Login Identity Protection Build Credit Pricing Employers Support Schools Parents PTAs PTOs and Education Foundations  Superintendents, Business Officers, and School Boards Resources About Us Contact Us Education Center Press Releases In the News FAQ
Resources > Education Center > Whom Should You Contact First if You Suspect You Are a Target of Identity Theft—Answered

Whom Should You Contact First if You Suspect You Are a Target of Identity Theft—Answered

Millions of Americans are affected by identity theft annually, and many cases aren’t reported. You shouldn’t make this mistake, as ID theft can have long-term consequences if not resolved swiftly. This is especially true for child identity theft, which may go unnoticed for a while. 

Whether you or your child have fallen victim to this terrifying crime, you may be wondering, “Whom should you contact first if you suspect you are a target of identity theft?”

There are several institutions you can turn to for help, and the following suggests the order in which you should contact them. You’ll also learn how to protect yourself and your child from identity theft and why professional ID monitoring might be a wise investment

How To Know if Your Identity Has Been Compromised

Before reaching out to the relevant authorities, you should check for signs of identity theft. The most concerning red flags include the following:

  • Loan denial despite good credit
  • A sudden drop in your credit score or strange information on your credit profile
  • Correspondence from debt collectors as a result of unfamiliar loans
  • Surprise credit card charges
  • Mysterious bills in your name

All of this could mean that someone has used your personal information to obtain fraudulent loans or sign up for services in your name. 

If a child is the victim, there may be additional warning signs. Most notably:

By the time you notice any signs of ID theft, the perpetrator might have already committed numerous crimes. That’s why it’s important to report the theft immediately and dispute all fraudulent activity.

Where and How To Report Identity Theft

After confirming you’ve fallen victim to identity fraud, you should reach out to the following authorities:

  1. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
  2. Local law enforcement
  3. Credit bureaus
  4. All of the affected lenders
  5. The Social Security Administration (SSA)

File a Report With the FTC

The FTC has an online portal dedicated to identity theft, and visiting it should be your first step toward damage control and remediation of this crime. You can file a report online by providing details of the theft and verifying your identity.

The portal will show you a questionnaire inquiring about all the specifics, so select the most suitable options and try to provide as much information as possible.

Source: IdentityTheft.gov

Once you’ve filled out the report, the FTC will give you a custom recovery plan. You can also create an account to receive help along the way, which is highly recommended since dealing with ID theft on your own could become overwhelming.

Contact Local Law Enforcement

After you’ve filed a report with the FTC, you’ll want to do the same with the police. You might need a police report to prove the crime to other parties, such as the banks from which the identity criminal stole money in your name.

Call your local law enforcement after gathering as much evidence of the crime as possible. Depending on the specific circumstances, this may include strange bank statements, notices from the IRS, or anything else out of the ordinary.

The officer will ask you for all the details that might help the investigation, so it will help to have the previously researched information readily available.

Dispute Fraudulent Activity With Credit Bureaus

If the crime against you resulted in fraudulent loans, contacting credit bureaus is crucial to clearing up your name. Doing so is even more important if your child is the victim, as crimes committed against minors are far more complex than those affecting adults. The following comparison explains how they differ:

VictimsPrevalent Type of ID TheftHow It Works
ChildrenSynthetic identity fraudThe perpetrator uses the child’s Social Security number (SSN) or other identifiers and combines them with fake information to create a new identity
AdultsTrue-name identity fraudThe fraudster impersonates the victim using their real identifiers

Synthetic identities are often used to defraud lenders because minors’ identities aren’t tracked as much as adults’, so fraud is harder to detect and resolve. Such crimes can result in your child struggling to build credit and obtain legitimate loans due to fraudulent activity connected to their name.

Whether the theft impacted you or your child, contact the three major consumer credit bureaus:

  1. Experian
  2. Equifax
  3. TransUnion

Each bureau has a specific process for reporting ID theft, so let them guide you through the necessary steps. Ideally, all fraudulent activity should be removed from the credit profile by the time you’re done.

Reach Out to the Affected Lenders

An identity criminal might leave you buried in debt after stealing your identity, but you might be able to get some loans discharged. This isn’t always the case, but it’s still worth reporting the crime to the financial institutions targeted by the scammer.

Your credit report will show all loans obtained in your name, so this is where you can find the lenders you should contact. Gather all the reports and proof of the crime, and the institution’s fraud department will outline your options.

Check if the SSA Can Help

Most identity fraud cases involve a stolen SSN, as this identifier is used to track various information and accounts. If your SSN was compromised, you should report the theft to the SSA, specifically the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

They’ll investigate the matter and help you explore recovery options. In rare cases, the SSA might let you change your SSN to help you avoid further damage. Note that this is only possible if you’re suffering recurring harm as a result of the theft and you can prove that you’ve exhausted all other resolution options.

