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Children’s Identity Theft: A Growing Problem

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It is necessary to share your child’s personal data in many places such as school, church, camp, doctors, and it’s possible the information could be compromised. Worse, though is many young people are coerced into sharing information through social networking sites and don‘t realize those titbits are enough for a dishonest person to capitalize on.

The Problem

Identity theft has been a problem for decades, but in recent years, a growing number of criminals have begun targeting children’s identities. There may be several reasons for this. First, a child’s credit history is clean. There are no derogatory marks to reduce the availability of credit. Second, a child’s identity can be used in multiple ways. Lines of credit might be established, utilities may be opened, government benefits may be claimed, homes might be purchased, and employment may be sought. Third, a child’s personal information might be easier to obtain in some instances. This can be due in part to lax safety precautions or to the naiveté of children. Lastly, and likely most appealing to offenders, the chances of a thief being detected are less because children don’t monitor their credit and parents often find no reason for identity theft protection. This can lead to long lasting use, the effects of which can be devastating.

The Effects

Because a child’s identity can be used for such a lengthy period, there can be many harmful effects. In the event a stolen identity is used for credit, which is defaulted on, a child’s credit score can be ruined before they are even of age, to obtain credit. If the information is used for long standing accounts and goes undetected into adulthood, it can prevent the victim from being allowed access to services when they need them such as establishing an account with a utility provider. If the offender is employed under the stolen identity, the child may have a history of taxes due, social security wages will be skewed, and state and federal governments could potentially file a financial claim. In some cases, child identity theft leads to the victim’s name being used when other felonious activities are prosecuted and could give a young child a criminal record, which is difficult to correct.

The Signs

Some warning signs that your child’s identity has been compromised are subtle while others instantly cause alarm. Obviously, calls from collection agencies, and notices from financial or government institutions are reason for concern. Other signs may be overlooked as simple errors such as junk mail coming addressed to your child. Additional warning signs are denial of benefits due to benefits already being collected and warnings of a poor credit history when trying to open an account. In certain cases, parents who have been victims of identity theft may also see their child’s identity stolen, since their information being compromised could indicate their children’s information having been compromised as well.  Since identity theft often comes from various means such as, information obtained through electronic sources, through theft of a wallet or purse, or through a break-in, if a parent’s information is compromised; there is a good chance the child’s information has been, too.  Any parent dealing with identity theft should take precautions to prevent identity theft for their children.

The Solution

Preventing identity theft is the best way to protect your child from this disastrous event. Use caution anytime you are required to share your child’s information. Check with any organization such as schools and doctor’s offices to learn more about their data protection procedures and sharing policies. Limit access to your child’s personal information by others. Teach your children about identity theft and advise them about giving out information to strangers. Monitor their activities online to be sure; they do not post personal information publicly.

Periodically checking with the credit bureaus on your child’s behalf is another good practice if anything suspicious has taken place. Just as you would with your own documents, be sure to take proper precautions before disposing of paperwork with personal information of your children.  Shredding this paperwork is the key to protection. Many experts recommend taking extra precautions when traveling with children because of the identifying documents you are required to carry. Some even recommend obtaining, identity theft protection services when traveling abroad. If you have been a victim or if you feel your child’s identifying information may have been compromised, place fraud alerts with the credit bureaus and other government agencies.

Nothing can guarantee 100% safety of your child’s identity, but understanding the above concepts can make you a well-informed parent and better equip you to both protect your child and to help them recover if they are ever affected by identity theft. As is frequently said, knowledge is power.

Amy Johnson is an active blogger who is fond of sharing interesting finance related articles to encourage people to manage and protect their finances with regular credit checks.

2 comments

  1. Wavatar

    Is that this not proof that Sheriff Joe and our laws and regulations being enforced will work?

    Is that this also not proof by using out illegal aliens our crime rates do go lower.?

    Virginia is yet another condition which has had crime rates go lower, since illegal aliens have experienced the laws and regulations enforced against them.

    Crime rate drops 6 % over 4 years

    August 29, 2009

    By Elizabeth Jackman

    The crime rate in Glendale has came by 6.3 % between 2004 and 2008, a study launched August. 12 by Maricopa County Andrew Thomas indicated.

    Based on the data launched by Thomas, East Valley metropolitan areas were built with a much bigger crime rate drop throughout the 4 year time period compared to two West Valley metropolitan areas listed. Peoria’s drop was 15.2 percent.

    Other metropolitan areas within the report were Gilbert having a 32.6 % drop, Mesa 25.6 %, Tempe 25.3 %, Chandler 20.1 %, Chandler 18 percent, and Phoenix 15.7 percent.

