Papers around the country have been carrying an Associated Press story about a “new” ID theft threat. Apparently, they just discovered what we’ve been talking about since 2005 or so – that minors are every bit as much at risk of identity theft as the rest of us. You can read a copy of their article here. It’s not as new as they make it out to be but it’s a good article. They do a good job explaining how some of the scams work.

ID thieves like to find SSNs for minors because they know it’s a clean number with no adverse information. They can open accounts in the child’s name and exploit them for years – maybe until the child starts applying for financial aid for college.

Check your own credit report regularly. You are eligible for a free report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies through I recommend looking at one of the three every four months – you get an 80% view but three times as often.

At the same time, check your kids’ credit reports. You can’t use the same online site, though. You’ll have to send a physical letter to the credit reporting agency. Be sure to include your child’s complete name, address, date of birth, a copy of the child’s birth certificate and social security card. You’ll also have to send a copy of your driver’s license and a current utility bill containing your current address. If everything is clear, you’ll get a letter back that they can’t find a record for that ID.

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