Fraud protection: Tips for keeping children safe
Unfortunately, identity theft isn’t something that only affects adults. To learn how to spot fraud and how to protect our families, ParentingNH reached out to Triangle Credit Union’s Vice of President of Data Services, Jose Rivera Hernandez, who is spearheading efforts to minimize fraudulent activities within its data environment. With his guidance, Triangle’s Senior Management and Data Services teams are supporting enhanced security endeavors to keep Triangle and its member accounts information safe and secure.
What are some of the warning signs that my child’s identity has been used fraudulently?
Hernandez: “Childhood identity theft has been increasing over the past few years. According to a 2018 Child Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research, over 1 million children have been victims of identity theft in the past year and 2/3 of the children affected were under the age of 8. The three top causes for concern or warnings that your child’s identity/information has been compromised include collection inquiries received in your child’s name, credit card offers arrive in your mail with your child’s name, and product and services offers are sent to your child.”
How can I protect my child’s personal data?
Hernandez: “A quick way to safeguard your child’s personal data is to freeze his/her credit. This can be done by calling the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Transunion, and Experian), print out child freeze request forms, mail the request and document copies. Calling the credit bureaus is a good way to check if there has been fraud in your child’s name. Usually bureaus will ask for some verification from the parent or legal guardian in order to verify the child’s report. Be selective about who you share your child’s social information with. Not everyone who asks for your child’s Social Security information needs it. You have the right to ask what the information will be used for and how it will be used, stored and protected. If you are still wary, ask if there’s an alternative to providing your child’s social security number. Sometimes kids give out certain information without knowing. Educate your children by having a conversation about sharing sensitive information with people they don’t know. Teach your children smart Internet behavior and give them pointers on how to spot scams and suspicious solicitations.”
What are some of the ways I can limit the risks of child identity theft?
Hernandez: “As identity theft issues increase, consumers are looking to identity theft protection services for help. Consumers should look for identity protection coverage like Triangle’s Better Checking account that offers identity theft protection for the whole family and covers children up to the age of 25. In addition, consider freezing your child’s credit with the three major credit bureaus and minimize sharing your child’s social security number.”