Have you checked your child’s credit report? This may seem like an odd question, but identity thieves are looking to steal identities that can be used for many years.

Unfortunately, a child’s identity is valuable to identity thieves. The identity can be used for a long period of time before the identity theft is discovered. Often times it is not discovered until the child applies for a student loan or credit card. They then learn an identity thief has been using their identity for years.

Identity thieves use child identities to rack up years of debt. These issues can take many years to resolve and can possibly restrict a child’s chance of getting a job, college loan, or credit card.

It’s never too early to check your child’s credit report. The Federal Trade Commission recommends all parents check to see if their children have credit reports when they turn 16. This gives parents time to correct any errors on the report.

Here are some ways to protect your child’s identity:

  • Check your child’s credit report annually.
  • Never carry your child’s Social Security cards with you.
  • Before you share your child’s Social Security Number or other personal information, ask why it’s needed and how it will be protected.