Yes, your child needs identity theft protection
Just when a child establishes their own identity in the world, someone might try to claim it as their own.
According to estimates, more than 1 million children were victims of identity theft or fraud in 2017. Over 60% of these children were seven years of age or younger. Children are all too easy victims, as they will not normally realize that their identity has been stolen until they are 18 when they apply for a loan or credit card in their own name. This gives thieves plenty of time to wreak havoc.
In the captivating memory The fewest people know usAxton Betz-Hamilton tells his dark story of identity theft as a child, which ruined his credit as an adult and left him thousands of dollars in debt. Although Betz-Hamilton’s identity theft is an inside job, many children see their identities worn away by strangers.
So how do you protect your child from this dark circumstance?
Freeze their credit: Some states allow you to freeze your child’s credit. Check with credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experiential and TransUnion – to find out if your child has a credit report and if you can freeze their credit. While a credit freeze is the safest way to protect your child’s identity, you will need to remember to unfreeze it before your child applies for credit on their own behalf.
Subscribe to credit monitoring: For a monthly subscription, you can subscribe to a service such as Lifelock Junior which monitors your child’s social security number to identify any credit information that could indicate the use of your child’s identity. While these services cost money, they can help prevent the catastrophic financial destruction that occurs when a child’s ID card is stolen at a young age.
Keep your child’s social security number near the vest: Everyone from your pediatrician to the camp nurse will ask you for your child’s social security number. Although you can refuse to share this information, there is no way you can prevent someone, somewhere, from getting their hands on it. So while being silent about a Social Security number may improve your odds, it’s really not effective without also freezing or monitoring your child’s credit as discussed above.
So while your child probably won’t ask Santa for identity theft protection, this could be one of the best stocking stuffers you give them.