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9 ways to combat child identity theft

Child identity theft: A hidden danger
Child identity theft: A hidden danger © Andrew Lever/Shutterstock.com

You try to protect your kids in every way possible, with bicycle helmets, healthy meals and safe surroundings. Few parents realize that of all the dangers out there, their children's identity is uniquely vulnerable. Their financial history is a blank slate, and they never check their credit score.

Identity fraud has been on the rise, with 12.6 million victims in 2012, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. In a separate 2012 report on the subject of child identity theft, 1 in 40 households with children under the age of 18 had at least one child whose personal information was compromised by identity criminals.

No matter how safe your neighborhood or how secure your kid's school is, identity theft is a quiet danger that can penetrate walls of protection and go undetected for years. Thieves can use your child's private information to open bank accounts and credit cards, rent an apartment, start a new job, apply for utilities, access benefits such as welfare and unemployment, take out major loans and commit crimes -- all under your child's name.

These actions can haunt your children into adulthood, preventing them from obtaining student loans, employment or housing, and burdening them with many other troubles. Take these steps to protect them from identity theft.

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