Why are parents targeting their own children?
The main responsibilities of being a parent are to shelter and protect their children and prepare them for life.
Vague, I know, but not at all untrue. Parents would do anything in their power to help their children and safeguard them from potential danger.
They’d loan them money, give them a coat right off their own back, and stand in the line of fire it meant preserving the safety of their own kin.
And who better, as a child, to rely on than your own parents? Nobody will ever provide a shoulder to cry on or a helping hand quicker than a mother, father, or guardian.
Trust is rarely in question as parents and their kids inherently have an undeniable love for one another. Then why is it that parents, oh so often, steal their own kids’ identities?
Yes, you read that correctly. Parents will steal identities from their children for personal gain. It’s true. It happens, and it happens quite often. Let’s break it down.
Every year, 1.3 million kids have their identity stolen; half of them are under the age of six.
Child credit reports and Social Security Numbers are abused at a rate 51 (FIFTY ONE!) times greater than the adult population. 6% of identity theft victims identified family members as the beneficiary.
More than half of victims do not even know how their information was compromised.
These stats make up a small sample of a litany of eye opening numbers.
The point is that identity theft is a common problem that seemingly gets worse as technology expands and theft methods sophisticate.
And for whatever reason, which I will get into, it’s happening more and more to children by their own parents.
So why does this happen? Why would a mother or father proverbially sacrifice their own child for personal gain? What could come over someone to act so selfishly and maliciously?
The average person probably cannot rationalize any answer because, frankly, it is difficult to understand how this could or would happen.
However, it does happen, and the ramifications are extreme.
Why does it happen?
The old adage says “money is the root of all evil.” Some people are blinded and distracted by the almighty dollar and will do anything to gain more of it.
Any successful person would tell you that it’s not money that you seek, but rather freedom and happiness.
People say “money doesn’t buy happiness,” and they say it for a reason.
When people run into financial struggles, however, they sometimes get desperate. They’ll rationalize their own actions while disregarding the effects on other people.
Selfishness and personal gain jump to the top of the priority list, and they leave a war path behind them without knowing/caring.
Another reason why it happens is the ease factor; parents have easy access to their kids’ information, making it rather unchallenging to take advantage of that information.
They know their Social Security Numbers and often have access to bank accounts. Based on that, there is no bigger threat than a parent in terms of protecting your identity.
Often times parents don’t even know or think they’re doing anything wrong.
They’ll tell themselves that they’re borrowing money. They convince themselves it’s not immoral or illegal.
They genuinely believe that they’ll re-pay the money or undo what’s been done, and no harm will come of it. It’s a sad reality that needn’t fall on deaf ears.
What damage can be done?
- Emotional scarring – A child may never fully entrust their parents again. The very people who are supposed to protect them instead betrayed them. Psychologists say that victims can have trouble trusting anyone moving forward, leading to substantial relationship problems and hesitance to commit and open up to others. There’s a potential for irreversible scarring.
- Bad credit – Damage to your credit history is difficult to repair. Bad credit can have an impact on job searching, purchasing a car, renting an apartment, and much more. Fraudulent purchases can be reversed in a few hours, but the lasting effects of bad credit will standout for years.
- Putting your child in a tough position – When the truth comes out, you’ll have to ask your child to trust you moving forward after taking full advantage of that trust for your own short-term benefit. Imagine living with that burden of never again having a 100% trusting relationship with your own child.
Why don’t victims turn in their parents?
After all parents do for us, after all they provide for us, we simply don’t want them to get in trouble.
Don’t you remember all the times as a teenager when you were made at your parents?
You probably said you hated them, you never wanted to see them again, you were moving out, and everything else in between.
But at the end of the day, the relationship was mended, you forgave and forgot, and ultimately you moved on.
I would venture out and predict that looking back now, you can admit that those miniature “fights” were not actually fights but disagreements, and they were over something very trivial and inconsequential.
That boils down to the general concept that parents and their children love each other and would support them and forgive them through it all.
But what if it was something serious? What if one of your parents put you at serious risk?
What if they stole from you? What would it take for you to hold your parents accountable?
That’s the big question at the end of the day, the one that most of these victims wrestle with. If a stranger stole their identity, you would most likely report it.
Why hold your parents to a different set of standards? Just because they’re family doesn’t mean they have carte blanche.
When it comes down to it, victims could be forced to choose between family loyalty and sweeping it under the rug and living with bad credit because of the “trusting” bond you have.
Asking your child to draw a line in the sand there is unfair and unjust.
Filing a police report gets a bit complicated when you may need parental supervision or approval of doing so. It becomes a conflict of interest and incredibly awkward.
Lots of victims will elect to forgive and forget instead of taking the appropriate measures to put a stop to it and correct it. It could also be a result of denial or naivety.
They’ve already been taken advantage of, right? I’m sure a parent would have little difficulty convincing them that it was not at all wrong.
A victim could be easily convinced that having their identity stolen and their privacy compromised would serve no risk down the road.
We need to protect ourselves so that nobody can steal our identities, whether it be someone we know and love or a complete stranger.
There are precautions that can be taken now as preventative measures, and if you’ve already fallen victim, there’s still work to do moving forward.
This message goes out to parents too because many parents are responsible and want to protect their kids as well as any sensitive information.
Educate your kids on the potential dangers of information being exposed or stolen.
It’s important to safeguard any information that can be used to someone’s advantage. Check your bank statements on a regular basis.
If extra statements start showing up in the mail with your name, that could be a sign that irregular activity under your account could very well be happening without your knowledge.
Parents, teach your kids about personal finance and stress the importance of it. Shred your garbage mail and other documents with personal information included.
The main takeaway and precautionary measure that should not be put off any longer is to be vigilant; study up on the risks and how else you can protect yourself.
Anyone can have their identity stolen, but give yourself a better chance of staying protected by learning how to.
Unfortunately, a lot of people are already victims of identity theft. If you’ve fallen victim due to the selfish actions of a parent, it’s not too late to right this wrong.
You should consider filing a police report. It won’t be easy to do so when your own mother or father are on the other end of it, but ultimately it’s the best move for you long term.
It may create tension in your relationship, but you are not the one who set this stage.
Time will heal this wound. Mediation could be a wise decision for both parties where you can avoid a crime report but still get your name detached from those scathing credit reports.
If you’re old enough to manage your own finances, consider calling the banks and credit card companies to authorize nobody else to access the accounts.
These are easy steps that, though simple in nature, can have significant long term effects for your benefit.
The majority of people who have their identities stolen have no immediately knowledge of how it even happened; that’s a scary fact.
Not everyone will see these negative effects, of course, but everyone is prone to such.
It can quite literally happen to anybody. Take time now to educate yourselves so that you’ll be able to call out irregularities and red flags.
I hope this article can shed some light on a frightening reality, and if it can help even one person, then consider it a success.
If you read this and take action, soon you’ll be able to better protect yourself from identity thieves, your parents included.