Parent using child’s Social Security number

Dear Experian,

I believe my daughter’s father is using her Social Security number for electricity, gas, water, phone and credit cards. How do I find out?



Dear CKY,

Fraud against family members, especially children, is one of the most difficult forms of identity theft to resolve. I’m assuming that your daughter is a minor.

If he used her Social Security number for the purpose of creating a new identity and leaving his old, bad credit history behind, that is fraud and is punishable by law. The companies he defrauded may choose to take action against him, especially if he defaults on his debts.

Since he apparently is not using your daughter’s full identity, very likely it would not have created a credit report in her name and would not impact her from a credit standpoint.

When she begins using credit, she will establish it with her own name and address, in addition to her SSN, and will build her own credit history. The risk is that if he defaults on debts opened using her SSN, they will likely be reported to the IRS as income and your daughter would be responsible for the taxes.

For peace of mind, you can request a credit report for your daughter through Experian’s online fraud center or by calling 1 888 EXPERIAN (1 888 397 3742) and selecting the fraud option. Simply follow the instructions provided. You will be asked to provide documentation verifying that you are the parent or legal guardian before Experian can send you a credit report.

If there is no credit report for her, you will receive a notice that Experian “has no record on file.”

Checking for a credit history is a good first step in determining whether or not he is using your daughter’s information to commit fraud. You might also consider calling one or more of the companies you suspect are involved and asking them to check their records for her SSN.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team

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