Our kids spend more time online than we like to think. Some nearly eight hours a day according to the CDC. The more time that is spent online, the more data that is collected so it’s easy to see why childhood Identity theft is a growing problem. According to this report by Javelin, one out of every fifty children has been exposed to identity fraud this past year.
Why would children be the target of identity thieves?
Number one reason, children have a spotless credit record. Parents don’t check their kid’s credit records and kids sure don’t so fraud can go undetected for years. Victims of childhood identity theft normally don’t know there is a problem until they apply for their first line of credit, usually a student loan or auto loan.
Just think about taking your child to purchase their first car before they head off to college, only to find our they have a collection agency after them for an unpaid loan they never took out.
How is children’s information stolen?
Due to the exorbitant amount of time spent on the internet by our kids, their information is out there being collected by websites, games, entertainment media, etc. Even data from our schools can be exposed by targeted by ransomware attacks.
Parents need to be informed that childhood identity theft is on the rise and the personal information stolen from their children can be used to open bank accounts, credit cards, obtain drivers’ licenses, apply for jobs, and purchase homes or vehicles. Scammers may either use a child’s full identity or create a synthetic identity by blending real data with made-up details.
What’s a parent to do?
Start by protecting your entire family with and identity protection service. Forest offers a family plan for only $7.99/monthly for up to 1M in coverage. You won’t find a better price for this amount of protection anywhere and it is powered by Allstate, a company that’s been around for quite a while – See more here: Identity Protection | Forest Security
Use this checklist
Make sure you’re getting the most out of your account and learn more steps you can take to help kids stay safe from fraud.
1. Use Forest’s RapID by Allstate identity protection service.
Up to five family members are covered in Forest’s RapID Plan powered by Allstate. Start here: Identity Protection | Forest Security
Next add your child to your account and activate features on your child’s behalf so you know if suspicious activity is detected. If anything happens, you can take quick action to minimize the risk of identity theft.
If fraud does happen to your family, your covered. Our U.S.-based Identity Specialists are will provide you with assistance until everything is straightened out.
2. Parents can put a security freeze on their child’s credit file.
If you place a security freeze on your child’s credit, it becomes harder for someone else to open a line of credit in their name.
Each credit bureaus has a different process to enable this, but in general, parents or guardians must mail a written request along with copies of identifying documents directly to each bureau to request a freeze on a minor’s behalf.
You can find more specific instructions for how to do this with each bureau by following the links below:
3. Be leery about sharing personal information.
When you sign up your kids for extracurricular activities, you may be asked to reveal their Social Security number and other identifying data. Don’t be afraid to leave these fields blank and ask why this information is required, especially if it doesn’t seem necessary.
4. Keep an eye on online activity.
Learn and use your browser or computer systems parental controls. Also adjust your security settings for additional peace of mind. Any site or service geared toward children under the age of 13 is required to send parents a consent notification before any data is collected as outlined in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
5. Limit what you share about your child online.
Expectant parents are excited and share the good news with friend and relatives online starting with baby bump pics and even ultrasound photos — which means some kids have an internet presence before they’re even born.
Before you post something, consider if the information you’re sharing could make your child vulnerable to fraud later on. For example, a celebratory birthday post or a front-porch snapshot with your house address visible in the background may unintentionally reveal personal identifiable information.
6. Teach your children how to protect themselves.
We already teach our children about “stranger danger.” We need to have the same conversations with kids about online strangers. A good rule can be, only chat with someone on social media if we all know them in real life.
It’s also important to make sure kids understand the hallmarks of phishing — such as blurry images, frequent typos, or urgent requests to “Act now!”. The more kids know what scammers are up to, the better prepared they’ll be to protect themselves.
Parenting in the digital age has its challenges — but we’re here to help. With this checklist, you can take action to reduce the risk of fraud in your family. Plus, once you’re a member of Forest’s Identity Protection Plan and identity theft does occur, your Allstate certified specialists are only a phone call away.
See more here: Identity Protection | Forest Security or call us at 708-452-2000
Source: Allstate Identity Protection