Created on: March 05, 2013 Last Updated: March 08, 2013
Identity theft is a prominent issue in today's world. While theft has been a societal problem for centuries, the modern form of theft is different because through digital data, thieves can easily steal a person's entire identity.
Recently, a study conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research found that an identity is stolen every three seconds in the U.S. Not only that, but the ID thieves
While adults are victims, what isn't often realized is that children are frequently the victims of ID theft and the pilfering of identity isn't often realized until years later; often when the children turn 18.
Child ID theft is a growing problem. A recent MSN report highlighted that a child in one in every 40 homes becomes a victim.
“Children are at 51 times greater risk of being targeted for identity theft than are adults, according to Carnegie Mellon University CyLab,” said Robert P. Chappell, Jr., a veteran of law enforcement and of the Armed Forces. Chappell is the author of a book recently published entitled "Child Identity Theft: What Every Parent Needs To Know".
Children identities are a very attractive option for thieves because of the fact the theft typically goes undetected for a long period of time and they have a clean credit record. This gives the thieves a prime opportunity to use an identity they can hide behind. Over the years, high debts could be accumulated and criminal offenses committed under a victimized child's name. Additionally, a victimized child ends up with a sketchy financial and employment history before they are even old enough to work.
“Children are targeted because criminals have learned that a child’s personal information is of value,” Chappell explains. “This personal information consists of their name, date of birth and Social Security number. Criminals understand that by stealing a child’s information they have a longer period to abuse the identity before being discovered.”
While 51 percent risk is a staggering number, some reports indicate the issue of Child ID theft has risen 300 percent in the last five years. Perhaps even more disturbing of a statistic is that many of the child victims have their identities stolen by 27 percent of the reported cases, noted recent statistics, according to the Identity Theft Assistance Center.
Usually the identity theft ball gets rolling after a criminal swipes a child's social security number. Once this information is obtained, the thief can commit all sorts of fraud. These days parents need to heavily safeguard their child's Social Security Number, and pay close attention as the SSN is often requested by various businesses and organizations.
Joe Mason, an executive at Intersections Inc., a provider of consumer and corporate identity risk management services in Chantilly, Va. provides some parental advice in an interview with KVUE News, "First ask why the information is needed. Ask them how are they going to protect it and ask them, in the event the data is mismanaged or lost or a fraud occurs in their organization, how are you going to be notified as a parent. If they can't answer those questions to your satisfaction, chances are they don't have a good security policy in place."
For more information on Child Identity Theft, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission website offers some good tips.
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