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Child Identity Theft: Warning Signs Your Child's Identity Is Being Used


Identity theft is terrible, no matter whom it happens to, but it seems even more offensive when it's carried out against a child. No one wants to learn that their child's identity has been compromised, but you can't rectify the situation until you learn about it. Keep watch for these signs that your child has been the victim of identity theft.

Your child's school has experienced a data breach.

School records contain valuable information about your child, and if those records are broken into, the hackers will have access to your child's data. Of course, a data breach is no guarantee that your child's identity will be stolen, but it certainly ups the chances. If the school informs you of such an event, be extra vigilant to keep your eyes open for other signs of theft.

Demands for payment are coming in.

Your little one shouldn't have any debts, so if a collection agency is calling to talk to her, that's a sign that someone else has been racking up charges in her name. When these calls start coming, it's important for an adult in the home to request specific information from the collection agency.

Requests for payment could also arrive in the form of bills. These could be bills for medical care, product purchases or other services that you did not receive.

Your child is denied government benefits.

If someone else is claiming benefits using your child's Social Security number, your child will be turned down if you apply for those same benefits for him.

Your family runs into tax troubles.

If an adult is using your child's Social Security number, you'll be denied the right to claim your child as a dependent on your taxes. Receiving such a notice from the IRS when you know you have the legal right to claim him as a dependent is an identity theft warning sign.

Another red flag is a notice from the IRS that your child did not pay his income taxes.

Your child has a credit report.

Minors cannot be issued credit reports. If you find out that yours has one, someone else has been fraudulently using her financial information.

If you are concerned that your child has been a victim of identity theft, it's important to take action right away. Contact one of the three credit reporting companies and the Federal Trade Commission to begin the process.

Meghan Ross is a freelance writer covering all things home and living. Her work can be found on

For more information, visit CBS San Francisco's Identity Theft section

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