You can now add checking a child credit report to your list of proactive and smart financial practices. Why? Not to be alarming, but now even your child can become a victim of identify theft.
It really is a good idea to monitor your kids' credit reports for signs of fraud or identity theft.
You may even have even come across businesses offering you this kind of service. Beware of the help and steer clear - this is something you can easily do yourself and for free. The value of these services, in my opinion, is on par with the value of, say, Gerber life insurance - not a good deal at all.
You can check out this WalletPop post on child identify theft for more details, but here's a quick summary:
The issue is that fraudsters have found a new and creative way to commit identity theft. The targets: dead people and kids.
The general idea is that criminals are using computers to find dormant social security numbers - including those issued to kids who aren't yet using them - and then selling them to help people get credit and run up huge debts.
It starts small as the person buying the social security number establishes a solid score - and then blows up.
Parents can protect their kids by monitoring their credit scores the same way they monitor their own. (You ARE monitoring your credit, right?)
Go to annualcreditreport.com, the only federally sponsored free annual credit report Web site, as a start. In addition, check out the tips in this recent article from the Chicago Tribune.
I'm on my way to check my young heir's report right now - what about you?