Ohio Attorney Dave Yost recently announced that con artists are using children’s identity to fraudulently open accounts and receive unemployment benefits. “A victim’s age doesn’t matter to identity thieves so parents need to utilize all the available tools to protect their children,” he stated. “A freeze on your child’s credit report is free and can provide that security to lock out scammers.”
Officials indicated the best approach is for parents to proactively freeze their child’s credit report. Ohio currently ranks 18th in the United States for fraud reports, according to a report from the Federal Trade Commission with approximately 14,000 victims of 19-years-old or younger. Theives are using children’s identities to open cellphone accounts, utilities, credit cards, and even mortgages.
Officials add that children are prime targets because parents and kids are rarely looking at their credit reports. This type of fraud is usually only discovered when a child applies for college, financial aid, a car loan, or employment.
Five signs your child may have fallen victim to identity theft:
- Your child receives phone calls or letters from collection agencies.
- If your child receives a credit card in the mail in his or her own name (and you didn’t add the child as an authorized user of any of your existing accounts).
- Your child gets denied for government benefits because those benefits are already being paid to someone else using the same Social Security number.
- Your child receives notices from the IRS regarding unpaid income taxes or indicating his or her Social Security number was used on another tax return.
- If your child receives pre-approved offers of credit or insurance in the mail in their name.