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The Resource Center Credit Fraud & Credit Monitoring | article

Avoid Giving Checks as Gifts to Younger Recipients This Holiday Season

When children are young, a simple toy can make them swoon with joy on Christmas morning, however, as kids grow older, it only gets harder for parents and loved ones to shop for them over the holiday season. In many cases, these once easy-to-please youngsters are now so preoccupied with trends of the moment they demand very specific gifts.

For family members who may not know what presents to buy because they aren't hip to current trends, giving cash gifts is an easy and generally safe option. However, signing off on a check and gifting it to an adolescent may be hazardous to the safety of the gift-giver's identity.

If these documents get stolen, a thief will have complete access to your bank account
Checks have a whole bevy of information printed onto them that would give an identity thief all the tools needed to open up fraudulent accounts. First off, the bank number that they would need to make a withdrawal from the checking account is displayed plainly in the lower left-hand corner of the document. Not only would the amount requested on the check be compromised should a thief deposit it, but they could use the account number to request new checks drain it in no time.

Other information may allow a thief to open up new lines of credit
As well, the account holder's name and address are displayed on the header of the check, which are two vital pieces of personal identification information (PII) that thieves can use to open up new accounts. The victim may then be left with the bill and a diminished credit score once an identity thief uses the fraudulent credit line to make purchases.

Stick to cash or gift cards so your PII isn't in the hands of a forgetful youngster
Checks should be avoided at all costs when giving out monetary gifts during the holiday season. This way, should the present be misplaced or stolen, the risk of identity theft for the gift-giver will be eliminated. This is especially true when giving gifts to younger relatives or loved ones who may not fully grasp the concept of financial responsibility having no credit of their own yet.

Before anyone exchanges gifts this holiday season, revelers should enroll in a credit monitoring service so that they will be alerted of certain changes that could indicate fraudulent activity taking place in their names throughout this busy commercial season.