Identity Thieves Most Interested in Your Child's Identity

Dec 12, 2012

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Social Security Card

Kids are 51 times more likely than adults to have their identities stolen. That’s what the results of a study by Carnegie Mellon University are saying. Of the 42,232 children whose financial histories were scanned, 10.2 percent reflected fraudulent social security number use, which is 51 times the amount of adult identities that were attacked.

Children are more likely to be attacked because their Social Security numbers have no history attached to them. Because there is no way to check the name and birth date associated with a particular number, identity thieves can connect whatever name they want to it.

In addition, most kids are not exactly worried about their credit score. They don’t know that their identities have been stolen until they grow up and try to apply for a credit card or loan. Only then do they discover that they already have a credit history and it’s usually not a good one. Identity thieves can get away with using your child’s identity for years because no one noticed.

To prevent identity theft, never share your kids’ Social Security number online. Be cautious about sharing it with just anyone who asks, like schools and businesses. Oftentimes, it’s not actually needed; it’s just policy to ask. Check the mail for letters addressed to your kids from credit card companies or banks as well.

As children get older, talk to them about online privacy and the importance of not sharing information about themselves online.

I work for ContentWatch and all opinions expressed here are my own.