Thieves love your kid's financial identity because it's a clean slate. And it's going to be years before your child ever tries to get credit so it will be a long time before they ever they get detected.
Scary thing is - no one is too young to become a victim of identity theft. The youngest reported case - a one month old.
All a thief needs is your child's social security number. Then identity thieves can open credit card accounts, sign up for utility services, even rent a place to live.
The only way you would know this was happening is if you got a bill in the mail or you checked your child's credit report every year.
But starting Jan. 1 the credit bureaus will allow you to create a credit report for your child and freeze it immediately.
This way if a crook gets your child's info and wants to open up a credit card or line of credit, they won't be able to. The only to unfreeze it is to have your permission. The state attorney general's office pushed the bureaus to offer you this service.
"The children have to fill out social security numbers for camps, for various school activities and so little by little their social security number and private information gets out to the public. and it gets out to a place where it can taken advantage of it. This is something that you can do in advance," says Caroline Farmer, an attorney with the AG's office.
It is going to cost $5 but the AG's office says that's a pretty reasonable price for the peace of mind that your child will a clean credit report when they need it.
Here's how to set up your child's report and freeze it.
And you know - it's not just your child's identity you have to be worried about. you need to check your report as well.
By law you get a FREE credit report from each of the credit bureaus each year. But here's the real takeaway - the timing. Get one report from one bureau, then set a reminder for 4 months later to get another credit report from a different bureau. For example get your free report from Experian in January. Then TransUnion in May and Equifax in September. By spreading out the time between your reports, you are more likely to catch any errors or identity theft issues.