Child ID Theft Statistics
A case of child identity theft occurs when a child’s identity is used fraudulently by another individual for personal gain.
Child identity theft is among the 17.6 million U.S. citizens that experienced identity theft in 2014.
By 2013, one in every 40 families in the U.S. had at least one child under 18 years whose identity was compromised.
In 2012, American citizens lost an estimated $24.7 billion in terms of direct and indirect costs related to identity theft.
Child Identity Theft is a Serious Crime With Real Implications
Parents should consider child identity theft as a serious crime that can affect a child’s credit rating and employment status in the future.
The number may also be used to obtain employment status by ineligible individuals.
In addition, an identity thief may use a child’s private information to apply for loans and default on them.
Such actions by an identity thief may affect a child’s financial status in the future.
In extreme cases, a child’s identity may be used in illegal activities such as money laundering, organized crime and petty crimes including traffic offenses.
Such criminal records may affect the child’s reputation in future and possibly lead him/her into problems with authorities.
It’s highly important that a child’s identity is inaccessible to individuals who could use it in such illegal activities.
Child Identity Theft Could Go Undetected for Years
Child identity theft is somewhat difficult to detect as it may take a long time to notice that someone is using a child’s personal identity fraudulently.
For example, it usually takes years before a child opens a bank account or accept an employment contract.
If the child’s identity is stolen when he/she is very young, it will take years to detect that someone else is using the child’s identity fraudulently.
How to Detect Child Identity Theft
There are several indicators that could possibly point to a case of child identity theft.
Here are a few of most useful ways to detect a case of child identify theft.
- The child receives email notifications relating to financial offers and confirmations that are normally sent to adults. Such emails are addressed specifically to the child.
- The child gets turned down for government benefits and services because his/her social security number has been used for the same benefits by another person.
- The child cannot open a bank account since his/her information has already been used for such purposes.
- The child is surprisingly linked to petty or serious criminal offenses that are completely not related to his/her true identity.
What to Do in a Case of Child Identity Theft
If a child’s identity has been used fraudulently, the parent/guardian should contact all credit reporting agencies and ask them to remove all accounts and financial information related to the child’s identity.
The parent/guardian should then place a fraud alert with credit rating companies and subsequently file a report with the Federal Trade Commission.