Warning signs of identity theft

What Do Thieves Do With Your Information?

Once identity thieves have your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, open new utility accounts, or get medical treatment on your health insurance. An identity thief can file a tax refund in your name and get your refund. In some extreme cases, a thief might even give your name to the police during an arrest.

Clues That Someone Has Stolen Your Information

  • You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
  • You don’t get your bills or other mail.
  • Merchants refuse your checks.
  • Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.
  • You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
  • Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
  • Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
  • A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
  • The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
  • You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.
  • If your wallet, Social Security number, or other personal information is lost or stolen, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself from identity theft.

Child Identity Theft

Identity theft on a child can go undiscovered for years. While parents may have a system of alerts and credit checks to protect their own credit, kids are easier targets. Identity theft on a child can go undiscovered for years. You may not become aware until your child is turned down for a job or loan due to a horrible credit history.

Signs that your child’s credit history has been compromised include:

  1. Your child is denied a bank account or driver’s license
  2. Credit card and loan offers addressed to your child
  3. Collection calls or bills addressed to your child
  4. Being turned down for government benefits because the Social Security number is already in use
  5. A notice from the IRS that your child owes income taxes or was claimed as a dependent on another return

Don’t immediately panic if you receive a credit card offer in your child’s name. Financial companies sometimes mistakenly send credit card offers to a minor but be on alert if you suddenly start receiving a lot of mail that would typically be for adults.

Check Your Child’s Credit Report

It isn’t as easy to check a child’s credit report as it is to check your own. You’ll have to mail or fax in documentation proving you are the parent or guardian. Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion each have their own process for checking a minor’s credit report. To learn more, please visit: http://www.fraudsmarts.com/identity/