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Welcome to the ProtectMyID Blog

Lessons and stories from the front lines of fighting identity theft.

 

Why is my child receiving a collection account for a utility bill?

Apr 12

Having been a past ProtectMyID.com™ Fraud Resolution Agent, I’ve assisted parents whose children’s names and Social Security numbers have been used fraudulently to open up utility accounts.  How most of the parents would find out about this terrible crime is by receiving a bill notification from a collection agency, and even at times, receiving harassing phone calls from the collection agency.

Child identity theft is more common than people realize.  In fact, children are commonly victimized by members of their own family such as an aunt or uncle.  What happens is that a person gets behind in utility bills until the company stops service. In order to restart the utility service, the person would have to pay the entire balance owed which can sometimes be more than a thousand dollars.  To avoid paying the cost, the person then decides to open a utility account in a child’s name. They use the child’s name, Social Security number and altered birth date to open the new account.

As a result, the following will happen to a child once he/she becomes an adult because of the blemished credit file:

• Denied credit, mortgage or loan for a vehicle or college tuition

• Unable to open a bank or checking account

• Denied tenancy, utility or phone service

• Denied driver’s license renewal

• Discharged from a job or continually and unexplainably denied employment

• Arrested for an activity they never committed

• Denied SSI or welfare services

As a parent who wants to safeguard your children’s future, a quick check of credit reports will help you sort out the truth if your children have been a victim of identity theft.  One option is to contact the credit reporting agencies directly and request credit reports for your children.  If you are told that there is no credit report, that is good news.   Or you can enroll with ProtectMyID.com which features ChildSecure, an additional benefit that helps protect your children from identity theft by closely monitoring your enrolled children’s credit information, and alerting you if someone applies for credit or opens credit accounts using your children’s personal information.

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