When we think about the dangers facing our children, identity theft usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. It is a very real threat, however, and is growing each year. In 2017, more than 1 million children were victims of identity theft.1 Think of all the places that have your child’s information on — everywhere from the school to the doctor, and even government agencies. If any of those entities experience a breach, your child’s personal information could be exposed to identity thieves.
Why do identity thieves target children?
Thieves often target children because they know that identity theft will likely go unnoticed for years. Your child may not even find out they’ve been victimized until they become an adult, at which point they’ll have quite a mess to clean up before they can open their own accounts, rent an apartment, or even get insurance.
What can a thief do with a child’s identity?
It may seem pointless to steal a kid’s information since they don’t have assets, but this is a common misconception. An identity thief can open credit card accounts, take out a mortgage, a loan for a car, and even commit crimes in your child’s name if they access enough personal information.
How do I keep my child safe?
As parents, this is the question that’s always on our minds. There is no way to eliminate the risk of identity theft entirely – but there are a few things you can do to make it less likely:
- Encourage your child to make their social media accounts private and avoid oversharing
- Actively monitor your child’s social media accounts (we can do that for you)
- Keep social security cards, birth certificates, and other documents containing personally identifying information locked away
The best thing you can do to keep your child’s identity safe is to invest in a comprehensive identity theft protection plan. When you purchase any ReliaShield family plan, up to 10 children in your household, under the age of 18, will receive protection free of charge. This protection includes monitoring and alerts, unlimited restoration services, and $1 million in stolen funds and expense reimbursement. If you choose a Prime or Elite plan, you’ll get additional benefits such as social media monitoring, neighborhood safety alerts, and more.
1 Javelin Strategy and Research