file for the child and then freeze it, eliminating the possibility of someone else taking it over. The new law also eliminates fees for freezing and un-freezing credit files.
Finally, if you have not frozen your own credit file with the three bureaus, you should consider doing so. You will be issued a PIN which is needed to un-freeze it. If you need to apply for credit after freezing your file, you can get a different one-time PIN from the bureau to give to the company you authorize to check your credit. The freeze will stay in place after that one use takes place.
More specifics on the new law can be found at the Federal Trade Commission website.
My Accountant, Inc.