Child Identity Theft: Signs Every Parent Should Know
Identity thieves aren't just targeting adult; their targeting children, too. In fact, kids are particularly vulnerable. Not only is their personal information often held in places with little security, but perpetrators bank on the crime going undetected for years. It's common for identity theft not to be discovered until the victim applies for a student loan or credit card after turning 17 or 18. By that time, the child might learn that someone (in his or her name) has racked up thousands of dollars in debt or is in trouble with the IRS for accepting a tax refund for a job he or she never worked.
When a child's identity is stolen, he or she may not be able to get a loan. Identity theft can also interfere with the victim's ability to get a job. Sometimes, the child may run into problems with school or the law. The longer identify theft goes on, the more damage can be done and the more time it often takes for the victim to recover.
Fortunately, parents can look for these warnings signs:
The IRS sends your child a letter, claiming that he or she didn’t pay taxes, or a letter informing you that your child has filed his or her own tax return.
Your child receives bills and mail from banks, hospitals, or other institutions.
Your child is denied healthcare or other government benefits.
Your child applies for a driver’s license and later receives a bill for unpaid fines.