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Children in Foster Care Vulnerable to Identity Theft

Even though everyone is susceptible to identity theft, young people in foster care have an even greater challenge keeping their personal information secure.

This is partially due to not having a permanent address and having to repeatedly share their personal information with various agencies and organizations. Due to this susceptibility, Michigan State University offers tips to help protect young people in foster care. 

- Keep all documents that show a child’s personal information safely locked up. What is personal information? At a minimum, it includes a child’s date of birth, Social Security number, and birth certificate. Do not carry your child’s Social Security card with you.

- Share your child’s Social Security number only when you know and trust the other party. If someone asks for your child’s Social Security number, ask why they want it, how they’ll safeguard it, how long they’ll keep it, and how they’ll dispose of it. If you’re not satisfied with the answers, don’t share the number. Ask to use another identifier.

- Never send personal or financial information – your child’s or your own, for that matter – through an unsecured wireless connection in a public place.

- Limit the chances that your child’s information will be stolen or misused at school. Find out who has access to your child’s personal information, and read the notices that schools are required to send explaining your rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). That law protects the privacy of student education records, and gives you the right to opt out of the release of directory information to third parties, including other families.

For more information, follow the links below. 

Your donations help make a difference

Fostering Success Michigan is a program of Educate Tomorrow that aims to increase access and success in higher education and post-college careers for youth with experience in foster care. Learn how you can contribute to building a holistic network that insulates (i.e., strengthens protective factors and reduces risks) the education to career "pipeline." 

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