As your kids get ready to head back to school, you’re likely going to have a lot of paperwork to contend with to make sure that everything goes off without a hitch. While your children will be writing essays and book reports, you’ll be filling out enrollment forms not just for classes but for extracurricular activities and field trips that will often ask for your child’s personal identification information – a key reason why you need to think about protection from identity theft.
The number of reported child identity theft cases in the U.S. has increased by 200 percent since 2003, according to reports from the Federal Trade Commission. A 2011 Carnegie Mellon CyLab study found that one in 10 children has had their identity compromised, and it appears that unless parents get serious about protection from identity theft, these statistics will only get worse.
To help ward off thieves, make sure that you only carry your child’s birth certificate and Social Security card with you when it is absolutely necessary. When you don’t require them, make sure that they are locked up in a safe place within the home where no one can access them.
Unless you have initiated the call, never supply your child’s Social Security number over the phone, as you can’t verify that the person on the end is really who they say they are and not just interested in identity theft.
Also, don’t be tempted to use your child’s personal information to open up accounts. Remember, protection from identity theft begins at home.