When a child is born, a parent may apply for a Social Security number for that child. A child’s Social Security number is very much sought after by identity thieves. The child identity thief could be a family member (uncle, aunt cousin), another adult who has access and is allowed in your home, someone who has stolen your mail or hacked into your computer. We think we know who the child identity thief could be, but we don’t.
Most parents apply for the baby’s SSN so that they can claim the child on their taxes and you must submit the SSN on the official tax forms, so now, anybody who has the means to see that tax form can copy the child’s information. The child’s identity could be stolen at the hospital or at a health professionals’ office. What about the dishonest legal professional who sells the child’s identity to an unscrupulous client. It does not matter what profession a person is in, they have the potential to be dishonest.
The thief could be anybody. Typically, your not going to check your child’s credit rating (why would you), so your not going to know their identity has been stolen. Now the identity thief has more than a decade to create a new identity for him and gain credit cards, loans, cell phones, utilities, bank accounts, drivers license etc. etc. The crime is not discovered until your child has grown and applies for her first education loan, apartment, credit card or job! By now, the trail has become ice cold and your child’s credit record has been cut to ribbons. In all likelihood all of the accounts opened in her name have been purchased by a collection agency.
It would be very difficult for your child to repair what has happened because of the difficulty in tracking down the original loan applications and transaction records if the original account has been through several hands because of companies merging and being bought-up. Our children need to be taught about the dangers of providing their personal information and your personal information when they are logged onto the net. Today’s kids have a burning desire to log into the many chat rooms and social networking sites and they may be asked for personal information on a registration screen or by an identity thief.
The preventative identity theft company, LifeLock, has already launched the first-of-its-kind Children’s ID Theft Prevention Program. Now, LifeLock’s subscribers can add the children’s ID theft program to their existing full suite of ID theft preventative services. The children’s theft prevention program is for minors 16 years and younger. A recent study in the state of Utah revealed that 1,800 Social Security numbers assigned to children 12 years of age and younger had been forged, according to the state’s Identity Theft Task Force.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has advised that between 5% and 7% of identity theft victims are under the age of 18 and if you include college-aged individuals, it is almost 20%.
“Due to the extreme increase in ID theft among minors, we have taken the initiative to develop a first-of-its-kind program to protect children,” said Todd Davis, CEO of LifeLock. Tracking credit bureau activity and monitoring depository accounts are considered standard when dealing with identity theft. But Davis insists that working with the Social Security Administration and identifying work activity from unusually young minors is a red flag that warrants further investigation. “LifeLock is in the process of working with local and federal agencies, as well as leaders in Washington D.C. to lead the efforts in protecting our children from identity theft. This is a critical aspect of our overall service,” continued Davis. “As the Utah investigation demonstrated, sadly, there are numerous victims yet to be discovered.” LifeLock subscribers can pay $10 per year for the Children’s ID Theft Prevention Program through which LifeLock will regularly audit the credit bureau, monitor depository banking accounts, and track any unusual “work activity” with the Social Security Administration on behalf of LifeLock’s youth customers. All minors enrolled in the program will also benefit by LifeLock’s standard $1 million guarantee.
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