Your child’s Social Security number (SSN) is among their most important identifiers. If someone has used it for identity theft, they can complicate the child’s life in numerous ways.
Millions of parents have dealt with this problem, so if you’re among them, you may ask a common question—“How do I get my kid’s Social Security number changed after identity theft?”
Due to the sensitivity of an SSN, such a change is quite complex. This guide explains the process so that you know what to expect and can prepare yourself accordingly. You’ll also learn how to best protect your child from falling victim to identity theft in the future through monitoring services.
Can You Change a Child’s SSN?
The SSA generally advises against changing an SSN because this identifier is used to track lots of important information, including the following:
- Tax records
- Employment and wages
- Bank accounts, credit history, and loans
Minors’ SSNs aren’t used for these purposes—they typically don’t file their own tax returns or have credit profiles. This is precisely why fraudsters target children, as their SSNs can be used to create synthetic identities.
Identity theft is one of the five cases in which the SSA allows a change of one’s SSN. The other four are as follows:
- Proven abuse and harassment
- Problems caused by the issuance of sequential numbers to family members
- Cultural or religious objections to specific numbers
- Accidental issuance of a number already used by someone else
Child identity theft is certainly a good enough reason for the SSA to consider giving your child a new number. Still, requesting it is anything but simple.
The SSN Change Process Explained
Changing your child’s SSN works similarly to changing your own. If your child is a legal adult, they can request the change themselves. If they’re still a minor, you’ll need to do it for them by following these steps:
- Collect proof of identity theft
- Gather the necessary identification documents
- Contact your local SSA office and submit the request
Collect Sufficient Evidence of Identity Theft
An SSN change is typically considered the last resort when it comes to identity theft resolution. You have to prove to the SSA that your child is suffering ongoing damage as a result of ID theft and that no other option can fix the issue.
To do this, you first need to reach out to institutions that are involved in identity fraud matters, most notably:
- Local law enforcement—You might need to provide a police report outlining the details of the crime
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)—You should report the theft to the FTC and seek guidance. In some cases, you may not need to change the SSN because they might help resolve the problem and clean it
- Credit bureaus—You need to contact the three major consumer credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and freeze your child’s credit profile with each. This doesn’t prevent someone from committing non-financial crimes using the child’s SSN, but it can stop the opening of new fraudulent accounts in their name
Once you’ve reached out to the above authorities and gathered proof that you still need to change the child’s SSN, you can start collecting the documents you’ll need for the application.
Gather Primary and/or Secondary Identification Documents
When an adult wants to change their SSN, the SSA requests primary identification documents. As many minors don’t have the required documentation, secondary documents may be accepted for them. The following table gives examples of both types:
|Primary Documents||Secondary Documents|
|• Government or state-issued photo ID|
• Driver’s license
• U.S. permanent resident card
|• Social Security card|
• Any document showing the child’s name, PII, and preferably a photo
You’ll need at least two of the above documents to prove your child’s identity. The SSA also requires a document proving your custody of the child, as it’s necessary for showing you have the right to request a new SSN in their name.
Reach Out to the SSA and Submit the Application
After you’ve gathered all the necessary documents, find the nearest SSA office using this locator and get in touch with the representative.
Explain your child’s case to the SSA and show the proof you’ve gathered. They’ll determine whether the child is eligible for a new number and guide you through the next steps. You may need to fill out the same form you did when requesting the child’s original SSN, as it’s also used for changing any information in their Social Security Record.
Note that every identity theft case is different, so the exact steps and documents involved can vary. The SSA will outline the specific process, so it’s best to contact them for all inquiries.
How To Avoid Child Identity Theft in the Future
Once you’ve changed your child’s SSN and restored their identity, you should take steps to ensure this crime doesn’t happen again. Ask yourself what led to the child losing their number in the first place and help them avoid repeating such mistakes.
