12 ON YOUR SIDE ALERT: Protecting your child's identity

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - School is back in session and the Federal Trade Commission, along with the Virginia Crime Prevention Center wants to remind parents about the dangers of child ID theft.

Officer Jason Caravaglia, with Henrico County Police and the Central Virginia Crime Prevention Association, says protecting your child's ID at school is a serious matter. If crooks get their hands on the information filled out on all those school forms, it could lead to id theft.

"They are stealing that information and you won't find out until the kid is ready to go to college when he applies for a credit card or a bank loan," he says.

Police say with a down economy, crooks are desperate.

"They are out of work. They are out of jobs. It's a big White Collar Crime now. They are taking the children's information because we really don't do a credit check on a nine year old," Caravaglia explains.

The FTC is also warning parents about the risks of identity theft. In two publications, it offers helpful tips. It reminds parents to pay attention to material sent home through mail or email that ask for personal information. Also, ask about your school's directory policy and how that data can be shared. Another tip, find out who has access to your child's information.

"I know Henrico county for fact, does secure all the documents of the children in a safe," Caravaglia told us.

Do a credit check on your child with the three major credit agencies. Your child's credit should be clean, but if not there's a problem.

"That is something you want to try to check once a year to make sure their credit is good. It is something that we have never done before as parents. You know, do a credit check on a five year old, but it is an increasing White Collar Crime and it is something you are going to have to do now," Officer Caravaglia explains.

If you suspect your child is a victim of ID theft, contact their school, the police and request a fraud alert on their credit file. Officer Caravaglia also offers these tips.

"Don't carry your child's birth certificate in your purse or social security cards in your purse. When you are giving information out, make sure you know why you are giving it out. If someone ask for their social security number make sure you ask why," he says.

One red flag that your child's identity has been compromised is if you start receiving credit card offers in their name. If you have questions about your child's privacy at school, don't hesitate, contact their school.

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