Even for the most identity theft-conscious people, the thought of thieves coming after and profiting from their children’s identity may not have crossed their minds. For many people the thought is too much to bear, so they have sprung into action to protect their kid’s identity. For identity thieves it’s the perfect theft because they have a clean slate on which to build a long and profitable credit history before it’s even noticed. There are countless stories of eight, nine and ten year children with credit records containing many accounts with debts into the tens of thousands of dollars. Cleaning up their records is not easy.
The only way to ensure that your child’s identity is not stolen is to keep his or her Social Security number under lock and key from the moment it is received. Never provide the number to any person other than a financial institution, a government agency or school authority. Never write it down and never provide it online. Online tax filers should be very careful about how their data is stored.