Child identity theft is a growing concern for many parents. Statistics reveal that children are 50 times more likely to have their identity stolen than adults. In fact, this type of crime is one of the fastest growing non-violent crimes in the United States. No wonder parents are concerned.
Unsuspecting Victim of Identity Theft
One reason why this type of ID theft is on the rise is because children and their parents don't expect them to become victims of this type of theft. As a result, a child's identity can be used inappropriately for years.
In fact, children under five are most often targeted. This is because their identity can regularly used for 10 or more years before anyone realizes that the theft has occurred. By that time, the amount of debt in the child's name may be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Cost of Child ID Theft
Child identity theft occurs for a number of reasons. Identity thieves may want to:
- Get a fresh start on their own finances;
- Secure employment;
- Purchase an automobile, home, or other big ticket item without having to pay for it.
This is illegal, of course, and yet it continues to happen and the cost is steep for victims of the crime. In fact, identity victims may fight for years to overcome a history of bad credit that they didn't create. Unfortunately, this bad credit can keep them from securing employment. It can also cause them to get turned down when applying for a rental lease as well as keeping them from being approved for college financial aid.
Steps to Safeguarding Your Child's Personal Information
In fact, those who don't have a good credit report have fewer opportunities in all areas of life.
Here are some steps to help you safeguard your child's personal information:
- Keep your child's birth certificate and social security number in a safe place.
- Be cautious before handing out your child's personal identification information.
- Whenever you do turn over your child's identity information at the doctor's office, school, or daycare be sure to ask a lot of questions. Find out how the information is going to be used, secured, and who has access to it.
Taking these steps can help you protect against child identity theft. The prevalence and impact of this crime has caused some parents to seek the help of a monitoring service like Identity Guard®. Whatever approach you decide on, it's important that you take steps to protect your child's identification information from theft.