A Social Security card isn’t a document that your child should carry with them. It’s needed in only a handful of cases, so make sure it’s kept at home in the meantime. Place it in a secure spot only you and your child know about and don’t reveal the SSN unless you’re certain the request is coming from a trustworthy institution that genuinely needs it.
The same goes for all other documents containing the child’s personal information. Watch over them until your child is mature and responsible enough to do it.
It’s also worth initiating identity protection and monitoring services that include coverage for your child. Credit profile monitoring can be a great choice, as it helps ensure all credit information is accurate and minimizes the chances of someone abusing it.
If you’re interested in such services, FreeKick is an excellent option you should consider.
FreeKick—Parent-Sponsored Credit Profile Monitoring and Building
Powered by Austin Capital Bank, FreeKick combines a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-insured (FDIC-insured) deposit account with credit building and credit profile monitoring services.
You don’t need to contact credit bureaus and check your child’s information—FreeKick will monitor their credit profile ongoingly to give you peace of mind and keep the profile free of errors. The service also encompasses various security measures (FreeKick v2 coming soon) that reduce the risk of identity fraud, most notably:
- SSN monitoring
- Dark Web monitoring
- Full-service ID restoration
- Protection services for young adults
If you need help ensuring your child’s SSN doesn’t get stolen again, FreeKick’s Social Security Number Tracing service can help. It keeps track of all names, addresses, and aliases connected to the SSN.
The service also includes true-name and synthetic identity theft detection, as well as a mapped view of all locations associated with the number.
Dark Web Monitoring
Research shows that child identity theft often starts on the Dark Web, where children’s information is collected and sold for as little as a dollar.
To help prevent this, FreeKick uses the CyberAgent surveillance technology to monitor all internet activity associated with the potential trading of your child’s personal information.
Full-Service ID Restoration
FreeKick ensures that you’re not alone even if the worst happens and someone steals your child’s identity. You’ll get support from a certified restoration specialist who would go through everything you’d otherwise have to do alone:
- Investigating alerts
- Disputing fraudulent activity
- Restoring the child’s identity
These services wouldn’t cost you anything, as FreeKick offers a $1 million ID theft insurance covering them.
Protection Services for Young Adults
Eligible legal adults (up to 25 years old) are covered by all of the above services, but FreeKick also offers additional security measures to help them protect their identity:
- Lost wallet protection—Safeguards all sensitive documents and offers reissuance support if they’re lost or stolen
- Change of address monitoring—Monitors and reports any redirections of the child’s mail through the USPS
- Payday loan monitoring—Offers an alert if someone uses the child’s SSN to obtain payday loans
- Court records monitoring—Searches criminal and court records to look for any unauthorized use of the child’s identity
Build Your Child’s Credit Profile Effortlessly
One of the main reasons financial criminals target children is that most minors don’t have a legitimate credit history. If your child is 14–25 years old, FreeKick can help you establish one for them sooner than they could independently.
The best part is that you don’t need to go through any complex procedures or deal with lenders—it all happens in three steps without the need for ongoing action on your part:
- Create an Account
- Set It and Forget It
- Keep Growing
Create a FreeKick Account
To create an account and kickstart your child’s future, all you have to do is visit FreeKick.bank and place a one-time deposit to select your plan:
|FDIC-Insured Deposit Amount||Cost|
Set It and Forget It
Once the account is active, FreeKick builds 12 months of credit history for your child and reports it to the credit bureau if they’re a legal adult. Your child can still have a credit history with FreeKick if they’re a minor—they’ll just have to activate reporting when they become an adult because credit bureaus don’t allow it for minors. Once they activate it, credit history can be reported.
After the 12-month term expires, you can renew the account or close it and get 100% of your deposit back.
There are no fees or penalties for canceling your FreeKick account within the 12-month term, but note that credit monitoring and other security measures (available with FreeKick v2) will cease immediately when you do. You should also keep in mind that if you close the account before the child becomes a legal adult, no credit can be reported on their behalf because of the aforementioned restrictions.
Give your child a head start in life while keeping their credit profile under close supervision—sign up for FreeKick.