Identity theft is a commonly discussed topic for adults, and most know they can monitor their credit reports and receive fraud warnings when someone is attempting to use one of their accounts.
However, child identity theft is something most people don’t think about, but it can happen to anyone just as easily. Because parents and guardians don’t have open credit reports for their children, they don’t expect to need to check on any possible fraud.
Identity thieves can use a child’s identity to get a job, obtain government benefits, medical care and other financial loans.
How to Prevent It
You can help prevent child identity theft by safely storing all documents with your child’s personal information. This includes their date of birth, Social Security number and birth certificate.
Only share their personal information with people you trust, and when entering it online, make sure you are using a secure internet connection. Also check with your child’s school to see who has access to their personal information. Openly discuss with your child the importance of keeping personal information safe.
Properly dispose of all materials that contain your child’s personal information. Shred letters, forms and other papers that include this information. You should also permanently delete this information off any electronic devices before getting rid of them. Treat the safety of their personal information just as you would your own.
Learn more about child identity theft and how to spot it. (PDF)
Someone illegally using your Social Security number causes a lot of problems. Learn what to do if this happens to you.
Asked by Anonymous
I received an email the other day that I believe is a scam using the IRS as the sender. Where can forward this to have it checked out?
The IRS has recently issued warnings about phony e-mails that are trying to steal your personal information.
If you receive an e-mail that claims to be from the IRS and asks for your personal information, follow these steps:
- Do not reply.
- Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
- Do not click on any links. If you clicked on a links and entered confidential information, visit the IRS identity protection page.
- Forward the email to email@example.com.
- After you forward it, delete the original email message.
Learn more about how to report suspicious e-mails or phishing schemes to the IRS.
The FBI identified a new phishing scam online that targets your bank accounts. The scam is called “Gameover.” Once the virus is on your computer, it can steal all of your user names and passwords before you realize what has happened.
How It Works
The Gameover scam will email you, pretending to be from the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), the Federal Reserve Bank, or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The email will say that there has been a problem with your bank account or a recent transaction, and will include a link to help fix the problem. The link will send you to a phony site, where the Gameover malware is automatically installed on your computer and starts stealing your bank account information.
If you think you’ve been victimized by this type of scheme, contact your financial institution to report it, and file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Learn more about the Gameover Scam.