NEW YORK – It's not just adults who should be concerned about identity theft. Young children and teens are at risk, too, because they have unblemished — that is, no — credit records. So reports the Identity Theft Resource Center.
Young people are also easy targets because the theft may not be realized until years later, when the victim tries to open a new bank account or apply for his or her first credit card. Some warning signs of child identity theft include:
Pre-approved credit-card offers arriving in the mail for your child.
Bank, credit-card or other financial statements that arrive in your child's name. This excludes those accounts that are held jointly by you and your child.
Collection-agency notifications or calls in your child's name.
To protect your child from identity theft:
Don't carry his or her Social Security card in your wallet or purse.
Be cautious with the release of your child's personal information.
Limit the copies of your child's birth certificate and Social Security number that you give out. You may be asked to provide such copies in order to allow your child to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities, reports the Identity Theft Resource Center. If so, make sure you ask who will have access to the information and where it will be stored.
Talk to your child about why he or she should not give out personal information. Be sure you stress the importance of safeguarding information on the Internet.
Check your child's credit report annually with any of the national credit report bureaus. It will include any legitimate accounts (if your teen has a credit card), as well as any unauthorized accounts and requests for credit.