Monitor for suspicious activity
Watch for preapproved credit cards, bills for unfamiliar services or unexpected medical collection notices, all in your child's name, says attorney Winston. He also warns that you should be alarmed if you or your child gets rejected for government benefits because those benefits are being paid to another account using your child's Social Security number.
Other red flags include calls from creditors about debt linked to your child or notices from the Internal Revenue Service about unpaid taxes on income or the use of your child's Social Security number on another tax return, says Adam Levin, chairman of IDT911, an identity theft and data risk management services provider.
Sound the alarm bells if you attempt to open a financial account for your child but find that one already exists, or receive a rejection for poor credit history.
Keep a close eye on existing savings, CDs or sub-account credit cards in a child's name. "Sometimes, knowledgeable identity thieves will make 1 or 2 small 'test charges' on an account over a period of weeks or months to see if any adult is paying attention," says Winston.