Last month, I wrote a post on teenagers and identity theft and what a big threat it is for them. Identity theft is when a person steals someone else's personal information, such as credit card, bank account or Social Security numbers, to purchase goods and services. The bad thing about identity theft in tweens/teens is they may never know their identity has been stolen until they go to apply for a student loan, which could be four to five years after their identity has been stolen and a lot of damage can be done during this period.
So how can a parent know if their teen's identity has been stolen? The best way is to check your teen's credit report. Identity theft may be indicated by the presence of bogus accounts on your teen's credit report, as well as other unauthorized financial activity under his/her name. Catching and preventing identity theft is a major reason to obtain your teen's credit report.
Luckily, there are ways to obtain a free credit score. There are three major credit bureaus, and it is best to check with all three in case a transaction isn't reported to all three. Teenagers and young adults are more vulnerable to identity theft because they don't have a credit file that can be monitored. Their clean credit record is what attracts identity thieves. Thieves can rack up charges on a clean record for years.
Take the time to check your teen's credit report. Or better yet, sit down with your teen and show them how to obtain a free credit report and teach them the importance of checking their credit report approximately every twelve months.