A recent CNBC story reported that more than 1 million children — or 1.48 percent of minors — were victims of identity theft or fraud in 2017, according to a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research. Two-thirds of those affected were age 7 or younger. And, with the recent stream of data breaches, Javelin’s research indicates that among notified breach victims last year, 39 percent of minors became victims of fraud, versus 19 percent of adults.
Why are our children at risk of identity theft?
Child identity theft can go unchecked and unnoticed for years, only to be discovered when your child starts to apply for loans or credit cards. By then the toll could be devastating with years and years of defaulted accounts.
Here are just a few ways criminals can use children’s social security numbers:
- Apply for government benefits
- Open bank and credit card accounts
- Apply for a loan or utility service, including a cell phone account
$300 a Record for Newborn Personal Information
Newborns and infants are increasingly having their personally identifiable information (PII) stolen and sold for profits on the dark web. By targeting hospital databases and pediatricians’ offices, hackers and cybercriminals are pillaging the Social Security numbers, birth dates, names, and other PII that attracts identity thieves. This information is known in dark circles as “Fullz” – meaning full packages of individuals’ information. And, it’s usually sold in bulk. The real data can also be cobbled together to create entirely new identities, known as synthetic identity theft.
In fact, in January 2018, it was reported by researchers that each baby’s data set was being sold for $300 worth of bitcoin.
Here’s a real-life story of a 7-year-old child who had her Social Security number stolen, the financial damage that caused, and the road to her receiving a newly issued SSN today at the age of 14.
Protect Your Children’s Future
Obviously, no parent can stop hackers from breaching databases and stealing their children’s information. You can, however, be proactive about monitoring what’s happening with their personal information and be alerted before the damage becomes irreparable.
IdentityForce’s award-winning ChildWatch makes it easy to ensure your children’s identities are protected. With an adult membership, you can cover all your children with the industry’s best identity theft protection service.
Protect Your Employees’ Families
For employers who offer IdentityForce as an employee benefit, ChildWatch is free to their entire workforce – protecting an unlimited number of children 25-years-old and under. Get started with a Free Business Trial.
eBook for Protecting Your Digital World
IdentityForce prides itself on being a resource for both individuals and businesses. The 2nd annual edition of our eBook, Protecting What Matters Most, is freely available to view and share with your colleagues, friends, and family – no filling out forms or contact information required.