I have always been responsible with the nitty gritty—school, finances, business. From my first job as a kid to right now as a mother of three I have been a stickler for keeping all my ducks in a row and keep excel spreadsheets for everything. I’m never late paying bills, and I’m happy to say Jason is the same way, too. If I am too busy to do the back-office housekeeping, he picks right up for me. We have to keep these things organized amidst the chaos of our daily lives.
When we were kids, things seemed so simple…we didn’t have the risk of hacking or cyber-attacks. Now all of our information is out there, and it freaks me out if I think about it too much. We work so hard to save and maintain good credit, so we can buy a house and plan for retirement I can’t imagine if someone destroyed all that with a few clicks. Sure, we are pretty diligent about protecting our accounts and information–but there is always a blind spot.
Security and safety are a top concern for everyone these days—we are inundated with information about email fraud to egg recalls on a daily basis. And as parents, we are vigilant with our children’s safety when traveling or even walking around our neighborhoods. We always teach our kids not to talk to strangers, to hold hands crossing the street, where to go and what to do in an emergency—but there are other non-life-threatening security issues that we oftentimes don’t even think about.
Children’s Identity Theft is a very serious issue that I never even considered. How devastating would it be to have your child’s spotless and pristine record get completely destroyed before they even start their lives? Adults fall victim to identity theft all the time, but we are more aware of our credit reports and activity. Children are being targeted at an increasing rate because their credit histories are basically a clean slate and criminals can use a child’s information to set up credit cards, take out loans and rack up debt over a long period of time before it is even detected!
I try to be safe with my children’s social security numbers and personal information but think about all of the places we go and things we do that require their precious details. Doctors’ offices, travel documents, classes and sports, after-school activities. Any one of these places could have a security breach leaving your children vulnerable to fraud. It is terrifying.
Experian is the world’s largest global information services company and they have been using the power of data and analytics to protect consumers from identity theft and fraud for years. Experian has launched the Child ID Scan, which is a free, one-time service to provide parents and guardians with a way to check if an Experian credit report exists for their child. If your kid has a credit report—that can mean that their information was likely compromised. And if so, there are resources and tools available to help parents reduce their child’s risk of fraud.
September is a time we are all a little consumed with the end of summer and preparing for back to school, but it is essential that we are prepared when it comes to our personal information. Experian has founded Child Identity Theft Awareness Day on September 1, to remind us all to be vigilant about our information safety and security. There are a few things we can all do to help safeguard our information and especially our children’s information from fraud, like protect your child’s social security number and monitor your child’s personal information. Pay attention to privacy policies at schools, clubs, doctor’s offices, classes and most importantly, check for credit reports; I just did for all three of my children!
Obviously, I wish we didn’t have to worry about these things, but this is the new reality we are dealing with. I never want my children to be victims of Identity Theft. They deserve to start life with a clean slate and keep it that way, so they can have a successful future. For me being a good parent is not just about the bumps and bruises I treat or the nourishing foods I provide—it is also about the security I give my children now and for their future.