All Points Mobile Shredding Blog
Was your child’s social security number stolen?
How to find out & what to do next
This statistic might shock you: it’s estimated that 3.5 million children have had their social security numbers stolen, according to the Federal Trade Commission. What may also shock you is that many of these crimes are against babies—moments after they’re born and their parent applies for their social security number. Before you panic, wondering if your child has been a victim of this kind of ID theft, there are certain steps you can take to find out and ways to protect your child if it hasn’t. Take a look:
Because they have no credit history, children are like a blank canvas for identity thieves. Stealing your child’s social security number gives criminals the opportunity to apply for credit using a fresh number, they can also apply for loans, government assistance, credit cards and any number of other fraudulent activities. When something like this happens, there are warning signs to watch out for:
- A credit report exists in your child’s name
- Bills or notices come to your home in your child’s name
- Your child receives credit card or loan offers
- Your child receives calls from collection agencies
Suspect fraud? Here’s what to do:
If any of the warning signs above apply to your child, the first thing to do is to check their credit report. It goes without saying that if your child has a credit report, something fishy is going on. If there is one, you must contact all three credit-reporting agencies right away and let them know that your child’s social has been compromised. Then take these steps:
- Ask them to freeze all credit accounts in your child’s name
- Have them remove any and all collections, accounts and credit inquiries
- Place a fraud alert on your child’s credit report
- Report the theft to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission)
Unfortunately, once your child’s ID has been stolen, you cannot reverse the theft. But what you can do is prevent any further use of their information and thwart the thief’s effort to continue with their criminal activity by taking the steps above. You can also protect your child’s identity from future attempts, here’s how:
- Don’t give your child’s social security number out unless absolutely necessary—and even then try to only give the last 4 numbers
- Store your child’s personal information in a safe place- make digital records and store on thumb drives
- Shred all paperwork that contains your child’s personally identifiable information after making digital records
- Be mindful of who has your child’s information and aware of any breaches that occur including schools, doctor’s offices, clubs, sports teams, etc.
- Pay attention to what information is published about your child in school or club directories and choose to opt out if possible
When it comes to identity theft, the sad fact is there are no age limitations. Anyone, especially children who have a clean record, can fall victim to this type of crime. Today it is all too easy for thieves to gain access to personal information. Remember to shred all documents and paperwork that you no longer need—and never put anything in the recycling bin that contains information like your child’s name, birthdate, address, phone number, etc.
Talk to us about a one-time shred or setting up a regular schedule. We provide a certificate of destruction upon completion of each shred and come to you—so your confidential information never leaves your sight. Give us a call at 772.283.4152 to find out more or fill out a quote request form.