The instances of child identity fraud is on the rise, but there’s a new service parents can take advantage of that will help them better protect the identities of their little ones – and the best part is it doesn’t cost anything at all.
The company, AllClear ID, announced last week that it would be offering its new ChildScan service to parents around the country at no cost. The service works by allowing parents to enter their child’s social security number on a watch list that’s monitored by credit reporting bureau TransUnion. This provides assurances to those parents that their child’s social security number will be blocked from being used to open any kind of new credit accounts until they reach the age of 17. The service will conduct consistent searches based on the social security number sin the database and will be looking for employment records, medical billing accounts and even criminal accounts. If anything is suspicious, the system will flag it and the parents are then notified.
Not only that, but AllClear will also investigate and then repair any damage done to your child’s identity. It’s a remarkable service, especially considering the company is offering more as a public service than a profit making product. And the reviews are quite impressive, as well. The service was launched due to the increasing numbers of kids whose identities are stolen. It’s now believed that one in ten children become victims of identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission says those numbers have tripled over the past decade with no end in sight. It’s left up to the parents – provided they’re not the ones committing the fraud – or their children after they are adults.
Child Identity Theft
If it seems unlikely a scam artist would be able to take use a child’s identity, think again. Kids have yet to establish their own credit profiles, therefore, it’s seen as sort of a “clean slate” and many parents go ahead and have a social security number issued to their little ones when they’re still young. This gives fraudsters years of criminal opportunities before the child and/or his parents realize what’s happened. When the child is old enough to apply for credit on his or her own, they are dealt a hard kick and even worse, it’s the parents who are often the perpetrators of the crime, typically when their own credit already has been ruined.
AllClear offers parents red flags they should be aware of. They include:
- Getting preapproved credit card offers
- Other financial products addressed to the child
- Receiving calls from debt collectors looking for your child
- Receiving medical bills in your child’s name
- Being denied government benefits because they were paid out to someone using your child’s SSN
- Contact from the IRS contacts you about your child’s employment or taxes
Many parents are unsure of how to handle these situations. The Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit agency that provides much needed support for victims of ID theft suggests parents send a letter to the three credit bureaus that includes your child’s full name, his date of birth and even your previous addresses for the last five years. You should also include a copy of the child’s birth certificate, a copy of your child’s Social Security card and a copy of your state ID card, if applicable. By law, a response must be sent to parents within thirty days. Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission encourages parents that if they suspect child identity theft, they should, in the course of taking action, request a copy of their child’s credit report from the bureaus – TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. If there’s no foul play, there won’t be any kind of activity for the bureaus to report.
Some states allow parents to so far as to put what’s referred to as a “credit freeze” on their child’s credit report. This is in place until you or your child, after having reached legal age, lifts it. In Maryland, a new law was passed earlier this year that goes as far as letting parents use these as preemptive strikes. Look at it as more of a proactive versus reactive approach. Creditors will not be able to pull a credit report and as a result, it will immediately raise their concerns that they could be dealing with an identity thief.
AllClear ID is a team of technology and customer service professionals, founded in 2004, and is headquartered in Austin, Texas. Members of its exclusive team serve on the Identity Theft Resource Center board, and works in close partnership with the Consumer Federation of America. It’s a privately funded company with just one goal: identity protection. The company remains committed to providing easy to use and understand identity protection for consumers of all ages. While the Child ID program is free, the company also offers many paid subscriptions, including credit monitoring. Most recently, it unveiled its AllClear Guarantee. It’s an industry first and guarantees security online for consumers who shop with companies and retailers that offer the protection.
Not only that, but the company has several awards for its programs as well as its top ranking for customer service. The Stevie Awards are given to those companies that provide stellar services. In a world where identity theft is growing by the day, finding the right protection can sometimes be challenging. The new technology and business model associated with AllClear has really changed the way consumers go about the business of protecting their financial lives. With faster alert times, identity theft is being caught much sooner now, courtesy of AllClear ID. The goal is continuously improve the turn around time, thereby protecting more customers in the process.
What are your thoughts? Would you provide your child’s social security number to a company that promises to protect it or do you believe there really is no safety when it comes to an online presence? Share your thoughts and concerns with us.
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