ID Thieves Targeting Children's Clean Credit History - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

ID Thieves Targeting Children's Clean Credit History

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Parents want to protect their children, and that should include their financial security. Even if kids are too young to have a bank account or credit card, their identity can be stolen.

Children and adolescents have become the fastest growing sector of identity theft victims. Experts warn from the time your child gets a Social Security number, their personal information needs to be protected.

"Be aware of how your children's personal information is used just like your own information--Social Security number, and date of birth--be aware of how it is being used," says Jim Walsh, U.S. Postal Inspector.

In a recent case, more than 500 elementary school kids in Los Angeles had their information compromised.  A suspect with access to school files sold the kids' personal information to another suspect.

"There were hundreds of accounts opened and most of the accounts were used to get money," said Walsh.

The suspects withdrew cash advances, or they would sell the names to make fake college IDs.

Postal inspectors say children have clean credit histories, which makes them appealing to criminals.

"If they apply for a loan or try to get credit, they could find out their credit is basically ruined and wouldn't know it the whole time they are growing up," said Walsh.

That's why it's important to periodically check your child's credit. Here are some signs that can tip you off to a possible ID theft:

  • Calls from collection agencies
  • Getting a notice from the IRS saying your child didn't pay income taxes, even though your child has never had a job
  • Being turned down for government benefits because the benefits are being paid to another account using you child's Social Security number

For more information on protecting your child's information and identity, click here: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0040-child-identity-theft

 

 

 

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