Protecting Your Child's Identity

by Yolanda Kennedy

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Protecting Your Credit and Debit Cards

Children and Identity Theft

My 11-year-old just received a credit card!

Have you noticed that you can barely get though all your junk mail and now your kids are getting junk mail? Sometimes the kids are receiving magazines in their names or are even pre-approved for credit cards. How can this be when they don't even have jobs?

Well, mom or dad you may be contributing to this madness. How many times, this year, have you given out your child's social security number? Many doctor's offices are asking for your child's social security number now. If you are like most parents, you give it out and without even thinking twice about it. Does your child have an account at a credit union or bank in his or her own name? Are your children, with your permission, giving their contact information on kid's sites on the net?

These are all places that sometimes sell or share (as they like to state) information with their partner companies. This is only one way that some of these companies get your child's information.

Some banks use the databases of major credit reporting companies like Trans Union, Equifax, Experian or Innovis. Your child's information goes into the databases with everyone else's and the company does not have a clue that this person is a minor.

Educate your child about the importance of their social security number and how they have a right to keep it private. Also, take note of these tips to minimize the credit madness:

  • Most doctors, dentists and other medical professional offices like to have social security numbers for record keeping purposes. If you are asked for your child's social security number find out why they need it. If you do not think that it is a viable reason you may refuse to give it. Your child is not responsible for paying the bill. The office probably already has your social security number because you are the insured.
  • If your child insists on getting the latest free download (even if it is a kid's site) give YOUR contact information.
  • Call The Opt-Out Department at 1-888-567-8688.You can have your family excluded for 2 years or permanently from all the pre-approved credit offers that use the major credit reporting databases.

Above all, be as protective about your child's personal information as you are with your child. Just as we teach our children to be cautious toward strangers, we need to teach them to guard their personal information equally as well.

Yolanda Kennedy is a mother, wife, friend and neighbor who believes education is the key to building the life you want for your family.

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