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The Resource Center Child Identity Theft & Protection | article

Resolve to Protect Your Child’s Identity in the New Year

When you are younger, the New Year's Resolutions you make are usually about trivial things. A college freshman, for example, is probably more concerned about hitting the gym or getting a better tan than protecting their credit score. This is why parents need to step in and make resolutions for their kids to help keep them protected from becoming the victims of identity theft in the New Year. By doing so, your co-ed can focus on their studies and worry less about an identity thief potentially ruining their good credit — after all, they may need it to take out loans to finance next semester.

The mail room in many dorms isn't always secure
In most dorms, the mailboxes are lumped together in the front lobby where dozens of kids could be gathered at any given moment. Because of the crowds, areas like this are prime locations for theft to occur. So if a letter that contains personal identification information (PII), such as a date of birth or Social Security number (SSN), doesn't make it to the dorm mailbox, it could land in the hands of a thief who might use it to open up fraudulent accounts.

A post office always has security measures in place
The local United States Postal Service (USPS) office is a government building and guarantees a level of security that may not be available in the mail room of a dormitory. By having your son or daughter receive mail from a box at the post office that is protected with a key as well as government employees, they may stand a better chance of avoiding illicit activity.

Can you prevent your kids from becoming a victim?
Prevention is never a guarantee, but you can take precautions to help your kids stay safer. For instance, always be sure not to mail any important documents that would contain your student's personal information in the first place. These documents should remain at home in a safe place while they're at school and should only be taken out when absolutely necessary. If your child needs something, such as their passport or birth certificate, make sure to deliver it to them in person rather than relying on the postal service.

Your child can also enroll in a credit monitoring program if they are 18 or over, or you can enroll them in child identity theft protection if they are under 18. Either service can help protect them — either while they're still at home, or while they're away studying hard at college.