Many of us receive those offers for pre-approved credit cards, but if you see one for your child, listen up. It could be a sign of child identity theft.
Nearly three percent of U.S. households with children under 18 have experienced this crime and or one in 40 households has experienced child identity theft, according to the Identity Theft Assistance Center. What's worse, it's sometimes not discovered until years later when the bad credit history that the scammers have established in the child's name prevents them from getting a student loan, apartment lease or credit card.
Here's what you should do:
- Be aware of the warning signs - like receiving credit card offers in the mail, calls from collection agencies or a notification for taxes owed from the IRS.
- Keep an eye on accounts - regularly review the statements your child may receive from any savings or other financial accounts they have.
- Protect their privacy - shred documents with personal information, keep Social Security cards in a safe place, discourage them from revealing personal information online.
- Respond to thefts - if you believe your child is a victim, contact the three major credit agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, to see if they have a fraudulent credit history on file. If they do, ask the agencies to issue a fraud alert on their account and report it to police.
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