Child Identity Theft

April 29, 2011

Childhood is supposed to be an innocent time. Kids shouldn’t have to worry about paying bills, getting loans or using credit cards to make purchases. For this reason – plus the fact that most credit is only available to persons over 18 – kids should not have credit records on file. If you look up your child’s name through one of the three credit bureaus it should come back as “no record.”

The sad truth is, though, that some kids aren’t so lucky. These kids have been victims of identity theft, and most don’t even know it. They will find out – of course – when they get older and want to buy a car or a house or even just open a low-limit student credit card. That’s when the delinquent accounts, bad debts and even bankruptcies will come to light – which could have been on the record for years, making it even harder to get the removed in a lot of cases.

You may be asking yourself how kids can be victimized by identity thieves when they don’t even have any credit available to steal. It’s easy. Kids still have names, birth dates and Social Security numbers, with the Social Security number being the key item in this case. When you simply see a string of nine digits, you don’t know the age of the person it belongs to and you have no idea what this person looks like, buy you’d probably assume it is an adult – an assumption that can get an identity thief pretty far.

This assumption has led to babies with auto loans, toddlers with utility bills and the like. A lot of times a relative or close family member – sometimes even a parent – steals the child’s Social Security number to pass off as his or her own if this person has gotten into some credit trouble, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes it’s a hospital or school employee, and sometimes it’s someone who simply guesses the number and doesn’t know it belongs to a child.

This is why identity theft protection plans – such as TrustedID – offer protection to parents and grandparents as well as their dependent children. While some people may think it’s silly to buy such a plan, it could be the best investment you ever make in your child’s future, and an affordable one at that. LifeLock also protects your children but grandparents will have to sign up separately.