Childhood Identity Theft — Everything You Need To Know

This…This is a cry for help. -mgmt

Ok so peep the scenario, you’re in line at Mcdonalds. You’ve just ordered the usual Mcdouble, no onions, medium fry and a medium caramel frappe. You swipe your card and *beep* DECLINED. NO CASH. YOU ARE BROKE AF. You start to think…

“I just checked and I know I had like $11.23 left in my account, I should be good. Did my identity get stolen?”

So you call your bank, still at the register, the guy behind you is livid… a scene is about to be made when finally you hear:

“It looks like you overdrafted your account this morning with a Spotify and Netflix subscription. No, you’re identity wasn’t stolen… you’re just broke.”

That’s when the guy behind you brushes past you to order and a scuffle ensues. You both get arrested and now you have to contact LegalShield (that’s one) to see what your legal options are.

Your partner and child greet you as you leave jail and that’s when your partner tells you that your child’s identity has been stolen… *end scene*

This guy just found out his credit is terrible…He also just found out what credit is.

Btw, I’m “contractually” (not really but it’s in the assignment…so yea) obligated to mention LegalShield at least 5 times over the course of this article… Imma count that as two.

According to USLegal.com, Child identity theft refers to true identity theft in which the victim is a minor child. Child identity theft occurs when a child’s identity is used by another person for the imposter’s personal gain. Since a child is unlikely to request credit reports, there is less chance to detect the crime immediately. Usually, a child identity theft is committed by a parent against a child.

[Not to incriminate myself but if you steal my child’s identity and mess their credit up too (cause mine is…yea) I’ll have to have LegalShield (three :))on standby.]

Anyway, usually what happens is, the child’s social security number is stolen and put with a different date of birth. This creates what is sometimes known as a “synthetic identity”. (Singer)

As most of you know, having poor credit can directly your lifestyle, even if you make enough to support it. Childhood identity theft means that your child’s credit could be [poor] before they even have a chance to develop any on their own. It’s all bad.

Fortunately for you and with the help of this LegalShield website (and a few other sources), I will tell you a few things that can help to prevent this sort of thing as well as provide some tips as to how to deal with the aftermath, if in fact you hold that L. (←use Urban Dictionary for that one)

First, here’s some basic steps to take to reduce your risk of having your and your child’s identity stolen. (Taken STRAIGHT from usa.gov…because we trust the government right?)

  • Secure your social security number (SSN). Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet or write your number on your checks. Only give out your SSN when absolutely necessary.
  • Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information (your name, birthdate, social security number, or bank account number) by phone, mail, or online.
  • Watch out for “shoulder surfers.” Shield the keypad when typing your passwords on computers and at ATMs.
  • Collect mail promptly. Ask the post office to put your mail on hold when you are away from home for several days.
  • Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
  • Review your receipts. Promptly compare receipts with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.
  • Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements, and expired cards, to prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
  • Store personal information in a safe place at home and at work.
  • Install firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer.
  • Create complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess easily. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach of its databases
  • Order your credit report once a year and review to be certain that it doesn’t include accounts that you have not opened. Check it more frequently if you suspect someone has gained access to your account information.

Now, Consumer.ftc.gov gave some useful warning signs to look out for if you believe that your child’s identity is being stolen.

  1. If you receive a notice denying government benefits because the benefits are being paid to another account using your child’s Social Security number.
  2. If you 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.
  3. If you get collection calls or bills for products or services you didn’t receive.

But aye, let’s say you follow all these steps and come to find out it’s too late. The feces hits the fan blades and now your child’s credit is so bad they won’t even take their cash… Let me be of some assistance:

  1. Contact credit reporting companies and ask them to remove all accounts, inquiries and collection notices.
  2. Contact businesses where the child’s info was misused and ask them to close and flag the compromised accounts.
  3. Place a fraud alert on the child’s credit report. (I’m going to assume you can do this with LegalShield. If not, I’m sure they can get you in contact with someone who knows… that’s four btw.)
  4. Finally, file a fraud report with the Federal Trade Commission.

Once you’ve done that… you’ve just gotta trust the process. Take the L as a lesson, not a loss and be sure to take more precautions in the future. Tell your child to take it as a compliment, somebody wants to be them.

[But if they find the culprit, handle that and call LegalShield (five…)]

Goodbye for now.

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