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Beware of your children's identity theft

It appears my 21-year-old daughter's identity has been stolen. I suspect my two other children's identities also have been stolen. What do we do?

 

It can be a lengthy process to set this straight, depending on the depth of the problem, says Ken Chaplin, senior vice president of Experian Consumer Direct, part of the Experian credit report agency. First, visit annualcreditreport.com to see if your 21-year-old's identity has been used. You are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from each of the three consumer credit-reporting companies through this site. If there is activity, report the identity theft to your local law enforcement agency to document it, Chaplin advises. Identify the banks or financial institutions involved and let them know the activity on your child's account was not hers. Don't ignore debt collectors or others who contact you; send a letter (keep a copy) explaining the situation, Chaplin advises. Consider enrolling your family in a security program that monitors attempts to use your identify, he says.

As for your other two children, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion do not knowingly maintain credit files on minor children, according to annual creditreport.com. "If you suspect that your minor child's information has been used fraudulently, you should contact the credit reporting agencies directly and report the illegal use of your child's information to law enforcement," according to the site. For more information, visit ftc.gov.

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