Oxford Consulting Services

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Protecting your child from Identity theft

Have you ever received a piece of seemingly junk mail addressed to your underage child that you simply discarded? Next time, dig a little deeper into the content. Why? Because a credit card or loan offer can be a warning sign that your child may be a victim of identity theft. Left undetected, your child could be connected to massive fraudulent debt and bad credit before they can even vote.
One in 40 families with children under 18 had at least one child whose personal information was compromised, according to a recent survey by the Identity Theft Assistance Center and the Javelin Strategy & Research group.
All it takes is a Social Security number – often applied for at birth – which can be paired with a different name, birth date and address to apply for credit. This is called a synthetic identity. And, for nearly 18 years, there is typically little risk of detection.
“The primary use of stolen personally identifiable information is for financial purposes,” said Trevor Buxton, fraud awareness and communications manager at PNC Bank. “Using the stolen Social Security number, identity thieves can open credit cards, rent apartments, buy cars, secure jobs, and apply for welfare or other government programs.”

Other warning signs your child may be a victim include:
  • Notification by the IRS of unpaid taxes in your child’s name.
  • Notification that a child’s Social Security number was used on another tax return.
  • Receiving collection calls for a minor child
  • Receiving bills in a child’s name for products or services not ordered or delivered.
  • Declined for government benefits because benefits already are being paid to another account using the child’s Social Security number.
Parents can be proactive in protecting their child from identity theft:
  • Never carry your child’s (or your) Social Security card in your wallet or purse. Keep it in a safe place, where it is not at risk of being stolen.
  • Pay attention to forms from schools, doctor offices and others asking for personally identifiable information about your child. Opt out if you can or use the last four digits only.
  • Shred all documents that show your child’s personally identifiable information before throwing them away, just as you do for your own documents.
  • Most importantly: Request a credit report for your child annually, using the child’s Social Security number for reference. Every individual is entitled to one free copy of their credit report once every 12 months at www.annualcreditreport.com. If there is no credit history on record, then typically the child has not fallen prey to identity thieves.  If there is a credit history for a minor child, he/she has mostly likely become a victim.
If you suspect your child may be a victim:
  • Place a 90-day credit alert on your child’s file. There is no charge, but it must be renewed every 90 days. Contact one of the three credit reporting agencies who will then contact the other two:
  • Place a security freeze on the child’s credit to block all unauthorized credit inquiries. There is a cost involved, typically a one-time cost ranging from $2-$15 depending on the state. You also may be charged a similar fee to temporarily or permanently lift the freeze.
  • File a police report.
  • Contact businesses identified in your child’s credit report. Request that any account associated with your child’s Social Security number be closed as a fraudulent account.
  • Contact all three credit reporting companies. Request the removal of all accounts, inquiries and collection notices associated with your child’s name and Social Security number.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Choosing the right Daycare for you and your child

Image result for daycare
One of the toughest decisions you will make as a parent returning back to the work force is finding the right daycare setting for your newborn.  The search process itself isn't easy.  Many daycares are full and have waiting lists while others may be too expensive to consider.  There are many factors to consider when researching daycare.  Some of the factors are as follows:
Begin Early
Begin your quest for a daycare as soon as you realize that you will need it.  Many daycares require a deposit to hold a place for your child.
Ask Those who know
Ask seasoned daycare parents about they daycare they've used and tap into the research they have already done.  Their input can be extremely helpful.
Look for a Nurturing Environment
Children require nurturing to grow healthy minds and bodies.  Observe the environment as you tour the facility.  See how the children interact with other children and the workers.
Be Comfortable with the Method Of Discipline
Ask how a daycare disciplines a child.  If you are not comfortable with their methods walk way.
Pay Attention to Safety and Cleanliness
What are the security procedures?  Does the daycare follow a safety protocol?  How clean are the bathrooms? Are play areas messy or orderly?
Assess the Communication
How proactive is the daycare with communication?  Will you get a summary of your child's day or week?  Will you be called immediately if there is a concern?  Are they approachable? 
Understand the sick policy
Most daycares are specific about what constitutes a sick child or an ear infection.  Make sure you know the rules before you drop your child off for the day or risk being called to pick up.    

Thursday, November 3, 2016

What Parent's need to know about Naptime

As any parent knows, children's nap schedules change over time.  Just when you thought you had your infant or toddler's routine down pat, it got turned upside down.  Now, as your child is growing older, do you know what signs will tell you that your child would benefit from a change in nap schedule?  How will you know if your child still needs a daily nap?  How do you handle the transition?
Signs your child still needs a daily nap:
  • responds in a positive way to naptime and falls asleep easily
  • resists the idea of nap, but eventually sleeps an hour or longer
  • cries more easily in the evening than early in the day
  • has afternoon slump in energy
  • shows tired signs in the afternoon such as yawning or rubbing eyes
Signs your child needs a nap on some days, but not all:
  • on busy or active days, tends to become fussy in the evening
  • can be overly grumpy or whiny on busy days
  • seems to do alright missing one day's nap, but after a few days or missing starts to become whiny or cranky
Handling the transition from "Nap" to "No Nap"
  • schedule naptime on busy, active days
  • go with the flow from day to day
  • watch your child's sleepy signs and arrange naps when needed
  • keep your child's regular naptime every day, but don't require that he/she sleep, allow quiet rest instead
  • on days when a nap is missed, move bedtime earlier by thirty minutes to an hour to get a longer night sleep and to shorten the span from morning to bedtime.