Child identity theft is probably the last thing you think of when you think of the first day of school, but sadly, it’s something you should be thinking about. Child identity theft is real, and it seems to be on the rise. Filling out any kind of paperwork for your children, enrolling them in school, signing up for extra-curricular classes/teams and getting a debit or credit card for your older kids can put them at risk of identity theft.
Most people don’t even realize their child’s identity has been stolen until the child is grown and trying to apply for a credit card, lease an apartment or buy a car.
Here are some tips to help protect your child from identity theft:
- Ask Questions. Anytime you have to provide your confidential information to a school or organization, ask the schools policy on storing and disposing of sensitive documents. Security experts say that the only secure way for organizations to destroy confidential documents and data is through a professional, secure shredding company.
- Understand Privacy Laws & Your Rights. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of student education records and also gives parents options when it comes to sharing contact/directory information with third parties.
- Safely Store Sensitive Information. Keep all of your child’s personal documents like birth certificate, social security card and passport in a secure place like a safe or a locked filing cabinet.
- Shred Old & Expired Personal Documents. Important information can fall into the wrong hands when tossed in the trash or recycling bin. When a document containing your child’s personal information expires, or is no longer needed, shred them.
- Teach Internet Safety. Kids use the internet for everything these days. It’s very common for sites, games and apps to require the filling out and submission of an online form before allowing the user access. Social media accounts contain everything about your child: their school, friends, interests, birthday, address, photos of what they look like and the exact location for every post. Talk with your kids about the extreme importance of internet safety and require them to ask permission before filling out any online forms. Talk to them about giving out information on social media and check the privacy settings of their social media accounts to make sure they are private.
- Watch for Red Flags. If your child starts receiving anything in the mail, credit card applications, random catalogs or any kind of statement, that’s a red flag you need to investigate. It may not always mean their identity has been stolen, but it’s definitely something you don’t want to ignore.
- Secure Data Destruction. Your children’s computer and cell phones contain information on them that is not easy to get rid of. When your child upgrades to a new phone or computer, make sure you have the hard drive shredded or the cell phone properly recycled. Hard drive destruction is the only 100% secure way to protect information.
Identity theft continues to be a growing concern in today’s world. Keep your children, and yourself, as safe as possible by securely disposing of any documents or data that contain sensitive information.
If you need commercial or residential secure onsite document and data destruction contact Tristar Document Shredding at 1-888-747-3397 or visit our website at www.TristarShredding.com.