GODFREY, IL - Tax season is in full swing and it’s a reminder to protect our personal information. But as a Godfrey family learned it’s not just adults that need to safeguard their Social Security numbers.
It’s tax time, so imagine the Wallace’s surprise when their filing was rejected!
A tax preparer at Lewis and Clark College said their son had already been filed for.
“He was totally surprised he didn’t understand what was going on he asked us you know did maybe the grandparents file or maybe an aunt or uncle and we were like no,” explains Brandon Wallace.
It wasn’t 8-month-old Luke.
Someone else was using social security number.
"It just felt like they stole that moment from us. We were very excited first-time parents being able to file and when that happened knowing that I really put us down not only just very hurt for him because he’s not even a year yet for this to happen it’s just very upsetting,” says Bianca Wallace.
Tax Professional Jean Field says identity theft of a child is common especially since their Social Security number lasts a lifetime.
"There’s a long period of time they can use the Social Security numbers to file other documents, to get credit to get potential medical care, some for use them for employment and so these young children their Social Security numbers are very valuable. People should never leave these cards and their purses are their wallets because it’s the easier place to get them taken,” she explains.
Field says if you think you or your child is the victim of identity theft contact authorities. You’ll also need to fill out an identity theft affidavit for the IRS.
“You always should be paying attention to who wants your child and information and what they’re going to do with information because a child is very vulnerable for this and it does live well beyond the tax season,” says Field.
She says it’s also a good idea to do a manual search of the victim’s file with all three credit reporting companies which are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. She suggests putting out fraud alerts and filing a report with the Federal Trade Commission.
Baby Luke is also getting a credit freeze. His parents hope this identify theft doesn't haunt him for years to come.
“Working with the bureaus to get a freeze on it and probably have to get him some sort of LifeLock or something to keep a monitor on,” they agree.