Did you know that children are quickly becoming the most popular target for identity thieves. And when children are the ones that fall victim to identity theft, the damage is more impacting and long-term since it likely will go unnoticed longer.

In 2009, seven percent of the more than 270,000 complaints of identity theft received by the FTC involved individuals eighteen years of age or younger. This is a rise of two percent when compared to 2005's statistics.

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center children identity theft usually occurs before the victim turns six. Most of the time the predator is a parent or other family member. Children have also become a popular target by identity thieves because they are easy prey.

Most parents obtain a SSN number for their offspring shortly after they are born. A Social Security Number is all an identity thief needs to open up a line of credit.

Since children don't have any other history of credit, it is probable that they won't even discover that they have become a victim of identity theft until they try and obtain some type of credit as an adult.

Below are a few tips parents can follow to help prevent children from falling victim to an identity thief. It is also important that parents understand how to detect identity theft.

- Never carry your child's social security card with you. There will likely never be a need for you to have to provide that info on the spot, without knowing beforehand.

- Only reveal SSN info and/or provide a copy of a birth certificate unless absolutely needed. Find out why the info is needed, how the info will be stored and ask exactly who will have access to the info other than them.

- If your children are old enough to go online and use the Internet, make sure they understand the importance of keeping their passwords and privacy private.

- Keep you eyes open for adult mail (credit card offers, etc.) ariving at your home in your child's name. And definitely don't disregard a collection notice as being sent erroneously.

- You should obtain a copy of your child's credit report regularly, at least once/year.

Related Reading:
Child Identity Theft Stories

Seniors and Identity Theft
What To Do If You are a Victim of Identity Theft









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