Protecting your child from identity theft

Jeff Ehling Image
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Child identity theft
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More and more children are falling victim to identity theft

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Parents have a lot to worry about these days and now they can add another to the list: Child identity theft.

Eyewitness News spoke with a woman Friday who did not want to identify herself but told us that it was her own mother who took out loans in her name when she was just 3-years-old. It has now taken decades to get things right.

With 3 young children, Tajuana Griggs has plenty of things to keep up with.

"He likes to play his video games and he likes to get into everything, say hi," said Griggs.

One thing she has not considered, child identity theft.

"I have never thought about that, really I haven't," said Griggs. But as unlikely as it sounds, Child ID theft is a huge problem that is getting worse.

"Kids are 35 times more likely to become victims of ID theft than you or I," said Rania Mankarious of Houston Crime Stoppers.

She adds often it is a loved one who uses a child's Social Security number or credit to get things the ID thief can't on their own.

"Bank accounts, buying property, utility bills, loans," said Mankarious.

There are steps a parent can take to protect their kids.

  1. Check your child's credit reports
  2. Keep their information secure
  3. Shred what you do not need

If an account has been opened under your child's name, there is an important step you can take. You can place a credit freeze on child's account.

"This is not an issue that we want people to be paranoid but we want you to be vigilant to take care of your children's identity, to ask questions, certainly where there is a concern do it right away," Mankarious said.

Experts say when your child hits 16, you should get those credit reports from all three reporting agencies. If you see something that does not belong, call the agencies and report it to the police.