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It's Like Taking Credit From a Baby
Anytime we talk about our credit and how we want to lower our debt to raise our scores and improve our credit reports, it raises the added concern of protecting ourselves from identity theft. Hopefully, you've got a watchful eye on your kid's identity, too!
It turns out that victims under the age of 18 are a growing target for these fraudsters. What's worse, this really is the perfect crime in that it can go on for years without anyone knowing. It's not usually until the victim applies for a driver's license or student loans that the problem becomes known. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the thief is usually a family member or someone who has had access to the house and the child's social security number. Establishing and maintaining credit is hard enough, but children who've had their identities stolen face huge hurdles later in life when it comes to their credit.
It is recommended that parents keep their children's social security cards in a safe place (just FYI, your purse is not a safe place, mom). While the primary target is still adults in their 30s and 40s, it's important to teach children to be careful what information they give out. A healthy financial future starts by educating your children at a young age.
Have any of you experienced identity theft? How difficult of an experience has it been? [Forbes]