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Children are becoming common targets for ID thieves

Mar 23, 2012 Karen Umpierre

It is beginning to become common for an agent of a debt recovery service to call a home and find the defaulter they were trying to track down is actually a child whose identity was stolen and whose social security number has been tied to fraudulent accounts of credit cards. A 2011 testimony made by the Federal Trade Commission cited a study showing that there are over 146,000 instances of child identity fraud against American children every year. This, the FTC stated, is because children lack credit history and their social security numbers can often be paired with any name and date of birth to take out false loans or credit cards. explained that this type of identity theft often goes unnoticed for years, usually until the child applies for student loans, rents an apartment or submits to an employee background check. Credit reporting companies may want to begin advertising to families with teenage children, the source suggested, because they are nearing the time where applications for student loans, apartments and car purchases are common. Additionally, being contacted by debt collectors is a leading way that families find out a child's identity has been stolen, the claimed. Debt collectors must identify themselves as working in the field and request to speak to the person who defaulted on loans. The CTPost reported that it's not only strangers who steal the identity of children. The news source published a story about a Bridgeport, Connecticut, mother who, when facing an unpaid balance of over $600 to an electrical company, used her 3 year-old son's identity to avoid having their service shut off. Recently, the 8 year-old daughter of an identity protection firm's chief privacy officer was the victim of identity theft, reported. The source explained that two people had been using her social security number since over a decade before she was born, and that the delinquent accounts attached to the number became her debts upon birth. Maryland's Baltimore Sun recently indicated that the state may draft legislation that would allow parents to create a credit file for their children, then freeze it until they become adults. Such a law would not only protect children from being targeted from outside the home, but would prevent false claims in a child's name from being reported as fraudulent to debt collectors.