Parents warned of free child safety kit scams
(WAFB) - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is alerting parents to a scam involving nonexistent child safety kits being offered free of charge.
The scammers contact the parent offering the kits and stressing they are the best way members of law enforcement can quickly locate their child in an emergency. Legitimate versions of these kits may contain up-to-date pictures of the child, the child’s height, weight, birthdate, fingerprints, as well as a strand of their hair.
The scam version, however, would also require the parent to provide sensitive personal information about the child, including their full name, address, birthdate, and Social Security or Social Insurance number to the company. The BBB reports some parents claimed the scammer required they meet the child in person at their home.
All of the provided information can be used to steal a child’s identity.
“Scammers know that people rarely, if ever, check their child’s credit report, which means they can get away with using a child’s name and information for years before being found out. In addition, children’s credit scores are a clean slate, making them an ideal target,” according to the BBB.
BBB provided the following tip to avoid this type of scam:
- Never give your child’s personal information to a stranger. Be especially careful with your child’s Social Security number.
- Be wary of unsolicited offers. Legitimate businesses and organizations won’t contact you out of the blue without first getting your permission. Government institutions will generally contact you by mail before making phone calls.
- Take precautions to protect your child’s identity. Check your child’s credit report annually for signs of fraud at annualcreditreport.com. Make sure your child’s school, doctor’s office, little league team, etc. will keep your child’s personal information safe if you opt to give it to them. Keep an eye out for red flags, such as bills or invoices mailed to your home in your child’s name.
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