Child identity theft happens when someone uses your child’s personal information to commit fraud. The thief may use your child’s information to file for a fraudulent tax refund or deduction, to get a job, medical care, government benefits, utilities, a cell phone, credit cards, car loans, or even a mortgage. Avoiding, discovering, and fixing the harm resulting from the theft of your child’s identity can be very difficult. The longer it takes to discover the theft, the more difficult it is to fix the problem.
Several signs can tip you off to a problem:
- Calls and notices from collection agencies, offers for credit cards or insurance, bills from credit card companies or medical providers, or notification of bank account checks in your child’s name.
- Your tax return listing your dependent child’s name and Social Security number is rejected because your child’s information is on another tax return.
- A State agency, the Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or another government agency asks you to confirm your child’s employment.
- Your family, or your child, is denied government benefits because of another account that is using your child’s Social Security number.
- Your child gets an IRS notice saying he owes taxes on unreported income.
Too often parents think an offer to their child for a credit card is funny. They shouldn’t be laughing. They should be alarmed! They need to find out “Why” that company sent them the offer. They need to know what database lists their child as old enough to have credit. They then need to quickly start the long process (years) of cleaning up the mess.