Identity theft can be a nightmare at any age, but it can be even more devastating for young people who discover their good name and credit history were destroyed while they were still children.
Why Are Children Attractive Targets for Identity Predators?
Children make prime targets for identity thieves specifically because they have no credit history and thus, clean credit reports. Also, because parents don’t think to check their children’s credit histories, the theft can continue unchecked for over a decade. How appealing are children’s identities to identity thieves? According to a recent news article, police agencies are saying children are now the fastest growing segment of identity theft victims.1
How Do Identity Thieves Abuse Young Victims?
Identity thieves will use children’s identities to take out loans and lines of credit they never intend to repay and to establish an identity so they can obtain things like jobs or a driver’s license. The end result is that children can later be denied loans for cars or college, employment, a drivers’ license, or the ability to obtain housing or utilities. How early does it start? Some parents have reported that their children began being victimized at as early as 11-months old.1
Information thieves can collect:
- Social Security number
- Other personal information
What thieves can do with this information:
- Identity theft
- Employment-related fraud
- Loan fraud/payday loan fraud
- Bank fraud
- Benefits fraud
- Tax fraud
- Other identity fraud
† Federal Trade Commission. “Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book For
January – December 2011.” February 2012.
† Javelin Strategy & Research. "2012 Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming
the New Fraud Frontier." February 2012.