From registration forms to health records, going back to school generates a lot of paperwork for families, regardless of their childrens ages. With so many forms and personal information moving back and forth between your home and schools, and from classroom to classroom, identity theft protection should be everyones responsibility.
While the majority of those forms will likely be handled with respect and care, some, unfortunately, will not. Child identity theft continues to grow; 2.5 percent of American households with minors at home surveyed have experienced identity fraud at some point in the childs lifetime, according to the 2012 Child Identity Fraud Report from the Identity Theft Assistance Center.
Take steps to minimize the risk of your childs important information going astray, including:
- Before you put any identifying information on a form, be sure you know how the information and form will be used and stored, and who will have access to it.
- Send forms to school in a sealed envelope with the childs name, the teachers name and grade on the outside. Establish a chain of custody for such items. Email teachers the night before to alert them the forms are on the way and follow up at the end of the day to be sure the child delivered the form to the teacher.
- Discuss with children the importance of keeping personal information, including their Social Security numbers (if they know it) safe and private.
- Keep an eye out for red flags like credit card offers or calls from bill collectors. If your child receives such communications, their personal information might have already been compromised.
Many of those forms contain the kind of personal information identity thieves treasure, such as names, addresses and even Social Security numbers. Its important to understand when and how to share your childs personal information and when to decline.
This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. © 2013 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. All rights reserved.