Nearly all people assume the most vulnerable group of citizens to experience identity theft are seniors, yet recent reports show the fastest-growing population at risk for identity theft are actually children. How is this possible?
While adults make prime targets for identity thieves, a child’s “blank slate” can enable a criminal to do more long-term damage before anyone catches on. This is because a child has a social security number assigned to him/her shortly after birth but that number lays dormant until they are old enough to work, apply for a credit card, purchase a car, or rent an apartment.
Young people now have more protection from identity theft and fraud than ever before. As a parent or legal guardian, you can check your child’s credit report by contacting each of the three credit bureaus. This report is a record of one’s credit activity and credit history, including extended credit in the form of loans, delinquent accounts, and foreclosures. In addition, you can request a credit freeze for your child that will prevent lenders from checking their credit in order to open a new account. Think of it as having a padlock on your child’s credit report.
For more information, visit these websites or call the numbers listed below:
- www.experian.com or 1-888-397-3742
- www.equifax.com or 1-800-525-6285
- www.transunion.com or 1-800-680-7289
To request education on this or other crime prevention topics, please call (239) 258-3280. To report a fraud or scam, call the Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line at (239) 258-3292.