Most commonly, thieves will harvest kids' dormant Social Security numbers and use them to illegally obtain jobs or open fraudulent bank and credit accounts. Many victims don't realize there's a problem until years later, when they are turned down because of the poor credit history someone else racked up in their name.
You're probably expecting to shell out major bucks for tuition, room and board and a million other necessities over the next few years. But before you send your kid off, make sure you share one gift likely to steer him or her along the road to financial security -- a sound understanding of how credit works.
When it comes to your financial health, your credit score is one of those things that'll just keep seeking you out. It's tempting to think that your credit score or credit health will only come into play when you're looking for a mortgage or a new credit card. The truth is that your credit information can be checked far more often than you might think.
In most cases, your child should not have a credit report -- that is, until credit is taken out in his or her name. So if you get a call or a notice from a creditor regarding your child, or an invitation for them to apply for a credit card shows up in the mail (email or snail), don't dismiss it as a mistake.