September 19, 2023
As a parent, you want to give your child the best start in life possible. For many, that means setting your child up for future success. How some people have chosen to accomplish this is by opening up a credit card in their child’s name.
This may seem like a logical thing to do – and something you’re doing to help your child build credit but be warned that this isn’t advised. No matter your intentions, you should never put your child’s name on a credit card, or you could face credit card fraud charges.
Child Identity Theft: A Few Facts
When someone steals the identity of a child and uses it fraudulently, then it’s considered identity theft. Some parents, as discussed, do it as a way to help their child build credit.
After all, they have their child’s information right at their fingertips, including their social security number. Still, some parents do it out of financial desperation to simply keep the lights on in the home for one more month.
One day, when a child finds out that their identity was used by a parent and their credit doesn’t look great, then they’ll face a lot of obstacles.
They may not be able to open a bank account or get loans – but there are emotional costs too. Feelings of guilt, betrayal, and abuse of trust are very common.
Identity Theft is a Crime in Colorado
Under Colorado law, falsely posing as someone else and using their personal information to commit fraud or other illegal acts is considered identity theft. The taking and using any of the following personal information is illegal:
- Date of Birth
- Phone number
- Social Security Number
- Bank account information
- Credit card information
- Passwords to access bank accounts and credit cards
- Any other sensitive data
Colorado Penalties for Identity Theft
If you are charged and convicted of identity theft, then you can face either a misdemeanor or a felony. What level of crime you’re charged with depends on the monetary damage done, your criminal record, and the sophistication of the crime.
For misdemeanors, you can face up to two years in prison. For felony charges, state prison time will depend on the factors mentioned and vary from case to case.
Credit Card Fraud in CO
The penalties of credit card fraud can range from a misdemeanor to a felony. For misdemeanors, you can face as little as six months in prison and fines of $500.
For felonies, you can face up to 24 years in prison and fines of $1,000,000 – but it depends on the value of the credit card fraud.
Setting Your Child Up for Financial Success
If you are concerned about setting your kids up well for their financial future, the best road to take is to teach them about handling money.
As early as when they begin talking, you can begin introducing the concept of money and teaching your kids about finances in age-appropriate ways.
Identifying coins and bills, taking ownership of a piggy bank, and talk to them about having a job and the work you do, as well as the money you earn by doing it, are all simple ways to start the conversation.
As kids get older, give them an allowance that helps them learn the value of saving money and create incentives by increasing their allowance as they get older. You can also talk to older kids about credit cards, how they work, and loans as well.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020 and is Lead Counsel rated.