    “Despite an increasing population along with other factors that generally increase the crime rate, Maricopa County has experienced an impressive reduction in both crime and illegal immigration,” Thomas stated. “These obvious trends are occurring county-wide, and reveal the outcome of both effective collaboration among police force agencies and hard and visionary prosecution guidelines within the county attorney’s office.”

    *

    The crime rate per 100,000 individuals Maricopa County decreased 8 percent from 2007 to 2008 and 18 percent from 2004 to 2008.

    Throughout this same period, the violent crime rate in Maricopa County dropped 8 percent and property crime rate fell 21 percent. This decline happened despite the fact that the county’s population really increased just by under 11 percent throughout exactly the same period.

    Thomas credited these trends to 3 major factors.

    First, police agencies are utilizing current technology and tactics to effectively address specific crime problems within their areas. We are seeing enhanced coordination using the County Attorney’s Office. To illustrate the id theft protocol signed by Valley police agencies in 2005, a contract to research id theft cases that Thomas’s office brokered.

    Second, due to harder guidelines within the County Attorney’s Office, prosecutors are delivering considerably more severe and repeat felons to prison. From 2004 to 2008, the amount of crooks in Maricopa County delivered to the Department of Corrections elevated 29.3 %.

    Third, the joint crackdowns on illegal immigration using the Sheriff’s Office have brought for an unparalleled collapse within the illegal immigration population.

    The Middle for Immigration Studies lately launched a study showing that since 2007, Arizona has witnessed a 30 % stop by its illegal immigrant population. This finding is in line with substantial anecdotal proof of decreasing illegal-immigrant populations throughout that very same time, a few of which were reported through the local media (for example decreasing school enrollment amounts, the shuttering of companies that largely focused to illegal immigrants, etc.).

    Across the country the quantity of reduction in the illegal-immigrant population was 14 % based on the CIS report.

    Thomas stated the amounts speak on their own: “Tough guidelines against crime and illegal immigration will work. The lesson is apparent: additional time, less crime.”

    http://world wide web.glendalestar.com/articles/2009/08/28/news/news01.txt

    _________________

  2. Wavatar

    My daughter and her husband have experienced marital problems this season. I be sorry but he caught her getting cheating with another guy earlier around. Her mother and I didn’t know this major detail.

    When the pair of them separated, as a parent frequently do and bloodstream is thicker than water, we immediately required her side. He behaved from character and to tell the truth was borderline from his mind. All along though he didn’t provide the affair to her mother and that i from sheer respect for the emotional wellness. As time continued I convinced her to obtain a constraint to keep him from her. Again, we’d not a clue concerning the affair as she easily left that from the story.

    Her mother and that i were angry with him and that he eventually had Themself comitted to some mental facility. Which has been a couple of several weeks ago and that he seems to become handling the breakup far better.

    While he’s never hurt her by any means, the judge wasn’t leniant to him concerning the constraint order and today my daughter seems to become “taunting” him by not permitting him to even talk to his two sons on the telephone. Again, the judge informed her that they weren’t required to have contact but when she wanted the boys to speak with him they could. It had been her call.

    Her mother and that i feel awful as again, we did not know his full story and today she’s dealing with him badly. He’s been an excellent father and a much better boy in law for twenty five years. The truth is that not to visiting his aid when i must have in the duration of need. In the end he did give we two terrific grandsons which were always well taken proper care of, dressed well, good home etc…

    Now he’s had enough I am afraid and he’s made the decision that enough is sufficient. He’s hired a “Shark” attorney that’s likely to cost him 4 occasions what my kids attorney will definitely cost but rumor has it that his attorney may be the the best. I can not blame him to get a great lawyer but this is what is frightening me.

    He’s all the families mobile phones registered under his title and ssn. Therefore, he’s had the ability to monitor my kids conversations and text texting activity. I understand this only keeps him wondering if another affair is going on and most likely harming his mental health. Well, my daugther requested her brother (my boy) if he’d call the cell company and make believe you be her husband and also have her telephone number launched from his plan. The company didn’t do anything wrong because they had every reason to think these were speaking towards the true who owns the program.

    My boy gave the SSN and stated he was my boy-in-law. My boy-in-law has apparantly known as the company and said excitedly what happend plus they told him when he would subpoena the phone call they provides a duplicate of the recording from the call.

    His lawyer has decided to follow-up about this.

    Like a father I am emberrased that my daugther and boy would do that and much more hurt at myself and my spouse because of not visiting the assistance of my boy-in-law at his duration of need. However, I am really concerned about what is the end result of the whole factor. Could this be incarceration or perhaps a stiff fine? Would this affect her custody of the children time using the kids?

    How hard could it be to obtain these details in the cell company and despite the fact that anybody within my family will recognize it as being my boy, how will it be proven? Clearly the very best factor could be for him to simply admit as to the he did however i can’t speak for him.

    Thanks!

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