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Protecting Toddlers From Identity Theft

November 25, 2013
Plain English Version

Identity theft is a price we are paying for putting so much information on the Internet. There are credit bureau services to protect you from theft. Crooks are trying to steal the identities of young children. You can freeze your (or your child’s)credit information.

The three big credit bureaus are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You may request they not give information to any company that you are not already doing business with.

But there is another way to rob consumers. Go after their children. Children do not have credit cards or outstanding loans. So what do thieves do?

When they are able to get the social security number of a baby, thieves can add a date of birth and a name. This creates a false identity with a clean credit report. Thieves can then open credit cards and borrow money. The parents do not know. The identify theft might not be discovered for years.

When the child becomes a young adult and applies for credit or a student loan, he or she may be rejected because of “his” or “her” poor credit history.

Some states are doing something about this. They tell parents to have a credit report created for the child and then freeze it.

In Oregon, parents can contact a credit bureau. They will ask for a “protected” record in their child’s name. This creates an empty credit file, which is then frozen (cannot be changed). Other states, such as Utah, use a different system. Companies seeking credit information from a frozen credit report will get a warning that the application is likely fraudulent.

In Oregon, the credit companies charge $10 to freeze records.

Call a credit bureau in your state, or one of the three listed above, to find out if there is a program like this.

Source: The New York Times                                                                                           November 12, 2013

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