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How To Protect Children From Identity Theft

Criminals have been targeting children’s clean credit records for illegal activities, so parents should be protecting their child’s credit even though they don’t need them yet. Most parents aren’t worrying about their children’s credit score, but cases of identity theft have shown that they should be. Without checking your kids’ records, there could be bank accounts or loans under their social insurance numbers.

The identity thieves exploit the legal loopholes or institutional weaknesses that exist in the banking system. In reality, banks and lenders rarely crosscheck names and ages with social security numbers. Instead, they usually rely on approvals from the credit bureaus. Since a child has no previous credit history, there are no “hits” to their record, and a clean record can easily be taken advantage of.

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With a child’s social insurance number, a criminal can create a new credit report. As long as they have the number, they can register accounts under a different name, date of birth, and address. Without stricter mechanisms for verification, banks or lenders will accept this account. The dangerous part is usually the kid doesn’t find out until they’re much older and need credit checks. With the time passed, it may be more difficult to fix things and hunt down the person responsible.

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The good news is that this problem has reached the spotlight, and many credit bureaus have put measures in place to protect the kids. Parents would need to create a credit file for their children, then freeze said account. As an authorized user to their parents’ account, the child will have an established line of credit at the bureau. With that, parents can legally freeze their child’s account so in case anyone else has their social insurance number, the account won’t be valid.

It takes about half an hour to get your child’s credit account frozen, so it isn’t much trouble to protect your kid from identity thieves. It’s not a problem that most people worry about, and this is what criminals take advantage of. While a line of credit is something a child won’t need until way later in life, it’s important that they’re protected from criminals as soon as possible. Ten years down the road, you wouldn’t want to be wishing that you took half an hour to protect your child’s line of credit.

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