How to protect your children from identity theft


Protecting your child's credit from the minute they are born: It's not something new parents are thinking about, but a Carnegie-Mellon Cylab study found, nationally, kids are 50 times more likely to have their identities stolen than their parents.

That's because children are free of bad credit and it can take years and years to discover someone has been using their social security number.

Before your child turns one, they can owe thousands of dollars in credit card debt, own a new car, or even have a warrant for their arrest because there is no system that checks whether specific Social Security numbers are linked to the right names and birth dates.

"There's nothing that flag that goes up that says 'this is a two-year-old,'" Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said.

In September 2016, Ohio lawmakers gave parents the power to protect their children's financial future. The so-called child freeze law lets you freeze your child's credit until he or she turns 16.

DeWine said parents should be stingy in giving out their child's social security number to schools, doctors or anyone who asks for it.

"I would ask, 'why do you need the child's social security?'" DeWine said.

There are some red flags to watch for that could indicate someone has stolen your child's identity.

If you receive a call from a collection agency looking for your child, or if you receive a pre-approved credit card offer directed at your child, police say don't laugh it off.

Instead, you should request your child's credit report from the three major credit bureaus.

If you believe your child's social security number has been compromised, you should contact the Ohio Attorney General's Identity Theft Unit to ask for help restoring your child's financial future.