How To Prevent Identity Theft

Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to ID theft, so you should take the necessary steps to safeguard your information:

  • Keep your SSN safe—Don’t carry your Social Security card with you, except in rare situations when you know you’ll need it. When filling out forms, always ask if you can only provide the last four digits or use another identifier
  • Fortify your online security—Protect all accounts containing sensitive information with strong passwords, and beware of social engineering attacks like phishing or catfishing
  • Stay on the lookout for red flags—Review your bank statements and bills as soon as you receive them to spot any potential issues. Make sure to also monitor your credit profile to be proactive about errors or suspicious activity

Considering that children’s identities are often more appealing to identity criminals than adults’, they require additional protection. If you’re concerned about your child falling victim to fraud, you should consider a professional identity monitoring service.

Instead of having to resort to DIY options for safeguarding your child’s information, you can rest assured knowing that their identity can be safely monitored. If you’re worried about protecting your children’s identities, check out FreeKick from Austin Capital Bank. FreeKick provides premium identity protection for your family and credit building for your children. 

FreeKick—Comprehensive ID Monitoring and Credit Building

To make parents’ lives easier and help children enjoy a more care-free adulthood, FreeKick combines a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-insured (FDIC-insured) deposit account with two types of services:

  1. Identity monitoring for children and adults 
  2. Credit building and credit profile monitoring for teens and young adults aged 14–25

FreeKick’s Robust ID Monitoring (Coming Soon)

Having personal information monitored is an effective way to reduce the risk of identity fraud. FreeKick does this through a range of identity protection services for both minors and adult children and parents.

Let’s take a closer look at the offered services:

Identity Protection Services for MinorsIdentity Protection Services for Adult Children and Parents
Credit profile monitoring
Social Security number monitoring
Dark web monitoring for child’s personal information
Up to $1 million identity theft insurance
Full-service white-glove concierge credit restoration
Sex offender monitoring—based on sponsor parent’s address
Credit profile monitoring
Social Security number monitoring
Dark web monitoring for personal information
Up to $1 million identity theft insurance
Full-service white-glove concierge credit restoration
Lost wallet protection
Court records monitoring
Change of address monitoring
Non-Credit (Payday) loan monitoring
Free FICO® Score monthly
FICO® Score factors
Experian credit report monthly

Every FreeKick plan includes identity protection for up to two adult parents and six minor or adult children.

Here are some examples of the offered services:

ServiceWhat Is Included
Social Security number monitoringTrue-name and synthetic identity theft detection through the monitoring of all names, addresses, and aliases connected to the child’s SSNA mapped view with the locations of all identities tied to the SSN
Dark web monitoringTracking of internet traffic related to the trading and/or selling of the child’s personal information 
Sex offender monitoringIdentification and monitoring of registered sex offenders living in your vicinity and notifies you of potential threats
Full-service ID restorationHelp from a restoration specialist working on the child’s behalf to dispute fraudulent activity and restore their identity if it’s stolen
ID theft insuranceUp to $1 million covering all ancillary restoration services in case of theft

Credit Building and Credit Profile Monitoring

Besides reducing the risk of someone creating a fraudulent credit profile in your child’s name, FreeKick helps your child establish and build a legitimate credit profile to gain a head start in life.

FreeKick safely and reliably builds credit without a credit card or encouraging borrowing. Building credit through saving, not spending, enables you to establish your child’s credit today for a lifetime of advantages while teaching them healthy financial habits.

With FreeKick, building credit for your children is a straightforward process. Here’s what it entails:

  1. Go to FreeKick.bank and open an account
  2. Select Activate Credit Building in your account dashboard (when your child turns 14)
  3. Have your child activate credit reporting once they become a legal adult (18 in most states). All they have to do is check Activate Credit Reporting on the dashboard. If they are already a legal adult, they don’t need to do anything

When credit reporting is activated, a credit account for $1,000 will be reported to all three major consumer credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). The report will include the account opening date, amount of credit, type of credit, and last 24 months of payment history, jumpstarting your child’s credit score. FreeKick does not impact a parent’s credit report or score.

Plans

All FreeKick plans include premium identity protection for two parents and up to six children and credit building for up to six children aged 14 to 25. You can use the savings you already have for your children to protect them and build their credit, or get started with just a $10 deposit and a small annual fee. The table below contains more information:

DepositAnnual Fee
$3,000$0 (Free)
$2,000$49
$1,000$99
$10$149

FreeKick deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.

While improving your child’s creditworthiness, FreeKick will monitor their credit profile, so you can rest assured it’s kept clean and safe. To learn more about FreeKick’s credit building and monitoring, visit the FAQ page.

Why You Should Pay for Identity Protection

Paying a monthly subscription or a high annual fee for identity protection is expensive and can add up to thousands of dollars, which is why many parents avoid this option. Luckily, with FreeKick, you can keep the money you save for your children and protect them at the same time.

Take a look at the table below and see how you can save over $10,000 during your children’s childhood with family identity protection from FreeKick:

Cost DetailsFreeKick1FreeKick1LifeLock2
FDIC-insured deposit$3,000$10$0
Cost per year$0$149$600
Annual savings$600$451
Savings over 18 years$10,800$8,118

1 FreeKick plans cover two parents and up to six children. The table shows two FreeKick’s plans

2 LifeLock Advantage Family plan for two parents and up to five children. The annual plan is $599.99, and the monthly plan is $59.99/mo, $719.88 for 12 months.

Invest in your child’s adulthood and keep their private information safe—sign up for FreeKick today.