Attorney General Todd Rokita is warning Hoosier parents that child identity theft is on the rise.
1.3 million children have their identities stolen every year and scammers often use children’s Social Security numbers, names, addresses, or dates of birth to apply for services, like health care coverage or nutrition assistance, open a bank or credit card account, apply for a loan, sign up for a utility service, or even rent a place to live.
Attorney General Rokita, along with the Federal Trade Commission, is offering the following tips to protect your child from identity theft:
- Ask questions before giving anyone your child’s Social Security number, even if it is the child’s school. Ask questions like Why do you need it? How will you protect it? Can you use a different identifier? Or can you use just the last four digits of the Social Security number?
- If you have documents with your child’s personal information, like medical bills or their Social Security card, keep them in a safe place like a locked file cabinet. When you decide to get rid of those documents, shred them before you throw them away; and if you don’t have a shredder, look for a local shred day.
- Delete all personal information before disposing of a computer or cell phone. Your computer and phone might contain personal information about your child.
- And as a parent or legal guardian, a security freeze is one tool you can use to restrict certain access to your minor dependent’s credit report. When you request a security freeze be placed on your minor dependent’s credit report, a credit report is created for the minor and then frozen. Once a security freeze is placed on your child’s credit report, it restricts certain access to it, including by fraudsters who may be trying to open a new account using the child’s ID. Security freezes are free but must be placed separately with all 3 national credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). You’ll need to provide copies of documentation that verify your ID; the minor dependent’s ID; and your relationship to them.
If your child’s identity is hacked, report and close the fraudulent accounts, freeze your child’s credit, and contact Attorney General Rokita’s staff by visiting in.gov/attorneygeneral or calling 1-800-382-5516.