By now, you’ve probably heard about all the ways you can safeguard your information from identity thieves. But, what about your child’s information? With unblemished credit, kids can be easy targets for scam artists. Here are some steps you can take to protect your child’s personal information.
Safeguard your child’s Social Security Number. You wouldn’t carry your own Social Security card with you, would you ? (the answer should definitely be no). Well then, don’t carry your child’s Social Security card with you either. Don’t share your child’s SSN unless you know and trust the other party, such as a school, doctor or government entity. Even so, you have the right to ask what they do to keep that information secure.
Limit what your child shares online. Have a conversation with your child about using caution on social media. It’s wise not to post personal information online, such as their birthday, city of birth, and address, as this information would be of value to an identity thief. And as much as they may hate it, it doesn’t hurt to monitor their social media use.
Use a shredder. Shred all documents with your child’s personal information instead of just throwing them away in the trash.
Use strong passwords. Teach your child the importance of creating strong passwords - and most importantly, not sharing them. This is especially important for college students in a dorm or other shared living space. A strong password consists of at least 6 characters (and the more characters, the stronger the password) that are a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Passwords are typically case-sensitive, so a strong password also contains letters in both uppercase and lowercase.
Check whether your child has a credit report close to their 16th birthday. If there is one – and it has errors due to fraud or misuse, you’ll have time to correct it before your child applies for a job, seeks a loan or needs to rent an apartment. If you discover your child’s information has been misused, go to IdentityTheft.gov to find out what steps to take.
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