Children Are at an Increasing Risk of Identity Theft

Identity theft targets children too

Your son gets arrested for writing bad checks or your daughter applies for her first apartment only to find out she has thousands of dollars in unpaid debts -- welcome to the world of identity theft. Think identity theft only affects the elderly or the uninformed? Guess again? Identity thieves are targeting children too.

An Increasing Trend

It used to be that children were safe from identity theft crimes. Not anymore. Identity thieves are looking at children as their newest criminal niche and more than half a million children have become victims of the crime.

Of course, that number of half-a-million only reflects those children whose parents have found out about the crime. There could be hundreds of thousands more who don't have a clue they've been victims of identity theft.

What Can You Do?

If you have children, guard their personal information as closely as you would your own. Don't provide their social security number to anyone if they don't really need it. Recently, when I signed my son up for soccer, they had a space for his social security number on the form. I left it blank and no one asked me about it.

It's also probably not a bad idea to get your child's credit report on an annual basis, just so you can see exactly what's going on and if anyone has tapped into your child's social security number for identity theft purposes. After all, it's better to be safe than sorry.

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