News & Resources

ID theft among minors on the rise

Dec 14, 2012 Dave King

Americans are often cautioned to keep a close eye on their credit card and bank account statements to identify any suspicious charges and prevent identity theft. However, these warnings can overlook a segment of the population increasingly at risk of ID theft: minors. A recent study by Javelin Strategy & Research claims the theft of personal information from individuals under the age of 18 has reached a "crisis level." One in 40 American households surveyed reported having one child whose personal information had been stolen. The research found minors living in lower-income households were at greater risk, and most crimes were committed by close family and friends. "We've seen the issue of child identity theft garner media and consumer attention, but there are many misunderstandings about this crime and more work needs to be done to educate consumers," said Steve Schwartz, president of partner services at Intersections, a co-sponsor of the study. "The repercussions of this crime on a child's financial future can be severe, and criminals are only getting smarter." In order to keep minors' personal information safe, parents and guardians will want to always question the need for providing a Social Security number, as this is one of the easiest ways to commit ID theft.