Child Identity Theft
You will likely never think that someone is using your child’s identity to commit fraud but it does happen. Someone might be using your child's Social Security number to apply for government benefits, open bank and credit card accounts, apply for a loan or utility service, or rent a place to live. How scary is that?
There are warning signs that may indicate that someone is misusing your child’s personal information and committing fraud. For example, you or your child might:
- be turned down for government benefits because the benefits are being paid to another account using your child’s Social Security number
- get a notice from the IRS saying the child didn’t pay income taxes, or that the child’s Social Security number was used on another tax return
- get collection calls or bills for products or services you didn’t receive
If you think your child’s information is at risk, check whether your child has a credit report. You can do so by Contacting each of the 3 nationwide credit reporting companies. When you call, you can ask for a manual search of the child’s file. The companies will check for files relating to the child’s name and Social Security number, and for files related only to the child’s Social Security number. The credit reporting companies may require copies of:
- the child’s birth certificate listing parents
- the child’s Social Security card
- the parent or guardian’s government-issued identification card, like a driver’s license, or copies of documents proving the adult is the child’s legal guardian
- proof of address, like a utility bill, or credit card or insurance statement
If your child’s credit report shows the child’s information is being misused, ask them to remove all accounts, account inquiries, and collection notices from any file associated with your child’s name and Social Security number. If it is, visit IdentityTheft.gov to report and recover from identity theft.
Contact every business where your child’s information was misused. Ask each business to close the fraudulent account and flag it to show it resulted from identity theft.