The Better Business Bureau is warning parents to beware of offers of a free child safety kit as they may be used to steal a child’s identity.
The BBB says that scammers may reach out to parents, either by phone, email or on social media, offering a free child safety kit. The scammers may claim that law enforcement recommends such a kit, which the BBB says is true.
However, the scammers will claim that in order to obtain the free kit, parents must provide sensitive personal information about their child, including their full name, address, birthdate and Social Security or Social Insurance number. Some parents reported to the BBB that they were told an in-person meeting was required.
The BBB warns parents that providing any sensitive information could place their child at risk of identity theft. The BBB says that children are more likely to have their identities stolen than adults. Children are ideal targets because they have a “clean slate” when it comes to their credit history and parents don’t tend to check their child’s credit report, according to the BBB. A criminal can get away with using a child’s name and information for years before being found out, the BBB says.
The BBB has the following recommendations to avoid scams involving children:
- Never give your child’s personal information to a stranger. Parents should be especially careful with their child’s Social Security number.
- Be wary of unsolicited offers. Legitimate businesses and organizations will seek permission before making contact. Government institutions generally communicate by mail.
- Take precautions to protect your child’s identity. Check your child’s credit report annually for signs of fraud at annualcreditreport.com.
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