COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - We have all heard of identity theft, but did you know that your child's identity can be hijacked and their perfect credit ruined, and it's all undetected?
It's scary but true. A child's credit is perfect, and scammers know it. But there are things you can do now to protect your kids' financial future.
Credit is no child's play, but scammers are out there, looking for the innocence of youth on paper.
"You have no problems, no one asks questions, it's perfect," says Maria Audas of the SC Dept. of Consumer Affairs.
Audas says thieves go looking for that flawless credit report. They can wreak havoc for years, and you'll never know unless you act now.
"Go ahead an check your child's credit report. They shouldn't have any questions, no line items, no inquiries for loans," says Audas.
If so, thieves have probably gotten ahold of their social security number. Parents should take great care in protecting that information.
"Lock it away in a safe place that only parents know about it. Kids don't need it until they look for credit," says Audas.
And it shouldn't come looking for them. Watch for credit card offers addressed to your young person, and be cautious of if extracurricular activities or sports demand a social security number.
You can also place a freeze on you or your child's credit at no cost, locking out a thief from robbing a child's financial future.
"Obviously a child doesn't need credit and placing a freeze can make sure that no one else can," says Audas.
You can always remove the freeze, or thaw the report for certain inquiries. The process takes about 15 minutes to do, and again, it's free.
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