From the Blogger News Network (7/27/09)
By Robert Siciliano
Jason Truxel was denied a mortgage because of bad credit. However he wasn’t aware his credit scores were low so he pulled his credit reports. What he discovered was a tremendous amount of credit card debit and accounts he never opened. One such account showed that a credit card was opened in his name when he was 13 years old.
Jason learned the hard way that he was a victim of child identity theft.
His father had previously been convicted of credit card fraud when he was a child. So he went to his father’s house and in a dresser draw he found a stack of credit cards with his name on them that his father opened.
When he confronted his dad he said he would never be able to prove anything. That’s a bad dad if I’ve ever heard of one.
Diamond Daye is 11 years old. He’s going through the same problem. Except it’s his mother that’s the identity thief. She’s a 31-year-old woman who owes thousands in rent and cell phone and cable bills.
Child identity theft is a growing problem and the Federal Trade Commission estimates 500,000 new victims every year. Parents are often the culprits due to the fact they have direct access to their kids personal information. An irresponsible parent who has screwed up their own credit often dips into their child’s when they find out how easy it is to get credit in their infant’s name. All they need is a Social Security number and the fun begins.
Creditors often do not verify the age of the applicant with the Social Security Administration, which means the creditor accepts the application for credit based on the honor system. We know the honor system doesn’t work because there are 10 million identity theft victims every year.
Children don’t often find out they are victims until they become of age and are denied credit or employment because of bad credit. Sometimes its the custodial parent that finds out the Ex committed identity theft when they start receiving notices from bill collectors.
There’s not much a person can do to prevent child identity theft other than continually requesting a fraud alert every 3 months and making sure credit hasn’t been filed under your kids’ name.
What you should do to protect yourself and your children:
Protecting yourself from new account fraud requires a credit freeze, or setting up your own fraud alerts and in your childs’ name too. This provides an extra layer of protection. In most cases it prevents the opening of new credit.
Consider making an investment in Intelius Identity Theft Protection and Prevention. Because when all else fails you’ll have someone watching your back. Includes a Free Credit Report, SSN monitoring, Credit & Debit Card monitoring, Bank Account monitoring, Email fraud alerts, Public Records Monitoring, Customizable “Watch List”, $25,000 in ID theft insurance, Junk Mail OptOut and Credit Card Offer OptOut.