Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Your Kids Targets of Identity Theft?

We have been writing and teaching about the threats of identity theft in financial matters (credit card, checking accounts, your credit history), medical identity (your medical records are breached and people can get medication and medical services in your name), and true identity theft (your total "persona" is taken by someone who gets passports, drivers licenses and other identities with your name but their picture and biometrics).

Now we have more evidence of the risks to your kids. Read on.

A report by Carnegie Mellon's CyLab has found that identity theft is a growing concern for children. In a scan of 42,000 US child IDs, CyLab found that more than 10 per cent of kids had someone else using their Social Security number.

Why are kids such a good target? Parents aren't paying attention. However, parents should pay attention, since CyLab found that children had a 51 per cent higher attack rate than adults. The problem is likely to get worse as more kids go online at a younger age.

CyLab scanned more than 42,000 child IDs by identify protection company Debix and found that:

  • 4311, or 10 per cent of children, had someone else use their Social Security numbers;
  • these IDs were used to buy homes, cars and open credit lines;
  • the largest fraud was US$725,000 against a 16-year-old girl;
  • the youngest victim was five-months-old and 303 victims were under five; and
  • there were 1767 cases where a child's Social Security Numbers were found in utility records.

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  • Deter. Detect. Defend. Avoid ID Theft - www.ftc.gov/idtheft