IDENTITY THEFT AND PROTECTING YOUR CHILDREN
While millions of Americans struggle with identity theft each year we often forget the need to protect our children from the ravages of this crime. Identity theft is not a crime that affects only adults. The crime is frequently directed against children. Why? The records of children are perfect for committing crimes – they are blank slates upon which a criminal may construct elaborate and complex identity crimes which are unlikely to be detected for many years.
Parents of minor children need to monitor the personal information about their children to ensure that identity theft is detected quickly and terminated before one of the many crimes of identity theft are committed -- such as IRS tax fraud or medical benefits fraud. Identity crimes against children may have very long lives and they can affect your child’s tax status, their qualifications to enter schools and colleges, their credit ratings, and their employment prospects. Children can be affected in hundreds of ways which can damage their future prospects in life.
What can you do to protect your minor children?
The first line of defense is to monitor the use of your child’s Social Security Number (SSN). The use of the number can be detected through the use of specialized fraud prevention and detection tools such as those used by KnightsBridge Castle’s eye-spy™ programs. KnightsBridge Castle’s experience has been that as many as 30% of minor children’s SSN’s have been compromised. The unauthorized use of the SSN runs the gamut of simple transposition errors to full blown identity hijacking. When the unauthorized use of a SSN is detected a series of proven steps for the assessment of the use can be undertaken. While these steps can be complex they are effective in limiting the damage to your child’s future.
If you can catch unauthorized use of a SSN and shut down the identity thieft of a minor child at an early age then the damage may be limited. However, the trauma and confusion of discovering your child’s stolen identity when applying for his first job, or seeking a student loan, or applying for college can be heartbreaking.