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March 4, 2015
Have you ever checked your child’s credit report? Chances are you never have. And why would you? Your child probably doesn’t have a credit card, bills, or loans.
But, there actually is strong merit for checking your child’s credit report: Children are prime targets for identity theft. In fact, the 2012 Child Identity Fraud Survey, conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research, reported that one in 40 households with children 18-years-old or younger had at least one child whose personal information was compromised by identity theft.
Child identities might be more valuable to identity theft criminals, because they can use the identities longer before the identity theft is discovered.
For example, an identity thief using a 10-year-old’s identity likely will be able to use it for eight years before the child’s first credit check. By that time, the criminal may have racked up years of debt, which can take years to resolve and possibly restrict a child’s chance of getting a job, college loan, or open a credit card.
Because of the identity theft threat, it’s never too early to check your child’s credit report. The Federal Trade Commission recommends all parents check to see if their children have credit reports when they turn 16. This gives parents time to correct any errors on the report. To check your child’s credit, you must submit an in-writing request to one of the credit reporting agencies. Follow the instructions on each of the three credit reporting agency websites:
March 2, 2015
Tax season is underway. Many taxpayers are concerned about recent security hacks hacked and the potential for customer identity information to be stolen. Once identity thieves have someone’s information, it’s hard to say what they’ll do with it.
One way identity thieves use victims’ identities is to file fraudulent tax returns requesting refunds in the victims’ names. By filing a fake tax return using a real identity, thieves potentially can siphon money from the state.
AND, they don’t just use victims’ identities to file a fake return in one state—they might use the same taxpayer’s identity information to file a tax return in every state!
That’s why the Indiana Department of Revenue puts so much effort into its identity protection program.
The department has special security features in its tax processing system. These security features make up the department’s identity protection program. The program specifically looks at the identity information in each tax return, making sure each taxpayer is who he says he is.
To protect taxpayers’ refunds, some taxpayers are asked to complete an Identity Confirmation Quiz. Those selected will receive a letter from the department.
The letter first asks the taxpayer to confirm that the letter recipient’s name and address information matches an Indiana tax return he recently submitted. If a taxpayer receives this letter and the identity information is not correct or he did not submit an Indiana tax return, he should not complete the quiz, but rather follow the letter’s instructions to contact the department.
The quiz contains four short questions, which only the person asked to complete the quiz would be able to answer. It is taken on a secure website hosted by the department or over the phone. It should take no more than two minutes to complete.
Remember, electronically filed tax refunds process in 10-14 business days. Those selected to complete the Identity Confirmation Quiz receive a letter within the 10-14 day timeframe. After successful quiz completion, returns are processed within 7-10 days.
The department works diligently to process returns accurately and securely. Increased security features are meant to protect taxpayer identities with as little refund delay as possible.