That’s right. Adults are not the only victims of ID theft… kids are too. In fact, ID Analytics, a company that monitors consumer transactions in real-time, has issued a press release on a studying that found that more than 140,000 children in the United States are victims of identity theft every year. That’s right, minors- people under 18 years of age. This can lead to a young child with a bankruptcy on his record or a 17-year straddled in $750,000 in debt.
The statistics are based on ID Analytic’s Consumer Notification Service (CNS) that alerts consumers of potential privacy compromises under their names. ID Analytics found that most of the fraudulent transactions occurred in the credit card and cell phone/wireless industries. The reason why children are more vulnerable is because of the recency of their social security numbers (SSN) hence making it more difficult to verify the birth dates attached to children’s SSNs.
It’s possible that children won’t notice the fraud until they become adults and want to use their credit only to find their name being tied to a criminal record or being denied financing or credit cards because of a bad credit history that was attained as a result of ID theft.
Other than organized crimes groups, it is often parents who are the perpetrators of identity theft. In an effort not to smudge his or her own record, a parent sometimes uses their kid’s information when asked for identity. Ouch. This makes children reluctant to report the theft because — who wants to rat out their own parents?
So what can you to decrease your kids’ chances of having his or her identity stolen? Well other than parents not doing it to their own kids, monitor who receives your child’s SSN. When asked for it, ask who will have access to it and where it will be stored. Although checking your kids’ credit report is fine too, that only catches identity theft only 1% of the time. One good advice is from ID Analytics’ Tom Oscherwitz, chief privacy officer for IDAnalytics, who stated, ‘Be careful what you share, protect what you have, and monitor, monitor, monitor.’