Safety Tips

Parents and children can take some simple precautions to keep personal information safe:

  • Keep your child’s social security number (SSN) private: Do not carry your child’s social security number in your wallet. If coaches, doctors or schools ask for your child’s SSN, ask to use a different number for identification or make sure that the number will be kept safe and not left out in the open
  • Write to ChoicePoint, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion twice a year: Parents should write to the three credit bureaus and ChoicePoint asking if there is activity on credit files or public records using their children’s SSN. Send the letters certified with return receipt requested. Click here to view a sample Request for Children’s Search letter.
  • Shred sensitive documents before discarding: Before you throw documents that contain social security numbers, account numbers, medical record numbers or other identifying information into the trash, be sure that they are properly shredded.
  • Watch out for offers in the mail to your child: Mailed offers such as pre-approved credit cards sent to your child’s name are a warning sign that your child has a credit history.
  • Beware of what you (or your children) share: Web sites such as MySpace or Facebook ask for a lot of sensitive information. Be sure to warn your children not to give out their full name, phone number or address to anyone on the Internet, even if it is for sweepstakes or prizes.
  • Keep physical and electronic documents locked up: Both parents and students should be careful about leaving financial statements or sensitive documents where roommates, friends, neighbors, in-home employees or visitors might be able to gain access. Password-protect your computers and never leave your laptop unattended in a car, library or cafe.

For a fee many companies offer to provide protection services for your children. Click here to view a competitive matrix done by Javelin Strategy and Research on what is available.


What to do if your child is a victim:

  • File a police report with your local police department.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) here.
  • Complete an FTC Identity Theft affidavit, signed by you and your child if they are able:
  • Write every creditor using your child’s Social Security number (SSN) notifying them that the SSN belongs to your child. Include a copy of the FTC ID Theft affidavit, the police report, a copy of your child’s Social Security card, birth certificate, your driver’s license, and a recent utility bill with your current address.
  • Write a letter to each credit bureau where a credit file exists asking that they add a consumer statement indicating that the credit file is that of a minor and request that they suppress the credit file so that others may not use it.

    Fraud Victim Assistance Department
    P.O. Box 6790
    Fullerton, CA 92634-6790
    Phone: 800-680-7289

    Consumer Fraud Division
    P.O. Box 740241
    Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
    Phone: 800-525-6285

    Experian's National Consumer Assistance
    P.O. Box 2104
    Allen, TX 75013
    Phone: 888-397-3742

  • Write Choicepoint asking them to remove records on your child from their databases.

    ChoicePoint Customer Service Center
    Attn: Full File Disclosure
    PO Box 105108
    Atlanta, GA 30348

  • Verify that all the records are cleaned up
  • Recheck the information on a regular basis