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Schemes & Rip Offs: Child ID Theft - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Schemes & Rip Offs: Child ID Theft

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If you are a parent, a grand parent or just have friends with small children there's a growing scam you should know about. 

One of the hottest areas for identity thieves right now, stealing the IDs of young children.  We're talking infants and toddlers.

Linda Foley, identity theft expert said, "a child's social security number is not only a big business, it's big money."

Identity theft experts say as much as 10 percent of all children have had their identity stolen.

"A child is an excellent target cause there is an 18 year window of opportunity to use that information without it normally going detected," Foley said.

"Typically the way that is discovered is the child turns 16-17 and starts to apply for schools or car loans," said Federal Trade Commission attorney Steven Toporoff.  "And thieves know that.  They know if they get a social security number of a youngster, it could be years before parents have any reason to check on the credit of that child."

Tracking and catching identity thieves is always difficult, even more so in this case because social security numbers don't really tell much about the age or gender of the person.

That means little can be done by an employer or lender to link the number with the real person.  Whether they are 40 years old or 4 days old.

PROTECTING YOUR CHILD'S SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER@

1. Don't carry their social security card with you.  That means a lost purse or wallet puts your child's identity at risk.

2.  When it comes to giving out your children's social security numbers be stingy and ask questions.  Does the soccer team really need it? And why? Is it really required to sign your child up for school?

3.  Check out some of the great advice at the Identity Theft Resource Center

OTHER OPTIONS

Credit agency Equifax now offers a family plan to help parents keep tabs on their children's credit files.

And the social security administration is making it harder for thieves to guess social security numbers.  Instead of being based on where and when someone is born, new numbers are being issued randomly.

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