Preventing your child’s identity from being stolen

Identity theft can happen to children as well as adults. Kids’ personal details, like their name, date of birth and address – could potentially be used to open bank accounts, for example. This could have a significant effect on their credit reports, especially when they reach adulthood.

Child identity theft and credit reports

Fraudsters may use children’s details to make certain types of financial applications, creating a credit history for the child whose identity they’ve stolen. Children typically don’t have credit reports, so it may take a while for this activity to go undetected, perhaps even until the child reaches adulthood. The impact of child identity theft can last into adulthood, such as when an adult accesses their credit report to find activity that they weren’t aware of. This could be difficult to correct.

Signs of child identity theft

It may not be easy to tell if a child is a victim of identity theft. However, here are some instances to watch out for:

  • bank account of credit card statements addressed to your child
  • bank or credit-related offers (such as for credit cards or loans) sent to your child
  • bills for unknown purchases addressed to your child
  • when your application to open a bank account for your child is rejected because of poor credit history.

How to protect your child’s identity from being stolen

Here are some ways to help prevent fraudsters from obtaining your children’s personal information.

  • Keep your children’s personal data private
    Ensure that online files are saved on devices that are password-protected and contain the latest anti-virus software.
  • Educate your children on the importance of keeping their information private
    Teach your children what personal information is and how they can keep it private. For example, they shouldn’t share details like their real name, date of birth or passwords with anyone, including on social media and gaming platforms.
  • Monitor internet purchases
    If your child wants to buy something online, you may want to do it for them. This way, you can ensure that secure, reputable websites are used.

How to report child identity theft

If you know or suspect that your child’s identity has been stolen, you can report it to Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime. You’ll receive a police crime reference number.

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