We start training our kids to be safe at a young age. We teach them to look both ways before crossing the street. We make sure they understand the danger of talking to strangers. We give them instructions if they should become separated from us. The list goes on and on, covering big things and little things; all to protect our kids from harm.
But in today’s digitized world, there is another danger that few of us even consider, and that is child identity theft.
In a recent article, it was reported that over one million children in the United States were the victims of identity fraud or identity theft in 2017, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. And the impact is staggering, with fraud totals topping $2.6 billion and families paying $540 million out of their own pockets.
Here’s another statistic the research uncovered: 66 percent of fraud victims were younger than eight years old.
How will I know?
If you are receiving anything suspicious in the mail that is addressed to your child, don’t dismiss it as a mere mistake. This could be an indication that your child is a victim of fraud.
To make sure your child is not affected, simply use his or her social security number to check the credit score. We are all advised to do this annually, anyway, so just access your child’s report at the same time. If you find anything unusual, you can address it with the credit reporting agencies right away.
How can I prevent this from happening to my child?
As parents, we are responsible for keeping our family’s personal records in a safe place.
Make sure all sensitive information is secure since it has been shown that a much higher percentage of identity theft/fraud occurs from someone the child knows when compared to adult identity fraud victims.
Just like you teach your children to be safe outside, teach them to be safe online.
Explain to them that they should not provide any personal data to anyone at anytime, and to notify you if someone is asking them for their private information. Place safeguards on your digital devices that keep children from accessing harmful sites. And monitor their online activity to make sure they are following your instructions.
By putting these safeguards in place, you will help prevent your child from becoming a victim of identity theft or fraud. And if it does happen, you will be prepared to act quickly. Parents, put this task on your to-do list; it just might save you time…and money.
For more information on protecting your family online, check out this resource from Nationwide.
Franklin Santagate is the Executive Vice President of Marketing for Pure Flix, and works with denominations, ministries, and organizations by finding common vision, assets, resources and influence. From that position, we create initiatives we can do together that we cannot do apart, reaching our mutual objectives and expanding the Kingdom of God. To discover more or to become a Pure Flix Global Strategic Alliance partner go to http://pureflixalliance.com/join/.
To contact Franklin for speaking opportunities at churches and special events, email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.