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Study Shows Identity Theft of Children 51X More Likely

Based on a recent assessment of 40,000+ SSNs of children, it was found that more than 10% those SSNs were being used by someone other than the child, far in excess of the rate of misuse in the adult population. The study points out the major issues that surround child identity theft and why we need to start paying attention now. It is more prevalent than many think and the threat is growing. Here are a few of the statistics that were found:

  • 4,311 or 10.2% of the children in the report had someone else using their Social Security number – 51 times higher than the 0.2% rate for adults in the same population
  • Child IDs were used to purchase homes and automobiles, open credit card accounts, secure employment and obtain driver’s licenses
  • The largest fraud ($725,000) was committed against a 16 year old girl
  • The youngest victim was five months old; 303 victims were under the age of five

Read the Entire Report

Parents need to stop ignoring child identity theft. It is one thing to ignore it for yourself, but failing to protect children, who are otherwise helpless to this crime, shows a definite lack of parental responsibility.

Acting now on behalf of your child will protect them from consequences common to child victims. Click on Child Identity Theft Protection Tips to learn more about the steps you should take.

 

John Sileo’s motivational keynote speeches train organizations to play aggressive information offense before the attack, whether that is identity theft, data breach, cyber crime, social networking exposure or human fraud. Learn more at www.ThinkLikeASpy.com or call him directly on 800.258.8076.

 

Child Identity Theft Expert – Part IV Protection

baby2In Parts I – III we talked about how easy it is for your child’s identity to be kidnapped and who does it; now let’s get to the heart of…

Protecting Your Children

Acting now on behalf of your child will protect them from consequences common to child victims:

  • Starting adulthood with a credit rating low enough to scare away the hungriest of loan sharks
  • Being denied a first loan, credit card or apartment rental because of a crime committed 10-15 years earlier (the passage of time makes this crime very hard to clear up)
  • Being denied access to college or a new job
  • Having a warrant out for her arrest for crimes that she didn’t commit

In the same way that you can’t protect your children from every bruise and scrape, you can’t entirely remove the risk of identity theft. You can, however, prevent or soften the fall if it does happen. Take these steps first:

  1. Stop giving out your child’s personal information. Until you are confident that it is absolutely necessary to receive the services desired, withhold their personal information. More than 80% of organizations that ask for your child’s Social Security Number don’t actually need it to establish services. If you must give it, ask them how they will use it, how long they will keep it and how it will be protected while they have it. Vigilance is highly effective. Never carry your child’s SSN with you.
  2. Order a free credit report for your child at least once a year. All three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) offer one free credit report per year per individual. Order one for your child at the same time you order yours and review them both for any red flags indicating fraudulent activity. I recommend that you order the first one (Equifax) right now; order a second report (Experian) in 4 more months; order the third report (TransUnion) four months after that and then repeat the process the following year. For a more convenient option, use an identity monitoring services for you and your family.
  3. If you find evidence of fraudulent activity, contact the police, the source of the fraud and all three credit bureaus. Filing a police report helps to establish your child’s innocence in an official way. Have the credit bureaus FREEZE your child’s credit for maximum protection. Keep detailed records of all correspondence between yourself, the police, the merchant and the credit bureaus. It will come in handy should you ever find yourself in court, as I did.
  4. Educate your children on the importance of protecting their personal information. Teach them about the value of their personal information: their name, address, phone numbers, email address, Social Security Number and any passwords and PIN numbers. Reinforce that they own their private information and that it should not be shared with friends, over the internet or with anyone whom they don’t know or trust. Education is absolutely the best financial gift you will ever give to them. Because you love and protect your children as much as I do, you should start this process immediately.

In the case of child identity theft, an ounce of prevention is worth a lifetime of financial security. Don’t let the center of your universe become just another statistic.

After losing his business to data breach and his reputation to identity theft, John Sileo became America’s leading identity theft expert. He speaks to audiences around the world about protecting personal and professional data. To learn more, visit www.ThinkLikeASpy.com or John’s LinkedIn Profile.

Child Identity Theft Expert: A Growing Concern – Part I of 4

Child Identity TheftAre you as protective of your kids as I am of mine?

My wife and two highly-spirited daughters are more than just the center of my universe – they are the compass by which I set my course in every aspect of life. If something is not good for the family, then it isn’t good for me. And that means that I want to do everything in my power to keep them safe.

You and I are called on to protect our children from many things, starting in the womb. Even before they are born, we practice good preventative care. We take specially designed pre-natal exercise classes, coax ourselves to eat right for their benefit, learn CPR and Love and Logic and screen regularly for signs of trouble. Once they are born, we provide the best nourishment, the finest medical care, ample playtime, rest and an infinite flow of unconditional love. You get the point… we do everything in our power to prevent complications and to give them the best chance to grow up healthy, happy and in harmony with the world around them. That is our responsibility, our purpose and our joy.

But how often do you check their credit report? Their WHAT?! I can feel the surprise in your blank stare. I can hear your questions:

“Check my kid’s …credit report? But she is only seven! She doesn’t even have her front teeth yet, let alone a credit card! There are so many years to go before we need to worry about that. Right?”

Unfortunately, no. Because children have untouched and unblemished credit records, they are highly attractive targets. Child identity theft is profitable, hard to detect and a nightmare to recover. Thieves steal a child’s identity early on, nurture it until they have a solid credit score, and then abuse and discard it.

How Does it Happen?

Identity Theft Expert John Sileo – Video Tips

Eglin AFB Stumps the Identity Theft Expert

Military ImagesI just finished delivering an identity theft speech for the Department of Defense to the Airmen and Women of Eglin Air Force Base in Ft. Walton, Florida. It is the highest honor for me to be able to serve the United States military, who so valiantly and humbly serve every American. Thank you Eglin AFB, and a special thanks to the person who asked me to clarify this question after the speech:

Is LifeLock identity theft monitoring service truly free to military personnel, or is it just for certain personnel? Read more