Child identity theft is a growing problem as thieves begin to target a group that is least likely to notice the discrepancies. This means there is a need for parents to be cognizant of any problems with their children’s credit reports and to provide effective identity theft protection.
Pittsfield, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/26/2013 -- because they assume the discrepancies will not show up for many years later, and in many cases this is exactly what happens—or at least what used to happen before parents became aware of the problem and started becoming proactive in their quest to provide identity theft protection for their children. The first question that comes to the minds of many is why anyone would want to steal the identity of a child, but it is the simple fact that the information can remain hidden for so many years that makes it attractive.
What is really alarming is in 2009 the Identity Theft Resource Center reported just under 4,000 cases of identity theft with nearly ten percent targeted at children! Even more alarming is the fact that the thief involved in child identity theft is usually an adult who is close to the child such as a parent, aunt/uncle, cousin, etc. However, the ITRC has also noticed an increase in the cases of child identity theft committed by people who didn’t know the child or his or her parents.
When a thief has your child’s social security number he can do a number of things including applying for a job or unemployment benefits. There is no need to have the social security card to obtain a person’s social security number. If they have the date and place of birth it’s easy to obtain the information. In many cases the victims of child identity theft don’t even know they have become victims until they become closer to adulthood when they need to apply for financial aid or a credit card.
How can a parent provide child identity protection for their children? There are several things they can do.
1. With so many children having access to the Internet, especially social networking sites, it’s essential for them to understand the importance of only sharing information they would be comfortable sharing with strangers as well as friends. They also need to understand the concept of identity theft so they are more careful about the information they share.
2. Never use your children’s names. Encourage your children to use nicknames rather than their real names when they are online even with an email address.
3. Make sure you use the privacy settings so only trust friends and relatives can see what you are posting.
4. Make sure your security software is up to date.
5. Be sure to shred all documents that contain personal information about your children as well as yourself. Have a locking mailbox if possible.
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