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Prevent Bankruptcy At Birth With Tips From Author Joe Mason

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STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — Joe Mason, identity theft expert and author of “Bankrupt at Birth”, visited the KCAL9 studios Friday to discuss how parents can prevent child ID theft, and what to do if your child’s identity has been compromised.

To Spot A Crook: 4 Warning Signs a Crook May Be Using Your Child’s ID

• Unsolicited Credit Card Offers: Your child may start getting unsolicited offers for credit cards. If this happens to your child, take this as an indication that something could be seriously wrong. The answer may be that a credit file or a marketing list exists somewhere on your child.

• Your Child is Contacted by a Collection Agency: If a collection agency tries to collect on a debt related to your child. In more serious cases, you may end up at the emergency room only to find out your child has a long health record on file with Medicaid or Medicare or with a major health insurer.

• First Visit to DMV: Taking your teenager down for a driver’s test and first license only to realize she is just handed a bill for hundreds of dollars in unpaid tickets.

• Credit Applications Denied: The first time a child or parent becomes aware that the child’s Social Security number has been stolen is when the child attempts their first credit transaction such as applying for financial aid, purchasing a cell phone, buying a car, or applying for a job that requires a credit check or background investigation.

What to Do If Your Child’s ID has been Compromised

• Report the crime to your local police. Be sure to get a copy of your police report or case number for reference.

• Call each of your credit card issuers. Get replacement cards with new account numbers and ask that your old accounts be processed as “account closed at consumer’s request”. Follow up by summarizing your request in writing.

• Call the fraud units of the credit bureaus. Ask that your accounts be flagged and add a victim’s statement to your report requesting that you be contacted to verify future credit applications.

• Keep a log of all conversations with authorities and financial entities. Ensure that all creditors or credit bureaus have received what they need from you, and follow up with them on a regular basis.

• File an identity theft complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Although the FTC doesn’t have the authority to bring criminal cases to trial‚ it does assist victims of identity fraud by providing information that can help them resolve financial and other problems.

For more information on prevent child identity theft, click here.

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