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Protect Your Child From Identity Theft

Protect your child’s Social Security Number by keeping it private: Keep your child’s Social Security Number in a safe location and out of view from others. Be sure to never carry it in your wallet or purse. Ask coaches, doctors or schools to use a different number for identification. If you absolutely must provide your child’s Social Security Number, be sure to ask how the information will be handled, and when it will be discarded.

Notice mailed offers of pre approved credit to your child: Mailed offers such as pre-approved credit cards mailed to your child could indicate someone has established a credit history in your child’s name. You should contact the three major credit reporting agencies and ask them to report any activity in your child’s name.

Contact TransUnion, one of the three major credit reporting agencies: To determine if there is activity on credit files or public records at TransUnion using your child’s Social Security Number, visit TransUnions’ Child Identity Theft website. Please use the secure online forms to submit details about your concerns.

If TransUnion locates a file in your child’s name, they will ask you for additional information in order to proceed with steps designed to protect your child from any current or future impact associated with this fraudulent activity. The more promptly you respond to this request, the more quickly TransUnion can take action on your family’s behalf.

Be sensitive to the information you or your child place on the internet: Social Networking web sites like Facebook and MySpace can be a great way to stay in contact with friends. However, you should be very careful about the personal identifying information that is added to these sites. Thieves and sexual predators use social networking sites to profile their victims. You should also be careful about providing your name or child’s name, phone number, home address in an email, even if there is an incentive to win a large cash prize.

Shred sensitive documents before discarding: Before discarding any documents containing personal identifying information such as Social Security Numbers, phone numbers, names, addresses, account numbers, medical records, and school records. Make sure they are properly shredded.

Keep financial records, Social Security Numbers, and other personal identifying information locked up: Both parents and students should keep financial statements or sensitive documents locked up and out of sight from friends, roommates, neighbors, visitors, in-house employees, and others who might steal this information. Password protect your laptop and home computers, ensure that sensitive files on your computer are not set to shared, and never leave your laptop in your car, library, or cafe.

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