Identity Theft on Kids
Attention, parents! Is your kid enrolled in school? If the answer’s “yes,” then they’re at risk for identity theft.
Let me explain. Child identity theft is at an all time high. In fact, a recent Carnegie Mellon University study found that 1 in 10 kids are victims of identity theft. That’s 10 times the amount of adult victims. And experts predict the number will get even bigger. Criminals used to randomly guess kids’ Social Security Numbers, using their spotless identity to open up bogus bank accounts, mortgages, and credit cards. Then racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Often it would go undetected for years, because many kids don’t realize they’re victims until they start applying to college, or for their first job.
But today, a lot of criminals aren’t guessing kids’ Socials anymore and instead they’re targeting what they call a goldmine: schools.
So, why are schools an identity theft goldmine? Experts say it’s because they often store - and constantly add thousands of kids’ Social Security Numbers. So, all a hacker has to do is simply tap into school computers, steal students’ enrollment records, then sell the info for about $40 bucks a pop.
So, parents, how do you protect your kid’s identity? Experts say the best thing to do is to be on the lookout for credit card offers addressed to your child. That’s a major warning sign your kid’s identity has been hacked. If it has, you need to go on identity theft clean-up duty ASAP. So, contact the Federal Trade Commission. They’re online at FTC.gov.