FTC Offers Child Identity Theft Prevention Tips for Parents to Protect Personal Information of Kids at School

Just in time for the beginning of a new school year, which usually requires parents to fill out paperwork such as registration forms and emergency contact information, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers child identity theft prevention tips in the blog ‘Protecting Your Child’s Personal Information at School’ to let parents know that many school forms containing the personal and sensitive information of their children could be used to commit fraud in their child’s name if the information falls into the wrong hands. To read the blog, visit: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/protecting-your-childs-personal-information-school.

According to the FTC: During the school year, parents are asked to sign many forms. In the wrong hands, the personal information on these forms can be used to commit fraud in your child’s name — to apply for government benefits, open credit card accounts, or apply for a loan. When children are victims of identity theft, the crime may go undetected for years — or at least until your child is old enough to apply for a job or a loan, or rent an apartment. But there are laws that help safeguard your family’s personal information. 

To help limit the risks of child identity theft, the FTC blog ‘Protecting Your Child’s Personal Information at School’ also explains how the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of student records.  FERPA also gives parents the right to opt out of sharing contact information of their children with third parties and offers suggestions such as asking about a school’s directory information policy and what happens if the school experiences a data breach.

A second publication from the FTC called ‘Safeguarding Your Child’s Future’ offers tips to parents on how to keep their child’s data safe at home and online, explains the warning signs of child identity theft, and explains how parents can check whether their child has a credit report and what to do if the report has errors. This publication is available at: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-0010-child-identity-theft.pdf.

For more information, visit the FTC Identity Theft website at https://www.identitytheft.gov/.  To read more stories about identity theft on the ESR News blog, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/identity-theft/.

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