Identities of infants, including the baby’s full name, Social Security number, date of birth, and mother’s maiden name will fetch $300 or more on the black market or dark web. It is ideal for tax return fraud since it’s likely the data has not been added to the IRS database.
However, all children are at risk for identity fraud.
Your underage child could easily become an identity fraud victim and the tell-tale sign is when a credit card or loan offer show up in your mailbox addressed to them. To protect your minor child from the crooks who do this stuff it is vitally important to keep your minor child’s credit history squeaky clean.
Left undetected, your child could be connected to massive fraudulent debt and bad credit before they can even vote.
All it takes is a Social Security number – often applied for at birth – which can be paired with a different name, birth date and address to apply for credit. This is called a synthetic identity. And, for nearly 20 years, there is typically little risk of detection.
Five Warning Signs
**** Notification by the IRS of unpaid taxes in your child’s name.
**** Notification that a child’s Social Security number was used on another tax return.
**** Receiving collection calls for a minor child
**** Receiving bills in a child’s name for products or services not ordered or delivered.
**** Declined for government benefits because benefits already are being paid to another account using the child’s Social Security number.
Five Proactive Protection Steps
**** Never carry your child’s (or your) Social Security card in your wallet or purse. Keep it in a safe place, where it is not at risk of being stolen.
**** Pay attention to forms from schools, doctor offices and others asking for personally identifiable information about your child. Opt out if you can or use the last four digits only.
****Shred all documents that show your child’s personally identifiable information before throwing them away, just as you do for your own documents.
**** Request a credit report for your child annually, using the child’s Social Security number for reference. Every individual is entitled to one free copy of their credit report once every 12 months at www.annualcreditreport.com. If there is no credit history on record, then typically the child has not fallen prey to identity thieves. If there is a credit history for a minor child, he/she has mostly likely become a victim.
Five Response Actions
If you suspect your child may be a victim:
**** Place a 90-day credit alert on your child’s file. There is no charge, but it must be renewed every 90 days. Contact one of the three credit reporting agencies who will then contact the other two:
**** Place a security freeze on the child’s credit to block all unauthorized credit inquiries. There is a cost involved, typically a one-time cost ranging from $2-$15 depending on the state. You also may be charged a similar fee to temporarily or permanently lift the freeze.
**** File a police report.
**** Contact businesses identified in your child’s credit report. Request that any account associated with your child’s Social Security number be closed as a fraudulent account.
**** Contact all three credit reporting companies. Request the removal of all accounts, inquiries and collection notices associated with your child’s name and Social Security number.
ID Fraud is not just a problem for infants and children, elderly American are also targeted too.