Child Identity Theft Prevention

Protecting Your Child’s Identity—Start with A Social Security Number

You’ve just had your first child—congratulations! In addition to worrying about feeding schedules, colic, sleepless nights, and saving for college, should you worry that your newborn’s identity could be stolen?

Get Your Newborn a Social Security Number ASAP

The Social Security Administration recommends that one of the things on your “to do” list is to get your newborn a Social Security number (SSN). There’s no charge for getting your child’s SSN. You can report anyone trying to charge you by calling 1-800-269-0271 or visiting the Office of the Inspector General website. https://oig.ssa.gov/report https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10023.pdf

You need an SSN to claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return, but here are a few reasons that you may want to get your child an SSN. 

1.    To open a bank account for the child
2.    To buy savings bonds for the child
3.    To get medical coverage for the child
4.    To apply for government services for the child
5.    Think about freezing your child’s credit (see April blog)


Once you’ve received the child’s SSN, the next thing to think about is keeping their identity safe. Start by filing your child’s SSN card in a secure place such as a bank safety deposit box, or a home safe. Don’t write your child’s SSN on school forms, medical forms, or other registration forms. They’re usually not required to obtain services. Don’t give your child’s SSN to relatives

So, you’ve been careful about keeping your child’s SSN private, but you start getting pre-approved credit cards and loyalty program offers. This could be an innocent marketing tool sent by an affiliate of your bank because you opened a college fund for your child, or it could be an indication that your child may be a victim of identity theft. 

If you think your child is a victim of identity theft, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by calling 1-877-438-4338 or going to https://www.idtheftcenter.org/Fact-Sheets/fs-120.html