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


Stuck in the middle

May 10

Divorce and Child Identity Theft

When I used to be a Fraud Resolution Agent I would hear devastating stories of how identity theft affects the children involved in divorce, as was the case with one member I helped.  The member found out her soon to be ex-husband used their child’s Social Security number when she was notified with a monitoring alert.  Her ex had opened up lines of credit and utility accounts under his own child’s Social Security number.  On top of that, he left her to clean up the mess by ruining his child’s credit status.  Fortunately, I was assigned this particular fraud case and it was not only empowering for her, but also empowering for me to help her get through this terrible ordeal.

So, you may be asking yourself why a parent would commit such a crime against their own child when most parents going through a divorce want to protect them from witnessing it.  Sadly, it does happen and I have asked myself the same question every time I have assisted our members that have gone through the same scenario.  With this entry, I would like to share some tips and identifiers that are a sign that your child’s identity is being used fraudulently.

1. Watch out for unsolicited credit offers
If you are receiving credit card offers mailed in your child’s name, you should be concerned and start being proactive about checking for the existence of a credit report in his or her name.

2. A bill in your child’s name is a bad sign
If your child receives a billing statement, a letter or phone call from a collection agency, it is an indicator that there is a problem. Don’t ignore it as a case of mistaken identity. Take the time to check it out by calling the creditor or collection agency.

3. Beware of a Social Security Administration statements
We are all used to seeing these mailed to us annually to keep track of our Social Security contributions and anticipated benefits. But if your child gets one with contribution information, that should be a red flag pointing to an identity theft issue.

4. Check to see if there is a credit report
An indicator of identity theft is if there are credit reports on file for your child’s name and Social Security number. Credit reporting agencies typically do not keep a credit reports for minors, so if there is one, it’s an indicator that someone has been using your child’s identity to get credit. You can check for this by enrolling with which features ChildSecure.