Identity theft for minors is on the rise, especially so for those previously in the care of the state. In 2017, more than 1 million youth were the victims of identity theft in the United States. The perpetrator was usually a close family member, parent, or guardian. Because foster children and adoptive children’s personal information is available to more adults, this group is at increased risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.
Children in foster care are at increased risk of identity theft
Many adults have had access to Social Security Numbers, Birth Dates, and Full Legal Names of children in their care. While this information is necessary for the caring of a child, it puts this vulnerable group at a much higher risk of having their identities stolen. Kids usually have no activity previous on their credit, making them targets for new credit cards, loans, and utility bills. Young people in foster care do not have their credit actively monitored by the state, a process that can be costly. Identity Theft after Adoption is also very common due to the amount of paperwork seen by strangers.
How to prevent identity theft after adoption
During the adoption process, you can request your child’s social security number and name to be changed. This is the best chance to keep your child’s identity protected from nefarious activity. With Texas Legal, the legal cost of adoption could be covered up to 100%*, this may include changing their name and SSN. To learn more about Texas Legal’s benefits and plans, click here.
Even if your children never spent time in foster care, it is important to sign yourself and them up for credit monitoring. This service could cost as much as $360 a year, but with a Texas Legal Membership, it is free. Experian monitors your credit daily, sends timely alerts, helps resolve identity theft issues, and more.
What to do if your child’s identity has been stolen
Place a freeze on their credit immediately.
Then, contact Experian for Identity Resolution. If your child does not have IdentityWorks with Experian, you can contact IdentityTheft.gov for assistance.
*In-Network Attorney’s services for adoption are covered 100% under the Preferred Plan and Independent Secured Plan policies. Out-Of-Network Attorneys and/or other Texas Legal Plans may not be covered. Contact Texas Legal for more information.