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What to Do If Your Child Is a Victim of Identity Theft

Written by Peter Schoenrock on April 2, 2012 in Credit  |   8 comments

Have you been a victim of identity theft? If so, you know the pain of discovering thousands of dollars of unauthorized charges and of untangling fraudulent accounts from your credit report. When your child is the victim of identity theft, the difficulties can be magnified….

Have you been a victim of identity theft? If so, you know the pain of discovering thousands of dollars of unauthorized charges and of untangling fraudulent accounts from your credit report. When your child is the victim of identity theft, the difficulties can be magnified. How do you go about recovering and improving the credit of someone who has no credit?

Warning signs of identity theft

Without an existing credit report or financial identity, the first red flags for identity theft could be odd mail. Your child may receive pre-approval for credit or a credit application—things someone with no credit activity shouldn’t be receiving—or collection notices or a Social Security earnings statement. Another red flag might be raised if you go to open your young child’s first savings account only to find that there’s already an account on file. Marietta Jelks of the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies says she’s even heard of teenagers who can’t get a driver’s license because someone is already using their Social Security number.

Who do you need to notify?

First, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Child identity theft is one of the agency’s biggest priorities, and while the FTC can help you with your individual situation, your case might also help prevent future identity theft.

You should also go to the police. Bring as much information as possible when you file your police report. Take credit reports, bills, collection notices, and anything else you have to make the case that your child’s identity has been stolen.

If you can figure out where your identity thief has opened accounts, contact the fraud department at these corporations. This is where your police report will come in handy. Companies won’t close accounts just because you say so; you’ll have to provide proof that these accounts are fraudulent.

How to check your child’s credit report

With a copy of your police report, you can now request a copy of any information on file by the three credit reporting agencies. The request will need to be in writing.

Once you have your credit reports, you’ll want to contact any credit issuers or collection agencies listed on the credit report or who have been in contact with you. Give them copies of the police report and the credit report. Explain that this is a case of child identity theft and that the contract is not binding due to the age of the child at the time the contract was written.

Ask to have all accounts, application inquiries, and collection notices removed immediately from your child’s credit report. You can do this via the credit issuer or through a dispute process with the credit reporting agencies. In the end, the credit issuer is the final decision maker as to whether to accept the claim of fraud or not.

Request copies of all application and transaction records. According to federal law, credit issuers and collection agencies must make those documents available to the victim/parent when a police report has been submitted with the written request. Make copies and provide them to the police investigating the case. These documents may help you discover how this crime occurred.

If you’ve been through this process before, you know how painful and arduous it can be. Instead of trying to recover your child’s credit report and personal information after identity theft, you can help prevent the theft from happening. With the new Equifax Complete Family Plan, a blank credit file is created using your child’s Social Security number, and that account is locked until he or she turns 18. No one will be able access his or her personal information or credit file unless you give permission, giving you the peace of mind that your child’s credit history will be safe for years to come.

8 comments

  1. Jacinta Parker says:

    I am a member of Equifax’s Premier 3-1 Credit Monitoring Plan and my identity was stolen. I followed the procedure for identity theft as anyone would: made police reports, contacted all 3 credit bureaus, filed FTC Affidavit, placed fraud alerts on credit reports, contacted creditors, you name it, I have done it. I made several disputes with Equifax and they have given me the most trouble. They refuse to give me an update on the status of my investigation and to add insult to injury, they removed all six fraud accounts from my report, only to add one of them back on last week. Per my lawyer and my research, that is IN VIOLATION of the FCRA and I will see to it that Equifax takes responsibility for their role in this troubling time for me. As id it isn’t frustrating and depressing enough to be a victim of fraud, just today, I have been hung up on three times by a nasty woman who answered the phone in the Corporate office in Atlanta. When I requested to speak with the CEO-Richard Smith, she said” we don’t just forward anyone over to him”. Which I found to be extremely rude and selfish of her. I am a memeber and a victim and Equifax has a responsibility to protect my identity and credit and most importantly to uphold their mission to citizens, which they have failed miserably doing. I have had to take almost 2 months off of work with NO PAY due to the mental anguish and depression I am suffering from due to this Fraud. I will be taking my story to the Press, Newspapers, Television stations and anyone who will listen. This is unjust and illegal and as a tax paying citizen, I will not allow it. My lawyer and I will be taking next steps in enforcing my rights as a victim and the rights under the FCRA.

    • EFX Finance Blog editor, JF says:

      We apologize for the issues you’ve experienced when contacting Equifax regarding your matter and would like to help you resolve any outstanding issues related to the fraud involving your credit file. One of our Customer Service managers will be reaching out to you by phone shortly.

    • Againstcreditbureaubull says:

      Good for you! Did this get solved? There credit agencies are a joke, mishandling information and just existing to make a buck. So sad. America is a failure fore securing people against identity theft, and so is Equifax obviously.

  2. stephanie gutierrez says:

    what do I do if I know the person who stole my childs info and who do I contact about this.

  3. ELESTINA REYES says:

    AM HAVING PROBLEMS FILING MY INCOME TAX, SOMEONE AS BEEN USING MY CHILDRENS SS # TO CLAM THEM. ITS BEEN GOING ON FOR YEARS NOW WHAT AM I TO DO????????????

    • Huerita88 says:

      The same thing happened to me I just found out yesterday that my nena and son have already been claimed by someone. I’m so mad. I called IRS but they said to fill out some stupid form and send it in but the bad thing is it could be hasta October or November before they can find out anything. I’m like seriously that’s some BS. I asked could they tell who did this he man replied no. Lo malo es que the stupid guy laughs and is like this could go on for years just next year try to file your taxes more early. I’m like is this klown for real’s! I don’t know what to do but this is freakin pitiful…the irs sucks…

    • EFX Moderator_KB says:

      Elestina, if you think your children might have tax issues related to identity theft because their Social Security numbers or other personal information was stolen, let the IRS know as soon as possible. Contact the agency’s Identity Protection Specialized Unit at (800) 908-4490 and visit irs.gov/identitytheft. In addition, if the IRS sends you a notice alerting you to possible tax fraud, respond immediately to the name and number printed on the notice to set up an identity theft report. I hope this helps and thanks for posting.

  4. mrs. j says:

    all of my kids info was stolen and I have more then one child I was told to get the family plan n just add my 5th child for a extra 2.95 witch I didn’t mind. I call back to add him and am told they cant so I ask them can they do one for him alone I wiil pay what ever and I was told no. plz help me cover my son


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