Beware: Even small children and babies are at risk for identity theft

Readers, more and more children's Social Security numbers are being stolen and used by criminals to open credit card accounts or get jobs.

Readers, this is a huge issue and we need to start with checking to make sure that our children's Social Security numbers have not been stolen. Parents need to start taking action, even if your child is a newborn.

Identity theft could affect your child’s future credit and employment history. Thieves sometimes turn out to be family members, according to TransUnion credit.

Carmen Caldwell.jpg
Carmen Gonzalez Caldwell

How do you know if your child’s identity has been stolen? This is where you need to start paying attention:

First, you need to check with the Social Security Administration once a year to make sure no one is using your child’s SSN.

Second, you need to check your child’s credit report (free — Equifax, 1-800-525-6285; Experian, 1-888-397-3742; TransUnion, 1-800-680-7289). You can also report fraud to them.

By law, you are entitled to a once-a-year free report from each company. Therefore, divide the calls into several times during the year.

Third, if your child starts getting suspicious mail, like pre-approved credit cards and other financial offers normally sent to adults, pay attention.

Tips to use

Keep all documents that show a child’s personal information safely locked up. What is personal? At a minimum, it includes a child’s date of birth, Social Security number and birth certificate. Do not carry your child’s Social Security card with you.

Share your child’s Social Security number only when you know and trust the other party. Ask why they want it, how they will safeguard it and how long they will keep it and how they will dispose of it. If you are not satisfied with the answers, don’t share the number.

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Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to, or call her at 305-470-1670.