While virtual schooling has been the norm for most of the past year, aggressive testing strategies and vaccine rollouts have slowly led to the resumption of in-person learning in schools throughout the U.S. Meanwhile, there has been an unprecedented rise in identity theft during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents have had to exercise extra caution while easing their children into a remote learning environment.
Keep Your Child Safe when Classroom Learning Resumes
However, it is no longer sufficient to keep your child safe during online learning alone. You may have to remain equally vigilant once your child moves back into the classroom learning format. The qualified and experienced team at Crown Information Management offers some suggestions for protecting your child’s identity during in-person schooling.
Tips to Prevent Child Identity Fraud in and Outside of School
Since children do not have credit reports, their records serve as a blank slate for fraudsters, who can carry out illegal activities for several years, without being detected or caught. Identity thieves can use a child’s information for
- Synthetic identity theft (creating fake identities using false or factual information from different people)
- Filing false tax returns
- Opening bank accounts and applying for credit cards
- Renting a place to live or setting up utilities
- Claiming tax credits and exemptions
- Getting cell phone connections or buying a vehicle
Often, the first time that such activities come to light are when the child turns 18 and starts applying for relevant benefits, credit cards, loans, utilities, or licenses. However, here are some options to protect your child from identity theft.
1. Check for Your Child’s Credit Report: If you find a credit report in the name of your child, it is a red flag indicating a possible child identity theft. Inform the credit bureau and provide relevant proof to ensure that the officials take note of the issue and treat it as a formal complaint. You can also look for a credit monitoring product or service that allows you to add children, monitor their credit reports for suspicious activities, and lock or unlock your child’s report.
2. Go for a Free Security Freeze: In this option, you can get a credit report made for your child and then freeze it until the child turns 16. For a security freeze to work, you may need to provide proof of identity for yourself and your child independently to all three nationwide credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
In addition to managing the credit report,
- Do not part with any information about your child unless necessary. For example, ask your child’s school or doctor whether they can work with the last 4 digits of your child’s Social Security Number, instead of sharing the complete number with them. If they need to track the entire information, don’t hesitate to ask questions about how they manage the data that they collect, who has access to it, and what measures do they deploy to safeguard the child’s identity.
- Keep documents, such as birth certificate, Social Security card, medical insurance card, passport, and other important legal documents safe under lock and key. Be careful while making copies of your child’s important records that contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
- Use strong passwords and encryption methods for electronic records pertaining to your child.
- Always shred redundant documents to prevent them from landing in the hands of fraudsters.
At Crown Information Management, we offer reliable and affordable solutions for records storage as well as disposal. You can count on us for systematic records management, as well as safe and permanent destruction of physical and digital records.
Call 800-979-9545 or contact us online to explore our complete suite of services.