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Protecting your children from identity theft

Identity Theft
Posted at 6:05 PM, Aug 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-29 13:41:51-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--You've heard about adult identity theft, but have you ever thought about protecting your child from having their identities stolen as well.

It's a crime that law enforcement experts says is more common than you may think. Right now with kids headed back to class is the easiest time for potential thieves to steal your kids identity.

A law enforcement expert with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement says all a thief really needs is your child's social security number.

Mike Phillips with FDLE says parents should only give out their child's information to people they trust.

He suggests parents even be cautious with school officials. Phillips advises you ask about employee background check and check to see how your child's information is collected, used, and disposed.

They say thieves could use your child's identity to open up bank accounts, get government assistance, apply for loans, credit cards, and more.

"Sitting down and having a discussion and explaining to them how dangerous it is to lose their personal identity information and how important that is, to keep that information to themselves and not sharing it with everybody," said Mike Phillips.

He added, students often find out their identities have been compromised when they head to college and fill out paperwork for student loans and grants. Those types of financial documents require your child's social in order to apply. He says sometimes if their identity has been stolen, they could be rejected from receiving aid.

Phillips says asking schools and organizations to safe guard your child's information can minimize the risks of identity theft.