Child Identity Theft 101

MoneyTips

Shortly after children are born, parents apply for the Social Security number that their children will use throughout their lives. Unfortunately, that leaves criminals with a golden opportunity to use that Social Security number to commit fraud – since you are unlikely to check the credit status of your own children.

“Child identity theft is a huge problem,” confirms Steve Weisman, a lawyer, author, and professor at Bentley University. “Children are far more likely to become victims of identity theft and you think, ‘Well, who wants a child’s identity? You know, they don’t have great credit.’ But what happens is the criminal gets clean credit with a child. They can then build up a phony credit report in the name of that child and then go for some large credit. They don’t pay it back and often the child doesn’t become aware of this until they’re going for student loans or a car loan or something like that.”

The fraud can go undetected for years and cause damage tha…

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