Child Identity Theft – Are Your Kids at Risk?
We live in a day and age where data is always available at our fingertips. But when it’s your children’s data that is available to identity thieves, there could be significant issues you may not notice for years.
Recent Trends in Child Identity Theft
According to a recent study completed by Javelin Strategy and Research, a million minors were victims of child identity theft in 2017. That means nearly 13% of children in the United States could already be victims, and we may not yet know the full extent.
We saw an all-time high for data breaches in 2017 and that included personal information of children, not just adults. This information can then be bought and sold on the dark web, the Black Market of the internet, for just a few dollars.
Why is Child Identity Theft on the rise?
With a child’s Social Security number, a fraudster can create a fictitious, or “synthetic” ID, create a credit file, and apply for credit using your child’s information. Unless you check your child’s credit – an uncommon practice – you may not realize this has happened until it is too late.
With your child’s information, someone could also file a fraudulent return using your child as a dependent, potentially receiving credits and deductions from the IRS they aren’t entitled to. Subsequently, your tax return and your refund could be held up with the IRS for months while they sort it out.
How to Protect Your Child from Identity Theft
Child identity theft protection is something you can proactively do with these tips:
- Check their credit report regularly. Get their free report once per year at annualcreditreport.com. Note: there are additional verification requirements for children under the age of 14.
- Purchase Tax Identity Shield® for your minor dependents. If your minor dependents are Tax Identity Shield® members, they can take advantage of the following benefits.
- Scan for their info using the Black Market Internet Scanning. You can add their information to the child monitoring feature on your homepage and we will provide daily monitoring of the dark web where their info can be bought and sold.
- Watch for any Tax Identity Shield® efile notifications next tax season. If anyone uses your child’s information in the H&R Block systems, you will receive a text and/or email.
- If there is anything odd that may indicate child identity theft, call us at 1-855-472-8657. We can help any Tax Identity Shield® member (minor or adult) apply for IRS protections and more.
- Freeze your child’s credit reports. This will prevent anyone from using their credit info until it is unlocked. See each of the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) for information and laws for your state.