Why is your Child the Perfect Target for Identity Theft?
- Author | Marlee Sacks
- Date | 2/5/2020 9:15 am
A child’s social security number (SSN) is completely pure and untouched, it makes them the number one target for identity theft.
If you think it’s impossible that your child could ever have his or her identity stolen, you are sadly mistaken. Yes, obviously they are too young to open up a bank account or to even have any credit at all.
The question here is, how do thieves even find your children’s personal information in the first place? *According to the AARP, your child’s personal info is stored in numerous different types of databases. Even though some institutions are not required to have social security numbers in their system, they do anyway. A hacker has the means to breach through a number of establishments such as, a doctor’s office, schools or extracurricular organizations.
Cyber thieves can and will use your child’s SSN to create a new identity and perhaps open up credit in their name. The scariest part about this is that it could go undiscovered for years. This means that when your child turns 18 and wants to apply for a loan, they are denied and racked with debt up to their ears.
*In fact, in a 2018 Javelin report, they stated that in 2017, “over a million children were affected by identity fraud, resulting in losses totaling $2.6 billion and families paying over $540 million out of pocket.
Now that we know kids are never too young to have their identities stolen, it is up to the parents and guardians to keep their children protected. Here is a list of some actions you should take in order to prevent child identity theft:
Freeze your child’s credit file. ( link)This will prevent any thief who is looking to steal to not have access to make any changes on your child’s credit.
Say no to schools. Even though your child’s school may ask for their social security number, you are allowed to leave that box blank because it is not required for them to have it. If the school specifically asks for it, then you MUST ask why. If it is a necessity that an institution has your child’s SSN then be sure to ask how they secure this personal information.
Monitor social media accounts. This goes for the child as well as the parent. Be mindful of the kinds of pictures and videos you or your child are posting. Make sure there are no hidden images of any personal information that a thief could use to their advantage.
It is clear to see why adults need protection but now we must extend that same protection to our children.
*Identity Guard, accessed February 6, 2020, https://www.identityguard.com/news/kids-targeted-identity-theft)
* Greg Hernandez Bio and Evelyn Pimplaskar, “ID Theft May Also Be Targeted toward Children,” Credit Karma, December 20, 2019)
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