Identity thieves are not ones to discriminate based on age. In fact, some of their favorite targets are children. This is so for various reasons, not the least of which is that their crime is likely to go undiscovered longer if the ID theft victim is a child.
A recent study performed by Debix, an identity theft monitoring company, found that 4000 children's identities had been stolen or otherwise compromised out of only 40,000 children surveyed.
So what do you do to protect your children's identity? First, when your child turns 16, check his credit report. This should leave enough time to correct any errors caused by any identity theft before the child starts college and starts needing credit in his own name.
Second, watch out for any early signs of identity theft. If your minor son or daughter starts getting collection calls or preapproved credit offers, then you should request his credit reports from the Big Three to see what's up.
When you request the report, the credit bureaus should respond that there is no report regarding your child. If they have a report, then your child is either the victim of identity theft or a mixed file. How do you tell the difference? Two ways - first, if all three bureaus have a file on your child, its probably identity theft. If only one has a file, its likely a mixed file. But, the only way to know for sure is to contact the creditors who appear on the report and find out what Social Security number was used to open the accounts. If its your child's SSN, then he or she is a victim of identity theft. If its a different but similar SSN, its a mixed file and all the blame lies with the credit bureau's faulty matching logic.
In either scenario, the first step after learning of the problem is to dispute the errors to the credit bureaus in writing. If that doesn't work, after multiple tries, then you need to hire someone like me to sue the bureaus' for your child. Remember, I'm only an e-mail away.