Child identity fraud happens more often than you might think.
According to a study published by Javelin Strategy and Research late last year, 915,000 U.S. children were victims of identity fraud between 2021 and 2022. The same study also found that the personal information of 1 in 43 children was exposed and potentially compromised last year in a data breach.
“One of the biggest problems we face when minors have their identity compromised is the lack of notification,” says Tracey Kitten, director of fraud and security at Javelin Strategy and Research. “So it’s not until you go to apply for a student loan, when a child goes to college, or maybe when a child applies for their first job – we’re talking age 15 or 16 – that you realize, hey, something happens to the loan.”
Kitten said that if you discover that your child’s personal information has been potentially compromised in a data breach, the best thing you can do is freeze your child’s credit history. To do this, you will need to contact each of the three main credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and Transunion – by mail.
You can learn more about what you need to do for each of them by clicking on the following links:
Kitten also recommends that you register your family with a credit monitoring service.
You don’t have to wait until you have a problem to complete any of these steps. You can take the initiative and set up a credit block for your child, even if their personal information has not been compromised.