The newly released "2012 Child Identity Fraud Survey Report," done for us at Intersections and the Identity Theft Assistance Center (ITAC), identifies trends emerging in child identity theft and explores the long-term impact this crime can have on children and their families.
In my last blog, I looked at some of the major findings from the survey. From the data gathered by Javelin Strategy & Research we can offer some insights and some recommendations.
The central insight gained from the survey results — which are based on responses from more than 5,100 U.S. households with dependents under age 18 — was that increasing awareness and education among parents and children is a key component to preventing child identity theft. This is something we in the field of combating child identity theft have said all along. Too many parents are seemingly unaware of the dangers of child identity theft and the repercussions it can have for the whole family.
The findings in the study underscore the important role that parents must take to protect their child's identity. There is much children need to do to protect their own identities, especially as they enter their teen years, but it is first and foremost the responsibility of parents especially those who have younger children — a prime target of identity thieves.
Intersections (creator of Identity Guard®) and ITAC recommend the following to help protect children from identity theft.
- Ask Why Before Giving Personal Identifying Information.
Before providing your child's SSN or birth certificate, feel empowered to ask why the information is needed and how it will be protected. If asked for a child's SSN, ask these three questions: Why is it needed? Isn't there another way to identify my child? How will my child's information be protected?
- Share Safety Tips.
Share knowledge with children and remind them to keep their information private. Children may be asked to answer questions about themselves on the first day of school, but remind them that personal information like their home address, phone number, or Social Security numbers should not be shared with anyone.
- Read all Materials Sent to Your Child.
Items received through the mail or email asking for personal information can give hints into criminal activity that may be occurring. Keep an eye out for terms like "personally identifiable information," and "opt out." Make sure to find out how a child's personal information will be used, whether it will be shared, and with whom, before granting access. In addition, if your child receives mail that is inappropriate for their age - credit card applications or notices of sales, etc. — it could be a sign that their identities have already been compromised.
Additional tips are available at http://resources.identityguard.com.