Parents should be aware of children's credit reports


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Alex Cabrero reportingWe've heard all the tips to protect ourselves from identity theft, but what about how to protect our children's identities years before they even apply for credit? It's a growing problem here in Utah.

Most parents don't ever think to check their child's credit report. Why look at your 1-year-old's credit when it's obvious they haven't applied for anything. One mother we spoke with was applying for child health insurance when she found out her child already had a credit problem.

Brooklyn Roush can recite the pledge of allegiance with no problems. It's something most 7 year olds can do, just like being able to tell you what they want when they grow up. "A house, car, maybe some nice things in my house," Brooklyn said.

It's part of the American dream we all grow up with, only Brooklyn's dream would've had a violent wake-up call when she got older. "I was really scared. I felt like I was just gonna bawl," she told us.

She might not understand identity theft, but she certainly understood her mom telling her, her big dreams may be a big problem.

At the Bountiful Library tonight, Brooklyn's grandfather, Jay, shared how her identity was stolen when she was just an infant. "Well, we don't know how they got it. We have no idea how they got her number." Her mom found it only because she applied for extra child health insurance and was told there was a problem.

Ron Mortensen, a child identity theft expert, says up to 50,000 Utah children may have the same story and feels it all starts with employers not verifying Social Security numbers, especially when it comes to illegal aliens. "If employers would verify the Social Security numbers of their new hires, it would stop all employee-related child ID theft."

Which means, for children like Brooklyn, whose credit is being fixed, those dreams could still come true. "I feel like I got my life back," Brooklyn said.

After hearing Brooklyn's story, a credit monitoring company offered to fix and watch her credit for free.

Mortensen says it's never too early to check your child's credit report, just to be sure.

E-mail: acabrero@ksl.com

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