Sioux Falls, SD
This is the time of year, you give out a lot of information on your kids: to the school, coaches and other organizations. But the Federal Trade Commission says you should be safeguarding that information as much as possible to protect your children from identity theft.
It's a growing problem with children 50 times more likely to have their identities stolen than adults.
Nine-year-old Ellie Munkvold finishes up her homework at her dad's office after school. Her dad, Aaron Munkvold, has heard about kids getting their identities stolen and takes precautions with his children's personal information.
"Pretty careful about giving out her Social Security number to people, birth date that type of stuff. If people are asking for that type of information, I'm pretty careful about checking it out thoroughly first," Munkvold said.
That's important because 22,000 juvenile ID theft complaints came into the Federal Trade Commission last year alone.
"For a lot of kids, maybe it's going to college, seeking a student loan, buying your first car those types of things is when it's detected. It may have happened years ago, but all of a sudden their credit is ruined," Marley Prunty-Lara of Consumer Credit Counseling said.
Unfortunately many times, a family member with access to the information has assumed a child's identity. But not always. Consumer Credit Counseling says it's important to teach your child to also be careful about the personal information they give out online from social networks to gaming sites.
"It's up to parents to be aware of what your child is putting out there and it's never too early to teach kids to be protective of who they are, what information they have," Prunty-Lara said.
Parents can get a free credit report on their child to see if anyone has stolen their information. You may also want to put a credit freeze on your child, which can last for seven years, to make sure no one does misuse it.
"Not a bad idea at all. There's no reason my child is going to need credit for the next seven years and if they do, they can make that decision. So we're going to freeze it for now to try to prevent any identity theft that could occur," Prunty-Lara said.
To put a freeze on your child's credit, you need to contact each credit bureau and it costs $10. Consumer Credit Counseling also recommends you do the same for elderly parents who don't need to open any more credit accounts.
Protecting your child's identity
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