(WWBT/WXIX) - Studies show children are one of the top targets for identity thieves.
More than a million children were identity fraud victims in 2017. Two-thirds of those kids were under the age of 8.
All too often people only learn their kids’ credit was ruined by identity thieves when they apply for college financial aid. Cleaning up that mess can take months or even year.
So here’s what to do now: Know the warning signs of identity theft.
Has your child gotten offers in the mail for credit cards or loans? That’s a huge red flag.
Also worrisome is getting letters from the IRS about unpaid taxes in your child’s name, or collection notices.
But given those huge data breaches at Equifax, Anthem and other companies — odds are — your child’s information has leaked out, at least in part.
Your best bet is to request your child’s credit report from each of the three credit bureaus.
Those bureaus can then check to see if your child’s name or Social Security number has been used in any credit applications.
Children under age 13 shouldn’t have a file at all.
If they do, and you see accounts linked to their name that are fraudulent, you can start the process to clean that up now.