47 ABC News - With identity thieves lurking, keeping an eye on your credit report can save you from a lot of trouble. But what about your child's credit report?
According to the 2012 Child Identity Fraud Survey, conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research, 1 in 40 households with kids under 18, had at least one child whose personal information was compromised by identity fraud. Some of those victims discovered that credit accounts were opened in their names, even though they were young children at the time.
"I hadn't thought of that at all. That's scary too, for moms and dads," Joe Camps of Cambridge, Md. said.
Children generally shouldn't have credit reports. If they do, it's a sign that something's wrong. The Federal Trade Commission recommends you check to find out whether your child has one around his or her 16th birthday. If you find one that's fraudulent, there's time to fix it before your child runs into serious problems.
"Often times what happens is, when they go to get their first car, or they go to get their first job, they find out they have terrible credit," identity theft expert and Independent Associate of LegalShield George Small said.
Other problems that may emerge include debt collectors contacting your child attempting to collect a debt, being denied a license because one has already been issued in his or her name, and being denied a bank account because of a negative history with bureaus that report checking and savings account information.
Small recommends you keep an eye on credit reports often, and if you can afford it, subscribe to a monitoring service and restoration service that will do it for you.
"You're going to get monthly alerts saying there's no new activity or if there is activity," he said.
"Better safe than sorry," Ralph Eugene of Cambridge, Md. said.
Unfortunately this is a crime that is in some cases committed by family members. Small says parents with bad credit, will sometimes put their child's name on electricity or water accounts.