Child Identity Theft: It’s Real and It’s Scary
Identity theft has doubled in the past year for children 5 and younger. It’s difficult for many people to fathom how children could become victims when they are too young to even apply for a credit card, but criminals find ways to get around this fact. Information on an application is often taken at face value, and some reviewers fail to ask for sufficient proof of identity or age.
If someone gets a hold of private information about your child, they can use that to attempt to open accounts in your child’s name, and this often works. Many criminals are now targeting children because unless you check their reports regularly or have an identity theft protection service that includes your children, you may not notice any issues for years.
According to AllClear ID, the age of your child is only established after an application is received with his or her name. This means that if someone applies with your child’s information saying that they are 19 and the person reviewing the application doesn’t look into it very carefully, your child becomes 19 according to the agency, even if your child is really only 10. A dispute has to be proven in order for the agency to see an issue.
Because criminals can use your child’s personal information and potentially not be investigated, they often try. The added bonus for criminals is that many parents or children don’t detect identity theft for years, because most kids won’t apply for any line of credit until they are 18.