If you’ve recently added a little bundle of joy to your family, then you have a laundry list of things to do. And new on that list should be protecting them from identity theft.
According to experts, hackers love to steal children’s’ identities because it can go undetected for 18 years.
So what can you do to prevent it?
Request a credit freeze as soon as they’re born. If you have a child who’s a little older and you want to freeze it now. Get a credit report first.
Carrie Kerskie, president of Griffon Force says, “You can go to annualcreditreport.com and try and enter your child’s information and see if you can obtain credit reports. It should come back saying no report found. If it comes back with a report, your child’s already a victim.”
Thanks to new federal laws, accounts are now free to freeze.
The law allows parents and guardians to freeze the files of their charges who are under the age of 16. Children who are over 16 would be treated as adults and be able to freeze the file on their own, according to Rod Griffin, director of consumer education and awareness at Experian.
But be sure to keep the pin number in a safe place. Since you’re likely freezing credit for a long time, it may be difficult to remember this number years later. And, again, the pin number is the only way to get access to a frozen report without spending time and energy proving that you’re not a crook.
Also, if you’re the financial guardian of a person who is incapacitated – perhaps a parent with dementia — the law allows you to freeze that person’s file on their behalf.