Keeping kids safe from identity theft
MarketWatch today featured an interesting article about keeping your children’s identity safe. While child identity theft is still fairly rare, it is most commonly perpetrated by a relative or family friend. The damage isn’t usually spotted until the child turns eighteen and is turned down for a credit card because of a low credit score.
The article references the Identity Theft Resource Center’s tips for spotting signs of identity fraud. This includes finding pre-approved credit card offers in the mail addressed to your child and receiving suspicious collection calls. It also advises parents to check their children’s credit reports annually.
Ordering a child’s credit report isn’t easy though (and it shouldn’t be for obvious reasons). You shouldn’t try to order a credit report for a minor through the standard retail process. We also found a good article on what to expect on your credit report at InstallmentLoansHub.com, which helps to identify what you should and should not expect to find out your credit report, and the potential red flags you may encounter. The best way to order a credit report for your child is to call the credit bureau fraud hotlines. The fraud reporting systems for Equifax (1-800-525-6285), Experian (1-888-680-7289) and TransUnion (1-800-680-7289) include options for requesting a copy of your child’s credit report when you are concerned about identity theft.
Credit card promotions and offers are a familiar sign on college campuses these days. Along with the “freshman 15” and all night study sessions, dealing with debt has become a part of America’s college experience. The average college student now graduates with $20,400 in student loan and credit card debt.
However, according to Business Week, these college graduates may face a new challenge because of their debts. Some law and medical schools are not encouraging or requiring applicants to submit their credit data for review. A low credit score and thousands in debt could result in being denied admission:
Georgetown Law School urges students with severe credit issues to defer for a year while getting their finances in order. “The decisions they make today have a cumulative impact on practicing law,” says Ruth Lammert-Reeves, Georgetown’s assistant dean for financial aid. According to Reeves, bar examiners in states such as California and New York take an applicant’s observance of fiduciary responsibility into consideration. The Medical College of Wisconsin even reserves the right to deny admittance if a student doesn’t provide a clean credit report.
The good news? Many universities and colleges are now starting to offer financial planning classes to their students. The classes teach students about credit, identity theft, debts and investing, sometimes even as for-credit courses.
2015 will bring more stories about credit scams, fraud, identity theft and financial hardship caused by a triple digit number, make sure you are pro-actively monitoring your credit and financial information.