Fraud Expert John Sileo discusses why your child is 51X more likely to become a victim of ID Theft on Fox Business.
Why are our kids, the very people we most want to protect, so vulnerable to identity theft? Because they have unused, unblemished credit profiles. According to Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab, 10.2% of the children in a recent report had someone else using their Social Security numbers. That figure is 51 times higher than the rate for adults of the same population.
Thieves steal a child’s identity early on, nurture it until they have a solid credit score, and then abuse and discard it. If it’s not discovered in time, fraudulent use of your child’s identity could mean the loss of educational and job opportunities and starting off adulthood at a serious disadvantage with someone else’s bad credit in her name.
Identity Theft Expert John Sileo discusses the rapid increase in Child Identity Theft with Gerri Willis, host of Fox Business’ The Willis Report. Sileo talks about how to detect and prevent your children from becoming victims of identity theft, including:
Beware what you share
Talk to your child about protecting their information
Consider identity theft monitoring for your child
Write your Congressperson and ask them to enact Child Identity Freezes like the state of Maryland
John Sileois an award-winning author andinternational speakeron the dark art of deception (identity theft, data privacy, social media manipulation) and its polar opposite, the powerful use of trust, to achieve success. He is CEO of The Sileo Group, which advises teams on how to multiply performance by building a culture of deep trust. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer, the FDIC, and Homeland Security. Sample his Keynote Presentation (he shares how he lost $300,000, 2 years and his business to data breach) or watch him on Anderson Cooper, 60 Minutes or Fox Business. 1.800.258.8076.
Allowing our children the innocence of their childhood is paramount to us as parents. Because our children are pretty much the center of our universe, we want to do everything in our power to keep them safe and to safeguard their futures. In this information age, identity theft has become global in its reach and can have devastating consequences for our children’s futures if we’re not vigilant from the day they acquire a Social Security number.
Why are our kids, the very people we most want to protect, so vulnerable? Because they have unused, unblemished credit profiles. Richard Power, Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie Mellon CyLab, recently published the first ever child identity theft report based on identity protection scans of over 40,000 U.S. children. It is extremely alarming that 10.2% of the children in the report had someone else using their Social Security numbers. That figure is 51 times higher than the rate for adults of the same population.
Child Identity theft is the fastest growing sector of the identity theft “industry,” and the numbers are staggering. Although it’s difficult to estimate exactly how many children lose their identities since the crime can go undetected for years, the FTC states that 5% of identity theft cases target children, which translates into 500,000 kidnapped child identities per year, and growing. The Carnegie Mellon CyLab Report states that in 54% of the cases, the child was under the age of 14.
The identity thief is not always a stranger. In many cases, it’s a relative with bad credit who takes advantage of a child’s pristine credit. Conveniently, these family members generally have access to the information necessary to maximize the fraud with little attention. This seems absurd, but imagine a parent who is strapped for cash, has a bad credit score and needs to buy groceries. In this case, short-term thinking blinds the relative or friend to long-term consequences. In other instances, the child’s future is not taken into consideration at all.
Identity thieves are increasingly targeting children, in some cases stealing their identities even before they are born.
A TODAY Show/NBC investigation into child identity theft revealed that criminals routinely use a child’s untouched credit record to their advantage and get away with it for years or decades. This story shows how in more and more cases Social Security numbers are being stolen even before the child has been born.
Why is it so easy? Because Social Security numbers are not assigned randomly, meaning that they can predicted with a certain amount of accuracy. A SSN is simply a code that includes the location and date of where and when a baby was born. Thieves have figured out a system to predict these numbers and used them before they have been issued. The federal government maintains that in the next month or so, these numbers will be randomized and harder to predict and therefore, steal.
Based on a recent assessment of 40,000+ SSNs of children, it was found that more than 10% those SSNs were being used by someone other than the child, far in excess of the rate of misuse in the adult population. The study points out the major issues that surround child identity theft and why we need to start paying attention now. It is more prevalent than many think and the threat is growing. Here are a few of the statistics that were found:
4,311 or 10.2% of the children in the report had someone else using their Social Security number – 51 times higher than the 0.2% rate for adults in the same population
Child IDs were used to purchase homes and automobiles, open credit card accounts, secure employment and obtain driver’s licenses
The largest fraud ($725,000) was committed against a 16 year old girl
In Parts I – III we talked about how easy it is for your child’s identity to be kidnapped and who does it; now let’s get to the heart of…
Protecting Your Children
Acting now on behalf of your child will protect them from consequences common to child victims:
Starting adulthood with a credit rating low enough to scare away the hungriest of loan sharks
Being denied a first loan, credit card or apartment rental because of a crime committed 10-15 years earlier (the passage of time makes this crime very hard to clear up)
Being denied access to college or a new job
Having a warrant out for her arrest for crimes that she didn’t commit
In the same way that you can’t protect your children from every bruise and scrape, you can’t entirely remove the risk of identity theft. You can, however, prevent or soften the fall if it does happen. Take these steps first:
If you’re thinking “this couldn’t happen to my child,” think again! Let’s look at
Who Does This?
The identity thief is not always a stranger. In many cases, it’s a relative with bad credit who takes advantage of a child’s pristine credit. Conveniently, these family members generally have access to the information necessary to maximize the fraud with little attention.
This seems absurd, but imagine a parent who is strapped for cash, has a bad credit score and needs to buy groceries. In this case, short-term thinking blinds the relative or friend to long-term consequences. In other instances, the child’s future is not taken into consideration at all.
Frankly, it doesn’t take much to get the crime underway; all a criminal needs is the child’s name and Social Security Number. These pieces of personal information are exposed in a variety of ways:
When registering for daycare, schools and recreational sports