Over 1 Million Children in U.S. were ID Theft Victims in 2018
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Child Identity Theft
To identity thieves, minors are an even better target than adults. Why? Child identity theft isn’t usually discovered as quickly as it is with adults because children aren’t using their credit and running their credit reports until 18 years of age typically. Thieves can get away with fraud for years and years. One study showed that when it comes to mega data breaches, 39% of children later became victims of identity theft compared to 19% of adults. 1 million children were victims of ID theft last year alone, and two-thirds of those were 7 years of age and younger.
What Do They Steal from Children?
The most common personal information hackers and identity thieves steal from children are:
- Social security numbers
- Dates of Birth
- Street addresses
With this information, thieves typically take out mortgage and car loans, and rack up credit card debt. Imagine your son or daughter doing all the right things to get to college, pulling together their financial resources and applying for a college loan, only to be denied due to bad credit from identity theft that took place when they were 12 years old. What a nightmare at the very wrong time!
Michael Bruemmer, vice president of consumer protection at Experian says, “The toughest ones to fix are the ones involving children, medical ID theft and tax ID fraud. It could take days. It could take months. It could take over a year depending on how many accounts were opened.”
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July 31, 2019
Pearson, an educational software company based in London, but widely used here in the U.S., suffered a data breach where 13,000 school and university accounts were compromised.
How Identity Thieves Claim Your Child’s Identity as Their Own
Children are issued social security numbers at birth. Those social security documents are typically kept in a home; however, they are also located in government databases online.
Children’s personal information such as social security numbers, names, dates of birth, and addresses are included on life insurance applications, trusts, school forms, and medical records. Hardly anything is just in paper form anymore. All it takes is one successful hacker to access your child’s personal information online.
Another area largely unguarded is the gaming world. With online video games so popular, it is not uncommon for children to chat with complete strangers. When children become more comfortable, they are more likely to share personal information.
How Do You Know if Your Child is the Victim of ID Theft?
Here are a few telltale signs that your child may be the victim of identity theft:
- Bill or credit card came in their name
- Receiving calls from a collection agency
- Promotional mail is coming in their name
- You have trouble claiming them as dependent on taxes because someone else already did
Child identity fraud is on the rise. While no one can prevent all cybercrimes or identity theft, our Family First Protection Plan will:
- Minimize the risk for you and your family
- Check to see if anyone in your family has already been the victim of identity fraud and don’t even know it yet
- Monitor accounts and notify you immediately of any red flags
- Work to restore your identity to pre-theft status