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Alert: Make Sure "Grinch" Doesn't Steal Your Kids' Identity

Experts recommend taking extra precautions with your child's personal information and being alert for signs of identity theft. Credit: MarcusScottReed/morguefile.com
Experts recommend taking extra precautions with your child's personal information and being alert for signs of identity theft. Credit: MarcusScottReed/morguefile.com
November 19, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Thieves are now looking beyond your wallet and personal information to your children's. The Identity Theft Resource Center reports a 300 percent increase in calls about child identity theft in 2014.

With the holidays around the corner and scammers working overtime, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Consumer Affairs Division is reminding folks about the potential risk to their children. The department's spokesman Kevin Walters explains.

"We want parents to understand that their kids are at risk just as well as the parents' identity are at risk," says Walters. "Scammers don't discriminate based on age and we want parents to adopt some good habits in their everyday lives to help safeguard their children."

Walters says to avoid sharing your child's Social Security number unless it is a trusted party, keep things like their birth certificate and school paperwork in a secure location, and don't be afraid to ask people requesting personal information how it will be used.

Warning signs of identity theft of a youngster can include your child receiving credit card applications or calls from credit agencies. Walters says it's important to take quick action to avoid an impact on your child for years to come.

"It can be a scary situation for everyone involved whenever identity theft occurs," says Walters. "Your best course of action and parents' best course of action is to notify law enforcement, notify credit agencies, notify your bank immediately."

Tennessee law also permits parents and legal guardians to enact a security freeze on children under 16 years of age. When the freeze is put into place, credit agencies cannot release a person's credit report unless the freeze is specifically removed.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN