Children are choice targets for identity thieves. They usually have squeaky-clean credit, and they may not notice the crime for years, until they apply for their own credit cards or car loans. As a parent, you can be on the lookout for the following red flags.
- Something unusual comes in the mail
Watch for notices from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) saying your child hasn’t paid taxes or that her Social Security number is being used on a tax return other than yours. Also take note of financial junk mail that’s addressed to your child, including pre-approved credit card offers.
- Your child receives strange phone calls Calls from companies trying to collect money for goods or services that neither you nor your child purchased could indicate that fraud or identity theft has occurred.
- She’s turned down for a driver’s license If your son or daughter is denied a driver’s license because there’s a license in another state using that name, ID theft may have taken place.
- His bank account shows unexplained withdrawals If your child has a bank account, make sure you check it periodically for withdrawals he didn’t make. Unusual activity could be a sign of fraud and should be reported to the bank.
- Her credit report shows incorrect information Frequent checks of your child’s credit can indicate if anyone else is using her personal information to apply for credit or open accounts. If you haven’t looked at your child’s credit report by her 16th birthday. The Federal Trade Commission recommends you take that step even if you don’t suspect fraud. That way you have enough time to make any corrections before she applies for a full-time job or a car loan.