smart spending

9 ways to combat child identity theft

Take action if your child's identity is stolen
Take action if your child's identity has been stolen © MJTH/Shutterstock.com

First, report it to the local police. Bring evidence, such as credit card bills, collection notices, letters from the IRS and be sure to request the actual police report for your records. "To bolster your evidence trail for the police, file a complaint at FTC.gov, print your 'Identity Theft Affidavit' and use it to file your police report," says Winston. This paper trail will be instrumental in helping you clear your child's credit of unauthorized charges.

Second, inform the individual creditors and credit-reporting agencies of the fraudulent activity. Ask the credit bureaus to remove the illegal charges from your child's record. It's important to press the three credit-reporting agencies to launch an investigation, says Weisman. The agencies won't remove the data "unless they've independently confirmed that indeed it was identity theft."

Weisman recommends putting a freeze on your child's credit report, which prevents access to your child's credit. It costs a few dollars to freeze or remove it, but Weisman says it is the most effective way to keep an impostor out.

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