As of September 21, 2018 – Federal Trade Commission has announced that if your child is under the age of 16 you can free his/her credit for free;
This blog begins at what would normally be the ending. The reason is because there should be an easy solution to this problem. The government requires that a child is issued a Social Security Number when they are born. Yet, they don’t protect that number. In my opinion, the government is responsible for children’s identities being stolen. With all the technology today, why can’t the Social Security administration flag the numbers when it is issued to a newborn to prevent anyone using it illegally. Then, remove the flag when the child reaches a certain age? It sounds simple to me. Of course, we all know that our government prefers that tax codes, rules and laws be complicated. A friend and I were talking, and she said Washington should have a Director of Common Sense. I agree, but that is a blog for another day.
Unfortunately, most of the fraud is perpetuated by people who know the child. Years ago, I was involved in a domestic violence case in which the abuser used his child’s id to keep law enforcement and creditors off his trail. A child turns 18 and applies for credit to find that his/her credit rating is already ruined and has a criminal record of having robbed a bank at 1 years of age. Correcting this problem will not be an easy task.
All that is needed to steal a child’s identity is the child’s name, date-of-birth and the mother’s maiden name. Some states allow you to freeze a child’s credit by charging a small fee. Soon it can be done at no charge.
A study was conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research that was sponsored by Identity Guard.
- More than 1 million children in the United States were victims of ID theft
- 2.6 billion dollars in losses
- Families paid 540 million dollars in out-of-pocket costs because of fraud
- Child identities are worth more on the black market
- Minors who are bullied are 9 times more likely to be victims of fraud than minors who were not bullied
Recommendations from Identity Guard:
- Start training children to protect their identity online
- Pay attention to the identity of children who are bullied
- Check and freeze a child’s credit activity and monitor existing accounts
- Keep physical documents secure
- Take breach notifications and other correspondence seriously
- Reach out for help to Identity protection providers, banks and credit bureaus
I agree with those listed above. The most important action may be contacting the credit bureaus to check the child’s credit and then freezing it if there are no problems. This may not stop fraud, but it makes it harder for someone to open a new account. However, since most of the identity theft is committed by people the child knows, I am putting it back on the Social Security Administration. Children should be protected from all harm, including their identities. If a child’s identity is stolen, parents may want to contact the Federal Trade Commission.