As the new school year rolls around, parents are inundated with paperwork, much of which asks for child ID information. In many cases the request for personal identifiable information on your child is reasonable; however, there are times when it's unnecessary. And, in some cases, your child's identification information is not well protected. So how do you handle this?
Protect Identity Information when Registering for School
Each year parents are asked to complete registration forms for their child's schooling. They may want to know who to get in touch with in case of an emergency and how to get a hold of that person. Schools also ask for your child's date of birth and they may even ask for your child's social security number.
Of course, this is information that schools will use to place your child with his or her peers; however, it can be used by unscrupulous individuals to steal your child's identity. So, before you hand over this sensitive information, ask the following questions:
- How will this information be used?
- Who has access to the information?
- Is the information stored in a secure location?
When it comes to child ID protection, it's important that you're aware of how the information will be use and stored. Asking the above questions is a good first step.
Identity Vulnerability in After-School Programs
The after-school programs your child participates in may also ask some of these same questions. They may want to have your child's birth date, address, phone number, and other personal identification information on hand; however, not all programs truly need this information. In addition, some after school programs don't have adequate security measures in place.
Talk to those in charge of the after-school programs you're considering. Ask them the same questions you've asked the administrators at your child's school. Also, ask if providing the organization with your child's age is sufficient or if they truly need your child's birth date.
Safeguard Your Child's Social Security Number
In addition, you should be extremely cautious about handing over your child's social security number. This number can be used by others to steal your child's identity. In fact, a Carnegie Mellon University study found that children are 50 times more likely than adults to have their identity stolen.
Unfortunately 10 million Americans fall victim to identity theft every year and the financial mess that results can take years to sort out. Knowing how to protect child ID information can go a long way toward safeguarding your kids from this type of crime.