Personal Resource Center

How to Protect Your Child From Identity Theft

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Freezing your child's credit will limit access by scammers intent on child identity theft. It's free to do and won't affect their (or your) credit.

How Can I Protect My Family From Child Identity Theft?

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to reduce the chance that your family falls prey to child identity theft. Here's what you should keep in mind:

  • Don't give out your child's Social Security number. In most situations, you aren't obliged to share this information. While a school can ask for your child's Social Security number, you are not required to give the school this information2 in order to enroll them. Healthcare providers often ask for your child's Social Security number but, again, in most cases you're not required to give it. A Consumer Reports article3 explains your rights and how to handle different situations.
  • Ask questions before giving out your child's Social Security number. Why do you need it? Can you use some other identifier or only use the last four digits of the Social Security number? How will you keep it secure?
  • Shred documents with personal information before putting them in the recycling.
  • Store all documents with personal information (such as birth certificates and cards with your child's Social Security number) in a safe place. Never store them in your car, on your desk, or on photos on your phone.
  • Remind your child to never share personal information like their address and birthdate with someone they've met online.
  • And same goes for you — never give out personal or financial information if you haven't initiated the contact. No reputable financial institution — including Synovus — will ever call, email, or text you to ask for your personal information.
  • Freeze your child's credit by contacting all three of the major credit bureaus—Equifax4, Experian5, and TransUnion.6 This will limit access by scammers because no one can seek credit from an account that has been frozen (including you.) Freezing your child's credit is free and won't affect their (or your) credit. You can lift it whenever you need to by following each credit bureau's instructions online.
  • You also can check with each of the bureaus to see if your child has a credit report. Normally they aren't kept for children under the age of 16, so the fact that they have one means that you may need to do some damage control. Here are links for requesting that information from each credit reporting agency: Equifax,7 Experian,8 and TransUnion.9 If they do have a credit report, the agency will tell you what to do next.


What If My Child Has Already Become A Victim Of Child Identity Theft?

Even with vigilance, it's still possible that your child's identity can be compromised. By acting fast, you can limit the damage and prevent future breaches. Here's what to do:

  • Contact the company where the fraud occurred and ask them to close the account. Get written confirmation that they've closed the account and you're not responsible for the charges.
  • Check to see if any of the three credit bureaus have a credit report for your child. If they do, follow their directions for requesting that they remove the fraudulent accounts. Get written confirmation when it's complete.
  • Freeze your child's credit if you haven't done so to limit future fraudulent activity.
  • Continue to monitor your child's credit carefully, challenging any future issues as they arise.
  • Report the child identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission at IdentityTheft.gov.10
  • Contact an identity protection service but also review the ramifications.

With fraud and scams on the rise, families need to do all they can to proactively protect their financial information — and their child's.

Enroll in Credit and Identity Protection Services

As a Synovus Plus, Synovus Inspire, or Synovus Private Wealth customer, you can enroll in complimentary Credit and Identity Protection services. With this service, Synovus will monitor your credit reports and notify you any time any changes are made. Synovus will also scan the web to make sure your personal information hasn't been compromised by checking websites, blogs, peer-to-peer networks. Synovus also offers full-service identity restoration if you become a victim of identity theft.

Want to know more about how you can achieve peace of mind as a Synovus customer? Get your personal code by talking with your Synovus advisor and then enroll here.

Important disclosure information

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

  1. Federal Trade Commission, "FTC Crunches the 2022 Numbers," published February 23, 2023, accessed November 9, 2023. Back
  2. Federal Trade Commision, “How to Protect Your Child from Identity Theft" published February 1, 2023, accessed November 9, 2023. Back
  3. Diane Umansky, “If the Doctor Asks for Your Social Security Number, Do This," Consumer Reports, published Oct. 11, 2019, accessed July 29, 2021. Back
  4. Equifax, "Security Freeze," accessed July 26, 2021. Back
  5. Experian, "Security Freeze," accessed July 26, 2021. Back
  6. Transunion, "Credit Freeze," accessed July 26, 2021. Back
  7. Equifax, "How do I get a copy of my child's credit reports?" accessed July 28, 2021. Back
  8. Experian, "Fraud Form, Minor Child," accessed July 28, 2021. Back
  9. Transunion, "Child Identity Theft Inquiry," accessed July 28, 2021. Back
  10. www.identitytheft.gov, accessed July 26, 2021. Back