Let's face it-- it's getting harder and harder to keep our kids from technology. Nowadays, they have more access to web sites and apps than ever before. While our smart technology can keep our children entertained, connected and occupied, thieves may be able to get a hold of your child’s personal information. Unfortunately, you may not become aware of a compromise until they try to find employment, rent an apartment or get a loan for school or a car. Here's how to protect your child's information.
1. Check with each credit bureau to see if they have a credit report
If your child is about to turn 16, you may want to do this, even if you don’t suspect their identity has been stolen. If they have a credit report, request a copy and use the information they provide to remove all fraudulent activity. You may also ask each of the credit reporting companies to do a manual search of the child’s file.
2. Request a credit freeze for your child, if your state allows it
If your child's information has been compromised, go to the websites of each credit bureau for instructions on how to freeze your child's credit.
3. Send letters requesting the companies remove information
This includes all accounts, inquiries and collection notices in your child’s name or information. Be sure to include a copy of the Uniform Minor’s Status Declaration available on the Federal Trade Commission’s website. You should also contact the businesses where the child’s information was used.
4. Educate your children on online safety
Pass on everything you're learning about protecting your information to your children. Our kids soak up a lot of what we show and tell them. Be sure to check in with them regularly to see what apps they are downloading and what web sites they are using. Install parental restrictions on their devices starting at an early age.
5. Limit who has access to your child’s personal information
Read the notices sent from your child’s school pertaining to directories and how your child’s information is used. You have the right, under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), to opt out of sharing your child’s contact and other directory information with third parties.