Child Identity Theft: How to Avoid It

Adults are not the only victims of fraud. In the United States, child identity theft is a major issue. According to Javelin Strategy & Research's 2022 Child Identity Fraud Study, 915,000 American children were victims of identity fraud between July 2021 and July 2022, costing a single household an average of $1,128. However, the figures are likely to be higher because kid identity theft is frequently underreported. Identity thieves and scammers prey on youngsters since their credit history is a blank slate, and most of the time, the theft is uncovered when the child grows up and applies for credit as a young adult.

Here are some pointers to help safeguard children against identity theft:

  •  Social security numbers are the most vulnerable piece of information. The Federal Trade Commission advises not giving a child's social security number unless it is with a known and reputable institution, after questioning how they are going to safeguard the information and suggesting an alternate identity.
  • When giving a school or business personally identifiable information, inquire about how confidential papers are maintained and disposed of. Inquire if they employ a secure document destruction service, such as Mobile Record Shredders®.
  • Learn about the privacy regulations that protect personal information. For example, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) allows parents of school-age children to opt out of sharing contact or other directory information with third parties.
  • Personal information about children (such as social security cards, birth certificates, and passports) should be kept in a safe or locked cabinet. Unfortunately, many cases of child identity theft occur inside families. A family member with close access to the home can steal documents revealing a child's personal information and open accounts in their name.
  • When no longer needed, shred all documents containing a child's personal information rather than throwing them away or recycling them. Secure document destruction services, such as Mobile Record Shredders®, provide quick and easy residential shredding choices such as:
    • Services for one-time pick-up. Choose a day for us where we will come to you and collect your bags and boxes of confidential material. Your documents will be shredded at a secure facility, and you will be provided with a Proof of Service.
    • Drop-off services are available. You can also drop off your private documents at a nearby location. This solution is suited for paper quantities that are too small for a one-time or recurring shredding service. Click here to find out where you can drop off your paper for shredding today.
  • Teach your children to safeguard their personal information wherever they go, especially on social media. Never post your entire name, address, date of birth, or any other sensitive information.
  • When not in use, ensure that smartphones, laptops, and tablets are locked and protected.
  • We store a large number of personal papers on our electronic devices. The preferred method for making data unavailable is to physically destroy hard drives and other electronic devices. Throwing away obsolete equipment or deleting data does not necessarily destroy the memory, which could be taken by unwanted persons.  A hard drive destruction service such as Mobile Record Shredders® provides cutting-edge destruction in two forms: crushing and shearing.

Learn more about how Mobile Record Shredders® secure document destruction services can help you protect your child's identity.

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