NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – These days, most everyone is a target for identity theft – from the elderly to the deceased. Even your kids are also at risk.
In fact, children are 51 percent more likely to have their identities stolen than adults.
Joe Mason, author of “Bankrupt at Birth,” visited The Couch with ways to protect your kids against this crime.
Kids are targets for identity theft because a criminal can easily create a synthetic identity with a Social Security number and a date of birth.
“Oftentimes the crime does undetected for years and when the parent does discover it usually the child is turning sixteen years old and they realize the credit has been damaged.” said Mason.
The warning signs are in your physical mailbox, email inbox, and your phone. Receiving unsolicited offers for your child is a red flag.
“[Receiving] credit card offers, or any other sorts of offers that raise your eyebrows a little bit and seem a little suspicious, take note.” said Mason. “If it’s a call from a collection agency asking for money that’s overdue, take note.”
In one case, a child’s identity was stolen three years before she was born.
“What thieves will do is they’ll try to make up Social Security numbers and apply for credit. Once that social security number is actually issued on that child, a file was created, only to find out that file was created and had already been used before she was born.” said Mason.
The remedy is to contact the credit bureaus immediately and put a freeze on that social security number. Notify any accounts that are open, make sure they are closed, and contact the police.