This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
More than 50,000 children in Florida become victims of identity theft every year, and more than $100 million is stolen every year from children whose identities have been compromised. As a mom of young children, these statistics are very scary to me. Aidan spent time in the NICU and had many doctors during his first year of life. This day in age, it is becoming more and more common to hear of hospitals and doctors office records being compromised. A child’s medical history typically includes information about them such as address, phone number and social security number. Not much information is needed in order for a criminal to steal an identity, and it becomes even easier when the victim is a child. Identity thieves typically target children because they have great credit profiles, and years will usually pass before the crime is detected. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to protect your children from this crime.
Tips To Protecting Your Child From Identity Theft:
- Lock Up Documents: All important documents such as social security cards, birth certificates and hospital records should be kept locked up somewhere safe. A fire proof safe or vault or safety deposit box at a bank are the best places to keep any records of this sort.
- Check Their Credit History: Request a free credit report for your child each year from the three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. A credit history begins once a credit account is opened for your child, so a history will show if anyone has used their information to open an account.
- Educate Children: As children age, they become much more tech savvy. They also become vulnerable victims online. Teach your children never to give personal information out over the internet to strangers or to any software that might pop up requesting it.
- Freeze Their Credit: Thanks to Florida legislation, it is now easy to freeze your child’s credit profile. This prevents others from accessing and using your child’s credit without permission, avoiding a long battle to recover credit once needed.
I am so lucky to live in the state of Florida. I am able to easily set up credit records for my children and freeze them. By freezing their records, I am blocking thieves from using their credit to open new accounts. Creating a report for your child is easy. All you have to do is contact the credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. Find out what each credit agency needs in order to freeze your child’s credit and use these sample letters as a guideline. Then just pay the low $10 fee per agency. If your child was already a victim, this fee is waived. Any parent or legal guardian can freeze their child’s credit, up to the age of 16. The great part about it, this freeze will then last until your child reaches adulthood, or until you contact the department to remove the freeze.
What steps do you take to Protect Your Child’s Identity