Children, unfortunately, are often the targets of identity thefts, perhaps even more often than we realize. The theft often isn’t noticed for years, until the child is old enough to apply for their own credit, and by then it’s too late. Here are some warning signs to look out for that might signal that your child’s identity has been stolen.
Oftentimes, a child whose identity has been stolen will receive a notice from the IRS. This notice might have something to do with unpaid taxes, or perhaps with a warning that their social security number has been used on another tax return. This is a warning sign that someone else may be using their identity.
Collection agencies start calling
Another warning sign might be that your child starts receiving phone calls, or maybe letters, from collection agencies. Rather than write this off as a fluke or mistake, you should immediately investigate, as it might mean that someone has been using your child’s social security number or other identifiers, and your child’s identity could be in danger.
Your child can’t open a bank account
If you try to open a bank account for your child, or if they try to open one themselves, and they’re turned down, it’s important to know why. If, for example, they’re turned down because of negative information on a credit or other financial report, it might be a sign that their identity has been stolen, as someone else is bringing their credit score down.
Denial of government benefits
Similar to being turned down from a bank, if your child is turned down from receiving government benefits, you need to ask why. If they’re a victim of identity theft, it might be because the government benefits are already being paid out to someone with the same name and social security number.
An unexpected credit card appears
If your child receives a credit card in their name, and neither you nor they ordered or applied for one, take it as a dangerous sign that someone else is probably applying for credit and credit cards in their name. You should immediately take action to investigate and take back your child’s identity. Luckily, there are lots of ways you can get your child’s identity back—but you need to be alert for the warning signs.