According to Javelin’s data, most child identity theft victims know the perpetrators personally. However, social media and the data economy are increasingly important.
Kelly Merryman, president, and CEO of Aura, says kids have difficulty discerning between good and bad intentions online.
They sometimes divulge valuable information to identity thieves.
However, schools, camps, and other providers still ask for sensitive data like Social Security numbers and home addresses – which, once digitized, can be misused.
Identification theft can devastate young adults: ruined credit scores, denied financial aid, and job rejection.
You won’t be alerted if someone opens a credit card or buys a home using your child’s Social Security number.
Fraudulent credit lines won’t set off alarm bells because your child’s credit history is essentially blank.
Aura’s Merryman said, “No one’s going to call you and say, ‘Hey, I thought you already have a house. Why are you buying another one?’ There’s just no checks against it.”
Authorities are searching for ways to cross-check people’s identities without compromising privacy.
ITRC’s Velasquez said parents sometimes discover their baby’s identity when they list the baby as a dependent on a tax return and learn the baby has reported income.
ITRC suggests keeping an eye on your mailbox for offers of credit cards and new accounts in your child’s name and attempts to open accounts in their name.
Velasquez considers child identity theft “an epidemic.” But many guardians don’t take steps to prevent it. Protect your children’s financial future online and offline:
Freeze Your Child’s Credit
You must fill out freeze requests with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, as well as copies of documents proving your identity, your child’s identity, and your relationship to the child.
Protect Your Child’s Information
Velasquez said it is essential to protect the foundational identity documents of your child – their birth certificate, Social Security card, and insurance card – from people in your circle.
Monitor Your Child’s Online Activity
Kids are exposed to the data economy earlier when they get online.
The younger parents feel it is appropriate to give children unrestricted internet access, the higher the risk of identity theft and data breaches.