How to Protect Your Child from ID Theft at School

Parents often need to register a Social Security number for their child and provide this information when applying for benefits, tax deduction, medical coverage or other government services for their child.  However, parents should also be alerted about the fact that an increasing number of identity theft cases involve children’s SSNs.

Apparently, id thieves prefer to steal Social Security Numbers that belong to children since they don’t have credit history.  Thus, the crime may go undetected for many years until the child has grown up and is ready to apply for a loan or a job.

If you are a parent, what can you do to protect your child’s identity?  If your child is ready to attend schooling, how can you make sure that his/her personal information will be safe from the hands of identity thieves?

The federal Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) clearly stipulates that universities and schools must seek out consent from the student or the parent of a dependent student before disclosing “personal identifiable information” to a third party.  What are examples of “personal identifiable information”?  Examples include the student’s name, parents’ and other family member’s names, address, SSN, biometric records, and the like.

What other steps can you take to avoid being a victim of child identity theft?  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) gives the following tips:

Be aware of your rights.

The federal mandates that schools must distribute a notice explaining the federal Family Educational Rights Privacy Act.  Be sure to read the complete document to know your specific rights based on FERPA.

Know the school’s directory information policy.

Parents should ask about the school’s directory information policy to know how the school uses a student’s directory information such as name, address, date of birth, contact details and photo.  Parents have the right to opt-out of the release of directory information to third parties.

Check out forms distributed by the school.

When conducting surveys, the school must first allow parents to see the survey forms or printed materials before distributing them to students.  This is according to The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA).

Check out programs that are sponsored by a third-party company.

A program such as sports or musical events may take place in the school but might be sponsored by another company.  As a parent, you should be well-aware of the school activities your child participates in.  Check out the privacy policy of the company that sponsors the event to make sure that your child’s information is not compromised.

Take legal action.

If you believe that your child’s information has been compromised in school, write a letter to the appropriate administrator and keep a copy of the school’s written response to your complaint. If the matter is not resolved, you can contact the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20202-5920.

For more information on how you can protect your child from identity theft, check out the FTC’s website (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt056.shtm)

Elizabeth Roberts

Elizabeth Roberts

Liz Roberts and her team are continuously providing information to people who are ready to repair their credit and improve their credit score. Also NewHorizon.org team strives to empower the homebased and small business owners by bringing information that can help them to manage and grow their businesses. Let our 24+ years of business finance experience help you to get the financing you need! CONTACT US if need financing for your business.

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NewHorizon.org is an independent, advertising supported website. The owner of the site may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website. NewHorizon.org has not reviewed all available credit card offers in the marketplace.

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