Protect Your Children from Identity Theft

identity theft

With identity theft at epidemic proportions in the country, few adults think about protecting their children’s identity from being stolen.

But it’s time to turn your attention to your young children with this news from USAToday.com that states, “According to a study by Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab, children are 51 times more likely to be a victim of identity theft than adults.”

You might not think that a child’s identity would be meaningful to a criminal. Even though young children don’t have credit cards they do have Social Security numbers.

And those are what criminals love getting their hands on. It’s like having a clean slate to work with.

As USAtoday.com writes, “Armed with a child’s Social Security number, an identity thief can file a phony income tax return or establish credit and then exploit that credit without ever making payments, leaving the child with huge debt in his or her name. Often a child does not find out that he or she has become a victim of identity theft until he or she reaches the age of 18 and first applies for credit, a scholarship or an educational loan.”

With kids returning to school there are a variety of ways that a child’s identity can be compromised.

School forms require personal information. Extra curricular activities are often sponsored by off-site companies that are not held to the same privacy rights as the schools are. So, do your due diligence when signing the kids up and make sure their personal information is protected.

Another fact that comes out of the USAtoday.com article is that, “Approximately 30% of child identity theft is done by the child’s own family members.” Keep your children’s Social Security numbers locked away and protected. You can’t put a credit freeze on a child’s account because they don’t have credit reports.