By Michael Axe
As parents, we do our best to protect our children from danger – from spreading germs and falling out of trees to talking to strangers. But we often forget to protect their identity from fraud, which can happen as soon as they have a Social Security number. Here are three precautionary steps parents can take to keep their child’s identity safe.
- Monitor your junk mail. If junk mail has your child’s name on it, check to make sure it’s not a preapproved loan offer. Preapproved credit offers in your child’s name could be an indicator that someone has used his or her information to apply for loans.
- Enroll your child in an identity protection program. Identity protection is not just for adults. Setting your child up for identity protection will make sure his or her Social Security number is being monitored for fraud. Many of these services will alert you in the event your child’s Social Security number is used to open new loan accounts. Identity protection services can also help remove fraudulent items from the credit report.
- Put a freeze on credit. Contact the credit bureaus and ask them to place a freeze on your child’s credit. This will prevent any loans or accounts from being able to be opened using your child’s Social Security number. When your child is old enough and ready to start building credit, your child can contact the credit bureaus and remove the freeze.
These three easy steps will help you protect your child’s identity and are far easier to set up now compared to trying to clean up fraudulent accounts later. Plus – as a benefit of membership, all members of Arizona Federal and their immediate family members have access to IDProtect™, Arizona Federal’s FREE identity protection service. To set up this service, call (602) 683-1000 or visit ArizonaFederal.org/IDProtect.