Make Sure Everyone’s Identity is Protected This Holiday Shopping Season

While you’re out enjoying gift-buying excursions for the holidays someone else could be doing the exact same thing – using your information. It’s a good thing you took steps to protect your identity and keep thieves away from your credit lines. But what about your kids and your parents?

identitytheft

More and more criminals are targeting children and senior citizens in their identity theft schemes. The best gift you can give your family members this holiday is improved identity protection.

Protecting Your Kid’s Identity

Even if they are years away from having any kind of card in their wallet your kids can still have a credit file. Scammers know this and use it to their advantage because they know many parents aren’t thinking to check their kids’ credit reports for suspicious activity.

Safeguard your child’s identity with the best practices you use for protecting your own:

  • Never give out your child’s social security number unless you completely trust the entity to keep it secure and there is a legitimate reason they need it.
  • Don’t carry your kids’ social security card around with you – keep it in a safe or lock box at home.
  • Check to see if your child’s social security number is connected to a credit report. Call each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) to ask if they have a credit report for your child.
  • If your child receives credit card offers or other bills this is a red flag. Contact the company right away for more information and check your kids credit report for activity.
  • Teach your kids about the importance of protecting their identity online. Advise them to never give out sensitive information like their address, full name or intimate details that could contain answers to security questions.
  • If your kid has a laptop or computer of their own make sure up-to-date security software is installed.

Protecting the Identity of Elderly Family Members

Unfortunately the elderly often unknowingly fall victim to scammers as well. Scammers will use bogus offers, phone calls, phony investment opportunities among other things to steal your elderly family member’s identity and their money.

  •  Tell the senior family member that you’ll field all the offers that they get to make sure they’re legitimate. That way they will share the information with you before signing anything.
  • Educate them on Internet safety best practices. Unlike your kids using computers isn’t second nature to older family members. You need explain the risks of giving out information online.
  • Offer to help them keep track of their finances. Again, many elderly people don’t use technology to their advantage to receive the most up-to-date information on their account, or valuable tools for checking credit.
  • Put their names on the National Do Not Call registry and the state registry to limit telemarketers ability to call elderly relatives.
  • Show them how they can check their credit at least once a year at the three credit reporting agencies.

Above all else let your family members know that you are their support system and that if they come across anything that raises warning flags you can help them figure it out and handle any problems that make arise. Beyond taking preventative measures, the most important part is remedying an identity theft situation as soon as possible.

Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/_elemenoh_/112834482/

Original Source: http://www.mybiginsurance.com/insurance-news-updates/make-sure-everyones-identity-protected-holiday-shopping-season

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