Identity theft is no longer just for adults, as trends show that this growing crime has ballooned recently to include child identity theft. As with anyidentity theft, cyber criminals are after social security numbers. However,child identity theft compared to adult identity theft can go undetected for years. This offers a longer timeframe for criminals to benefit from their crime, ultimately driving thieves to shift their focus from adults to children in committing this crime.
Some Stats About Child Identity Theft
Carnegie Mellon‘s 2011 study on child identity theft yielded the following results:
-Over 10% of the children in the report (4,311 children) had someone else use their social security number.
-The largest fraud ($725,000) was committed against a 16-year-old girl.
-The youngest victim was 5 months old; 303 victims were under the age of 5.
These alarming statistics should motivate parents to take action.
How To Keep Your Child Safe From Identity Theft
With school registration around the corner, parents should ask school administrators how student social security numbers, if required for registration, will be kept secure. Alternatively, the parent can ask if a waiver can be signed in lieu of providing the child's social security number.
Parents also have the option of enrolling in an identity theft protection service. AllClear ID offers services for consumer identity theft with a special monitoring option for child identity theft.
More Tips To Combat Child Identity Theft
Parents can also regularly monitor the child's credit report, if one exists! The three major credit agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) can verify if a child has a credit report, and if so, can provide help in monitoring it or freezing the child's credit altogether.
Not only must parents worry about protecting their own identities, but parents must also be concerned with preserving the identities of their children. The upwards trend of child identity theft truly illustrates the opportunistic and ruthless nature of cyber criminals, calling all of us to be vigilant in yet another facet of cybercrime.