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Protect Your Family From Identity Theft

Written by Eve Becker on April 30, 2012 in Credit  |   6 comments

Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States, says the Identity Theft Resource Center, a non-profit organization that specializes in helping victims of identity theft. As complaints are on the rise, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has become more involved in…

Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States, says the Identity Theft Resource Center, a non-profit organization that specializes in helping victims of identity theft.

As complaints are on the rise, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has become more involved in tracking identity theft complaints. It has compiled a database that aids law enforcement, and the FTC and the IRS have worked together on outreach efforts such as OnGuardOnline.gov.

Child identity theft is often more difficult to detect because parents typically have no reason to be suspicious,” says Steven Toporoff, an attorney with the FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection.

“The long-term consequences can be significant,” he adds. “Child identity theft victims can be denied employment, housing, student or car loans, or other types of credit. They may also have problems with the IRS, such as unreported income. In some instances, they may be victims of criminal identity theft, in which case the police think the child has committed some kind of crime because the true suspect has used the child’s identity.”

“Parents should determine whether a child has a credit report when the child turns 16,” Toporoff advises. “If there are problems, that will provide the time needed to clean up the credit history before the child needs credit, such as taking out a car loan.”

“Part of the problem in determining the prevalence of child identity theft is the crime is largely unknown,” he says. “If you surveyed parents about their children, most parents would not know whether their child have been victimized.”

Steps you can take to recover from identity theft

It’s important to minimize the potential damage from identity theft. If you are a victim, the IRS advises you to:

  • Contact the Identity Protection Specialized Unit at (800) 908-4490 and visit irs.gov/identitytheft.
  • Put a fraud alert on your credit reports.
  • Review your credit reports.
  • Create an identity theft report by filing an identity theft complaint with the FTC and filing a police report.
  • Avoid phishing scams. The IRS generally does not contact taxpayers by email. If you get an email that claims to be from the IRS, do not reply or click on any links. Instead, forward it to phishing@irs.gov.

For more information about Child ID theft and how to protect your family, visit Equifax’s Family Plan.

The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.


  1. Jennifer B. says:

    My children were used on my parents’ Tax Return in 2015. I sent my children to live with my parents in the middle of October 2014. My parents claim they have the right to claim MY children on THEIR Tax Return as long as they were in the home by December 31st & had temporary custody of them. I need to know if this is TRUE and what I can do about it either way. I have asked several people and they all say that the children must have been in THEIR home for no less than SIX MONTHS out of the year & that they are bullying me & doing this ILLEGALLY. Can ANYONE help me??? I have never had this problem before, & in order to get my children back, I need our Taxes…

  2. Anonymous says:

    In Ohio the child has to live with that person at least six months to be able to claim them. Plus they have to prove that they was there for six months

  3. Keiaira says:

    I have an ex that has claimed out daughter on his 2014-2015 tax returns. He has been much of a help financially to her as well.He’s only around when convenient for him. He does have a job- but he is NOT involved in her life yet he keeps rushing out and using her. I am the SOLE provider..Is there anything I can do to stop him from continuing to do this?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I been really upset that I have a children getting claim on taxes and they are not even aloud to be around my children do to hurting to my son what can I do

  5. Anonymous says:

    How can I stop it from happing this year

  6. Laquaine says:

    Some one stole and claimed a few of my kids on their tax returns.I woulnt ever allow that to happen without permission.Now im going to get to the bottom of this asap.:(

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