Before ever even opening up a bank account, signing up for a credit card or applying for a loan, hundreds of thousands of children across the country are unknowingly already victims of long-running identity theft that could cost them financially and professionally in the future.
This is the case for Indianapolis native Adam Brackin, who discovered that he was the victim of identity theft in fourth grade when his mother received a call from the IRS asking why thousands of dollars in income from working in a factory were never reported. It turned out that somehow just a few months after Adam was born, 38-year-old Marco Lopez had used Adam’s Social Security number to rent homes and apartments, gain employment, title eight different cars and run up thousands of dollars in unpaid bills that debtors now think Adam is responsible for.
Even after years of attempting to clear Adam’s name, the Brackins are still constantly discovering continued use of Adam’s Social Security number despite numerous attempts to curb the activity.
“Recent studies suggest child identity theft is more prevalent than even identity theft against adults,” Steve Toporoff, an attorney in the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, told Indianapolis news source WTHR, a local NBC affiliate. “Children are being targeted because their credit history is nonexistent. That makes them very attractive to organized crime and other thieves.”
Parents should contact one of the three credit reporting bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – to make sure their children don’t already have a credit report or score and that no one else is using their personal information fraudulently.