How To Protect Your Infant From Identity Theft | BabyGaga
Babies are born with a clean financial and criminal record. As such, they make perfect targets for thieves who likely have less than stellar records of their own. And when an infant's identity has been stolen, if the thief has been careful, it will not be known until that baby grows into a teenager and begins to apply for credit, open a bank account, or of his own. That is why it is important to know .
When adults have their identity stolen, between credit bureau scores, protection companies, or existing credit card companies flagging purchases, they have a good idea that trouble is afoot in a fairly expedient timeframe. As such, they can attempt to undo the damage that thieves have caused before too much damage has been done. But because babies do not have the same protection with their identity, the damage can go on for years and can ultimately, ruin the little one's credit forever.
Here is how to protect your from identity theft.
An infant's identity is stolen much more often than parents would imagine.
According to a 2012 study, amongst young children happens 51 times more often than it does with adults. And with an increasing amount of the victims being toddlers or infants, parents need to ensure that their child's identity is well protected.
The majority of the time that a baby's identity is stolen, it happens when there is a data breach of a major organization. According to , this could happen at any place that requires parents to provide social security numbers, such as doctor's offices, daycare centers, hospitals, tax offices, and more. Any place that asks for a social security number to be disclosed increases the risk that the baby's identity will be stolen.
Another way that an infant's identity is stolen, according to the publication, is by accidentally dropping a social security card while out running errands or the like. When the baby's social security card is kept in a wallet, the risk is great that it could inadvertently be pulled out with a credit card or cash and not even realized it has fallen out. And if that card falls into the wrong hands, instant identity theft occurs.
While not nearly as often, according to , those who are victims of burglary may have their personal information stolen as well. And if the baby's social security card is kept in an area out in the open, it can be swiped in seconds flat.
Some identity thieves cover their tracks well. And when this happens, it can go unnoticed for years that a baby's identity has been stolen. Fortunately, not all are that smart and slip up. And when that happens, there are signs that a little one's identity has been stolen.
One of the first ways that a parent will realize that their infant's identity has been stolen is offers for credit cards will start to come in the mail for the baby, according to .
Credit card offers do not come in the mail unless applications have been placed for credit cards on the internet. Therefore, it should not be passed off as a mistake that a little one has a pre-approved credit card offer in the mail. It is a sure sign that someone else is using the baby's social security to open one or, likely, several, lines of credit.
A second way that parents will discover that their baby's identity has been stolen is if creditors start to call because no payment has been made on the large amounts of debt that have been racked up on credit cards, per the publication. And if this happens, it needs to be dealt with immediately to not ruin the child's credit indefinitely.
While there is not any way to 100 percent protect an infant from identity theft, there are steps that can be taken to ensure to the best of a parent's ability the baby's identity remains clean.
According to , the first thing parents can do is periodically check a baby's credit report. Because the baby should not have any credit taken out in their name, there should be no report. If there is one, it is a red flag that their identity has been stolen.
Another thing that can be done is to sign up for a protection agency that monitors a baby's identity, according to Scholastic. By having a company do the hard work for minimal money per month, there is peace of mind that the little one's identity is safe.
Asking organizations that request the baby's social security number if the number is truly necessary. According to the publication, most will not require it to give the infant the services needed.
One that parents may not think of is what information they place on . After all, the people who are looking at the account are supposed to be friends and family. However, because social media accounts can be hacked, things like birthdates and addresses can be used to steal a baby's identity, according to The Washington Post.
If the baby's identity is stolen, the first thing to do is contact the organizations that have provided a red flag that an infant's identity has been used without his consent. This includes sending letters to credit bureaus as well, per Allstate Identity Protection.
Next, according to The Washington Post, the credit score companies need to be sent information that the child is a minor and should not have credit scores attached to their name.
Allstate Identity Protection recommends a credit freeze so no further credit can be taken out in the child's name.
And finally, calling the police to report the crime will be necessary to have a report on file that some institutions require as part of their investigation into the identity theft that has occurred.
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