We have all heard about thieves stealing the identity of one person or another. Maybe you, personally, have been the victim of such a crime. If so, you know full well how frustrating and burdensome it is to remedy the problems that occur as a result of having your credit stolen. What is even more frightening is the fact that this could be happening to our children without anyone ever knowing…until it is too late.
Most financial accounts that are established for minors, are initially set up by using a parent’s social security number. Often times, children do not utilize their own social security number to obtain credit until they become an adult, or at minimum, during the high-school years. Unfortunately, lack of credit and a dormant social security number could lead to years of credit abuse without any red flags whatsoever. It isn’t until your child is ready to establish his or her own credit, that he or she learns that someone has already ruined their credit through years of fraudulent activity. Now, your adult child is forced to jump through hoops in an attempt to resolve the erroneous charges incurred against his or her credit without their knowledge. Unfortunately, some of the fraudulent activity may never be fully removed from their credit report which may cause headaches for years to come.
As parents, we take our children’s health seriously. We take them for annual check-ups with their physician, but did you ever think of doing a regular credit check-up? Just like your child’s medical chart, his or her social security number and credit report will follow them for life. Similar to a medical condition, if left untreated, infections can occur. Without annual credit check-ups, you could be setting the stage for major financial problems in the future.
You might ask what can be done to prevent this from happening to your child? The answer is simple. Run a credit report with your child’s social security number to ensure that there are no unknown transactions/activity that point to fraudulent activity. Did you know that you can obtain a ‟free” annual credit report through our Federal Government? We suggest that everyone, no matter the age, obtain a free credit report each year, and conduct a personal credit check-up for yourself and your child(ren). A great annual reminder is ‟Tax Day” or April 15. You can use this date to conduct your annual credit check-ups. No matter which day you choose, make sure to run a credit check for you and your children every twelve (12) months.
You can visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website at: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov to obtain information about how to run your free annual credit report, as well as find helpful resources and information that can assist you in keeping your children’s identity safe and secure. Protect them just as you do in every other aspect of their life. Please note that there are a number of impostor websites that offer ‟free credit reports” and other services relative thereto. Be sure to use caution when obtaining your annual credit report. Check the domain name of the website, as most government websites contain ‟.gov” in the address. It’s important to check the validity of the website before providing any of your personal information.
This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.