Delta, PA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/28/2012 -- Right after a person is born, his parents let the Social Security office know so that their child is given his own identifying number that will be his for as long as he lives. This is the child’s only piece of legal identification, so it must be protected at all costs. Adult Social Security numbers (SSNs) must also be carefully protected, because if an identity thief gets hold of it, the results will not be good.
Believe it or not, Social Security identity theft happens to children 35% more than to adults, and no one knows about it until years later. Parents don’t think to check their children’s credit ratings when the kids are young: Why would they? There is generally no reason to do so, which is why so very much damage can be done to a youth’s credit score long before the child is old enough to use credit himself.
All an identity thief needs to steal a child’s information is access to that child’s SSN. Here’s the connection between a Social Security number and identity theft: Once the thief has the youth’s personal identifying number, he can, essentially, become that child. He can take out loans, purchase a car, or open utility or charge card accounts in the kid’s name. Sadly, the people who most often commit this crime against a child are those he should be able to trust most: his parents. Many adults feel that their children’s SSNs belong not to the child, but to them, until the youngster turns eighteen, so using it to get the heat turned back on is not a crime in their eyes. Legally, however, it is a felony that can result in stiff fines and/or jail time. Others who may use a child’s SSN to further their own gains are trusted friends of the family. While it may not be intentional on the part of the “thief,” it is against the law to use anyone else’s SSN for any purpose whatsoever, period.
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