April is tax season. While most of us dutifully file our taxes to the IRS with accurate information and await our tax return or write out a check, there are those that choose to falsify information in the hope of receiving a bigger tax return. One of the newer ways that these scammers are fraudulently using information is by stealing personal data from children.

The theft of personal information belonging to children such as the child’s full legal name, social security number, birth date, and mother’s maiden name has increased. This information can be used by thieves to open credit accounts, to take loans, and as a deduction on a tax form. Claiming a child on a tax form could lead to an increase in a tax return from the IRS. This in turn benefits the criminal since they are now receiving extra money that isn’t rightfully theirs.

Why does child identity theft increase around tax season?
Mainly because the thieves can use the child’s personal information for their own benefit. Many times, tax refunds are done quickly and by the time anyone realizes that the information is false, the thief has already spent the money.

How can you keep your child’s information safe?
There are a few ways to help keep information secure though there is no fool-proof way to guarantee that personal information won’t be stolen. Follow these tips:
•Guard the personal information that you share about your child
•Only share your child’s social security number/birth certificate when it is required (does your child’s sports team really need this information?)
•Make sure your children know that it is important to not give out their personal information especially once they are old enough to use social media
•On any forms do not fill out the social security line. Forms can get lost, photocopied or a photo can be taken. Leave the social security line blank and it’s ok to leave this line blank at the dr and dental office too. If the health insurance agency needs your child’s social, then you personally should call and give it to them
Warning signs that your child’s personal information has been compromised include:
•Getting mail for credit card offers for a minor child
•Receiving bills for medical or dental treatments that were never performed on your child
•Having debt collectors call or write about collecting a debt that is in your child’s name
•Being denied benefits since the agency already has them listed as receiving benefits
•Having the IRS notify you that you can’t claim your child as a dependent since the child has already been claimed on a different tax form

Unfortunately, many parents do not realize that their child’s information has been compromised until their own tax return claiming their child is pinged. To help combat that issue, follow these steps:
•File your taxes early
•Make sure to keep your child’s social security number safe and only share that information when necessary
•Keep your child’s social security card locked away in a secure location (to prevent theft of the card/information)
•You can request a PIN for your tax return from the IRS. The PIN acts as another form of identification

If you do discover that your child’s identity has been stolen, there are steps to take to report it and to help recover. The Federal Trade Commission offers information on the steps to take at https://www.identitytheft.gov/#/. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services can also help. They offer an information hotline at 1-800-435-7352 or at 1-800-352-9832 in Spanish. The IRS also has a site where you can report identity theft – https://www.irs.gov/faqs/irs-procedures/reporting-identity-theft

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All of our bail bond agents are knowledgeable and experienced. There is no need to go it alone. Instead, rely on our years of experience to help you navigate the ins and outs of the bail bond process. We have a bail bond agent available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and all year long. Please call us today at 407-425-3303 to start the bail bond process. 33rd Street Bail Bonds is the name you can trust, call us today!