If you have a child, and they have a mobile phone, their chances of identity theft are at a remarkably higher risk of being stolen, than most adults. But thanks to the new United States federal law, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, and according to a WYTV interview with David Stanley, Cyber Express manager, your loved one’s identity, just got a lot harder to steal.
(WYTV) Keeping Kids Safe: Protecting your kids from identity theft
Children are favorite targets for data thieves, and it’s a crime that can go undetected for years. As parents, we often, unknowingly help hackers snatch our kid’s information all from a simple post.
But, a new law is allowing parents to check and freeze their kids’ credit with the three major agencies for free. And it’s all thanks to a new federal law called The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which began September 21, 2018.
If you haven’t thought about checking your children’s credit lately, WYTV reporter Lindsey Watson talked to cyber experts about why you may want to reconsider.
It’s an alarming statistic according to Experian. One in four kid’s identities gets stolen before they become an adult. But what makes children such easy targets for data thieves? Parents are often helping hackers snatch their information all with a simple post on social media.
“They’re trying to gain as much information about the person, you know birth dates, name, date, and then they can kinda go back and figure it all out, and put it all together. It’s kinda what they do right now, they SOCIAL hack you,” said David Stanley, Cyber Express manager.
Stanley refers to it as Social Hacking. “It boils down to if you put out your kid’s name, how old he is, or her,” Stanley said. While Stanley says they haven’t seen a child’s identity stolen yet, it’s something parents need to be aware of before it’s too late.
“We can go forward with you, hand-and-hand and figure it out together. Hopefully, your son or daughter isn’t a victim, and if they are let’s figure it out, make sure that everything is fine, get everybody on an even keel and start over,” he said.
7 Cyber Express Child Identification Protection Checklist
In our very connected world, our children do not comprehend that there are individuals out there ready to take advantage of their innocence. Along with the above interview, we’ve put together a quick and easy checklist, that gives you seven more ways you can protect your children’s identity when they can’t.
- Always remain cautious about what you disclose – More and more doctor’s offices, store rewards clubs, and schools are having us fill out electronic forms for our children. But it’s becoming too easy to accidentally give out our kid’s information, such as social security numbers, which if stolen, could take years to repair their credit.
- Monitor what the school gives to third-party vendors – Whether you realize it or not, schools do release children’s information to their vendors. Five pieces of information commonly published are photos, home addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and dates of birth. Contact your child’s school to learn if they have an opt-out process.
- Be on the lookout for what your child gives away – With social media, online forums, and gaming groups, our children are too eager to say just about anything, to stay connected or keep up with the latest online trends. Unfortunately, identity thieves know just the right words to say, getting your loved one to share personal information.
- Monitor your child’s finances monthly – Does your child have a bank account? College savings account? Or a trust fund? Once a month you get these account’s statements. Review them for any unusual activity, plus check with each financial institute, handling their accounts, and sign-up for mobile alerts.
- Watch for warning signs you would not expect – Should you receive a pre-approved credit card offer, with your underaged child’s name on the envelope, that’s typically not a computer glitch. If you are getting bills or collection notices addressed to your child, that’s not a coincidence. Should you get, in the mail, notice from the IRS your little one owes back taxes, their ID got stolen.
- Investigate to know if your children have a credit history you’re not aware of – Quite often, after some digging, an unsuspecting parent discovers, their child does indeed have a credit history. What is hard to believe is how that happened; when their minor child has never worked.
- Credit History examination steps to take are easy:
- Call the three major credit reporting agencies and ask for a manual search of files or records associated with 1) your child’s social security number only and 2) your child’s name and social security number tied together.
- You’ll be asked to provide copies of their social security number and birth certificate.
- Consider having a credit freeze placed on your child’s account.
- Numbers or email to get in touch: Equifax: 800-525-6285 / Experian: 888-397-3742 / TransUnion: firstname.lastname@example.org