Back to School and Needing Protection

a little girl standing at the edge of a pool, wearing a big, orange life vest

Goodbye to long summer days and hello to classrooms and homework!  As you send off your students with packed lunches and sharpened pencils, make sure they have protection from identity theft too.  A school often has a child’s personal identifiable information, which could be used for fraudulent activity if put in the wrong hands.  Here are a few things you can do as a parent to protect your kids:

  1. Ask If It’s Absolutely Necessary – A new school year means plenty of paperwork.  Try to limit sharing of information when possible.  For example, if the school requests a Social Security Number, ask if it’s absolutely necessary.  If they require a birth date, ask if the month and year will suffice.
  2. Check the School’s Security – Find out if/how they protect your information.  Are forms locked up?  Filed electronically with passwords and antivirus software?  Who has access?  Are there background checks for those with access?
  3. Ask About Directories – Some schools provide directories with student information (e.g. name, address, phone number, birth date, etc.), and some schools may share directory information with third parties.  Ask who has access, and how you can limit the information shared.

For information on your rights as a parent when it comes to accessing and controlling personal identifiable information in education records, check out the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) on the U.S. Department of Education’s website, www.ed.gov/.

You can also talk to your Money Coach about how to get identity theft protection services and how to fit back-to-school costs into your budget.  Feel better about your finances and your child’s safety by calling 888-724-2326 today.