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How Junk Mail Could Be a Sign Your Child’s Identity Has Been Stolen

posted: 04/13/17
by: Amanda Mushro
Junk mail
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Junk mail
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When sorting through your mail, you'll probably find a few credit card applications and even a few pre-approved credit cards. Hopefully you are taking the time to shred these items before tossing them, but what happens if you receive credit cards in your child's name. Is this just junk mail too? According to the FTC, receiving a credit card in your child's name isn't regular junk but a warning sign.

Identity theft can wreak havoc on your credit for years, but when it comes to your children, it can be even worse. Often when our kids are victims of credit fraud, they don't find out until they are adults applying for a loan, getting their license find out they owe hundreds of dollars in unpaid tickets that aren't theirs, or when they try to open up their own credit card and find years of damage that is done by someone else.

When it comes to identity theft and credit fraud there are a few obvious signs to alert you that something is fishy, like you receive bills your child's name or traffic violations when they don't have a license. However, here are a few signs you should look out for when it comes to credit card fraud and your kids:

  • Your child receives pre-approved credit cards or applications.
  • Collection agencies are calling and asking for your children.
  • Your child receives a notice from the IRS that their name or social security number are listed on another tax return.
  • Your child is denied government assistance because of income or other benefits that have are already been assigned to your child's social security number

So what should you do if you receive one of these red flags?

Immediately check their credit reports for activity. Unless you've taken steps to establish credit for your child, like reported income, they have a checking or savings account in their name, their names are listed on property or bills, children under the age of 18 shouldn't have a credit report. So if you check their credit and a report pops up--you've got a problem.

If they are a victim of credit fraud, take the credit report to the police immediately and file a report. Contact all companies where credit has been established and explain the fraud. Be sure to document all of these conversations and give this info to the police as well.

Be sure to call each of the credit reporting companies and them to remove all accounts, account inquiries, and collection notices from child's name and social security number. Have one of the companies place a fraud alert on their social security number--you only need to ask one because it will cover all three.