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The Resource Center Child Identity Theft & Protection | article

Identity Theft Tips for Busy Back-to-School Moms

Before sending their children off to school, many moms spend the last days of summer looking for items that may have been left off earlier back-to-school to-do lists. While ensuring that their son or daughter’s backpack has all the essential items can be beneficial, parents may want to consider how they handle requests by school systems and other officials for their child’s personal financial information.

According to a 2010 study by Carnegie Mellon, around 10 percent of all children in the United States had their Social Security numbers used improperly. Many times this information is used by a friend or relative who has access to certain data about the child. Parents can follow a few tips before letting their child board the bus with sensitive financial data.

Requests from School Officials
In some cases, a school may ask for a copy of a child’s birth certificate. However, more commonly children must supply their name, address or family phone number. Even though this information is often out in the open in the digital age, this small amount of personal data could be enough for identity thieves to commit fraud.

Moms who respond to queries about a child’s personal information from a school official should ask where these individuals will be storing the information. If the data is necessary for the child’s enrollment in a certain program, careful moms may want to ask that any forms be sent back to the household after their use.

Requests from Employers
Moms with older teenagers may be encouraging them to gain their financial footing this school year by getting a part-time job. Regardless of where the child is working, moms may want to take this opportunity to explain to their teens why paperwork containing personal information needs to be handled carefully.

Parents should try taking some time to talk to the child, and explain some of the negative effects that could happen if the data was to fall into the wrong hands.

Checking a Child’s Credit Report
Whether the child is just starting first grade or entering his senior year of high school, parents can check their child’s credit reports and scores* when they examine their own copies of this information with each of the three major credit bureaus. For enhanced credit protection, moms may even want to comprehensive identity theft software for the family computer.

*The scores you receive with Identity Guard® are provided for educational purposes to help you understand your credit. Lenders use many different credit scoring systems, and the scores you receive with Identity Guard are not the same scores used by lenders to evaluate your credit.

Credit scores are provided by CreditXpert based on data from the credit reporting bureaus.