Your child is a gold mine (or so said the thief)

YIN:

Every year as a habit, sometime between January and March, I get my free yearly credit report. Everyone gets one free credit report a year and if you’re really lucky you live in Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont – these states require the credit report companies provide you an additional free credit report on top of the one the government requires them to provide so you can get an update twice a year for free.

So to make sure all is kosher I always pull a report for myself and my husband. And this year for the first time I’ll pull a credit report for my 1 1/2 year old daughter.

It sounds funny even writing that. But the facts are that identity theft is sky rocketing and children are a perfect target for identity theft since their record is completely clean and has no blemishes. Who better to steal the identity of?

When my daughter was 3 months old I went back to work and she went to daycare. In the state of Florida, where we live, we have to provide proof of immunization to the daycare on a regular basis. So while at the pediatrician’s office I requested the paperwork needed. When I received the papers I was shocked. Sitting right under her name was my daughter’s social security number. I couldn’t figure out how the dr’s office had gotten it. I’d never provided it to them. And when the dr visited us in the hospital she hadn’t received a number yet. So I asked the nurse to remove her social from the form. To my surprise they told me they don’t put the social on the forms – the state does. I just researched it a little and there is a program called Florida Shots that is a centralized online immunization registry that schools and doctors offices use to track children’s immunizations. But I don’t know how the state got my daughter’s social. I guess the U.S. government gave it to them. Because there’s no other way the state got it.

Forgetting about all the Big Brother issues involved in the story above (which is hard to do but that’s another blog) it occured to me that anyone in the dr’s office or at daycare could get my daughter’s social and start ordering things off of Amazon.com. So I blacked out the number each time before giving it to daycare. That still leaves the people in the dr’s office who are able to view it (and the people at the state) but the nurse did tell me I could call the department of health and ask them to remove it. But I will admit that I have been remiss in not doing so yet and that was well over a year ago. Shame on me.

So I’m getting on the ball finally and am on the phone right now trying to get her social security number removed from the form. I’m sure it’ll be a little effort involved but I’m ready for the challenge. My husband and I take great care in making sure our little one is safe in the car, safe with her caretakers and pay a pre-paid college fund every month to make sure she’ll be able to go to college if she chooses. Now I need to make sure that I protect her future finances as best I can too.

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