safeidtrust

As parents, we watch our children grow through the years. We watch them take their first steps. We provide shelter and medical care. We help them through school and prepare them for college. So when was the last time you pulled your child’s credit report? Most parents would never think to do this. However, child identity theft is on the rise and oftentimes goes undetected for many years.

Identity Theft is currently the top reported crime in the U.S. It is estimated that 1 in 10 children will have their identity stolen. Children are a top target as they usually have no credit history or “clean credit.” Once small amounts are approved, thieves can request larger credit amounts. The scary part – child identity theft can go on for many

As parents, we watch our children grow through the years.  We watch them take their first steps.  We provide shelter and medical care.  We help them through school and prepare them for college.  So when was the last time you pulled your child’s credit report?  Most parents would never think to do this.  However, child identity theft is on the rise and oftentimes goes undetected for many years.

Identity Theft is currently the top reported crime in the U.S.  It is estimated that 1 in 10 children will have their identity stolen.  Children are a top target as they usually have no credit history or “clean credit.”  Once small amounts are approved, thieves can request larger credit amounts.  The scary part – child identity theft can go on for many years without being detected, causing thousands, if not millions, of dollars in damage!  With technology advancements, hackers are getting more crafty with how to steal identities – including children’s.  There have been reports of criminal rings where receptionists are placed in professional offices to funnel customer records – child and adult.

How identity theft really works.  Once identity thieves have your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, open new utility accounts, or get medical treatment on your health insurance. An identity thief can file a tax refund in your name and get your refund. In some extreme cases, a thief might even give your name to the police during an arrest.   There were 13 million reported identity fraud victims in 2013 alone!  That number is expected to be well over 20 million for 2015.  This is due in large part to over 600 million confidential records being lost, stolen, or exposed over the years.

How can you know if it’s already happened?  Some key ways to know if you’ve been the victim of identity theft are withdrawals from your bank account you cannot explain, creditors calling about debts that aren’t familiar to you, missing mail, you’re notified of a data breach involving your personal information, medical providers billing you for services you never received.  If you have had any of these situations occur, or other questionable issues, visit the FTC government site at www.identitytheft.gov for specific details and steps to follow to address.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the nation’s consumer protection agency. If you suspect your child is the victim of identity theft, or just want to be sure it hasn’t happened yet, ask!  You can request a copy of your child’s credit report from any of the 3 major credit reporting bureaus.  The average number of hours it takes to resolve identity theft including filing paperwork, making phone calls, and mailing documentation is about 200 hours.  As you cannot completely protect your identity from being stolen, take precautions to reduce the risk.  Don’t share your personal information unless necessary, shred personal documents, and review your credit report regularly for suspicious activity.  You only have one identity.

Resources:  www.Ftc.gov, www.identitytheft.gov, www.safeidtrust.com

Erica Nickerson is a Regional Director with Safe ID Trust.  To learn more about identity theft and identity theft recovery through Safe ID Trust visit www.erica.safeidtrust.com