Your Kid’s Identity Is At Risk

Last year while working on a short-term project with a media organization I came across a college graduate from a very prestigious university in the Midwest who was starting his first job. He was very bright young man and highly enthusiastic about this opportunity.

We got along like a house on fire. He was so eager to learn – he was always first in the office and would take on any job that was required. He was the whole package: brains, enthusiasm, and clear commitment to hard work.

Soon after he settled in the Northeast, he went to the DMV to get his car registered. This is when he was shocked to discover that he had a long history of arrests, traffic violations across three states, and a completely destroyed credit record. Someone had been using his social security number for 12 years without him realizing.

What followed was a long and painful process to try and clear his name. He had to find co-signers for his apartment and undertake many other less-than-dignified steps to try and function as an independent adult. He even needed the help of his parents to open a bank account.

In his excellent book, Bankrupt at Birth, Joe Mason of Identity Guard provides a roadmap for parents to follow to help protect kids from this disastrous future of stolen identity. He discusses the many opportunities we have of accidentally sharing our kids’ social security numbers and dates of birth, and how easy it is for the information to fall in criminal hands. In this recent interview with Better TV, he talks about the various scenarios where such sensitive information is shared and the book’s mission to help parents avoid such traps.

My family uses the Identity Guard to monitor our daughter’s credit. It’s easy to set up and it gives me and my husband peace of mind knowing that any activity involving her social security number would be flagged for us to take immediate action and protect her future.

In the area of Internet safety, identify theft is often overlooked. I am hoping that this book will introduce a sense of urgency to this issue and prompt parents to act. In fact, to truly drive the message home share this very special YouTube video of Emily, Joe Mason’s daughter, talking to other kids about identity theft. Nothing beats peer communication when it comes to important areas of parenting and safety!

The Online Mom receives compensation for participating in certain promotional campaigns for Identity Guard. All opinions are my own.

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