How to protect your child's identity

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Mike Sullivan with Take Charge America shared some tips for protecting your child's identity:

1. Protect kids' Social Security numbers: Parents should store kids' cards in a safe and hidden place, and think twice before giving out their child's number. Health care providers may need this information, but is it necessary for Little League or a library card, or are there other options for identification?

2. Pay attention to their online activity: Kids surfing the web or checking email or social accounts may unwittingly click on links or download content from unknown sources, putting sensitive information at risk. Parents can teach their kids appropriate online conduct and utilize an array of tools that help protect them online.

3. Protect financial accounts: Many parents open savings accounts for their children, but they must be careful to keep financial statements private, ensure accounts can't be accessed without their approval, and opt out of any marketing to avoid credit card offers in their children's names. To opt out of credit card offers for five years, call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com.

4. Understand warning signs: Parents who receive credit card offers in their kid's name should be wary, as this may mean his or her identity has been compromised. Other signs include denial of a bank account or driver's license, or collection calls or bills addressed to a child.

5. Check your child's credit: Parents who believe their child is at risk for identity theft should request a credit report from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The process for requesting a report on behalf of a child is different for each credit bureau. The steps and required documentation can be found on their respective websites.