Children are now high value targets in the eyes of criminals, especially identity thieves. A Social Security Number with no prior history is a blank slate where thieves can overlay their own name and birth date, effectively creating a new false identity. Crimes using these stolen IDs range from simple retail stealing to massive financial fraud involving multiple bank loans, mortgages and personal lines of credit. This type of crime may go undetected for years, when a credit report is pulled to purchase a phone, apply for a college loan or their first credit card, the young person then finds out their credit and identity are compromised.
All this may start with offers directed at children for free stuff, games or other enticements. These offers may then lead to the introduction of malware or malvertisements, compromising child’s device or the shared family computer. On the other hand, it may start with an old fashioned data breach, like several recent data breaches that compromised millions, if not billions of accounts.
What can be done to help prevent and mitigate childhood identity theft?
If evidence of childhood identity theft is found, steps must be taken immediately. The urgency of the situation is no different than if the identity theft victim as an adult.
You can’t stop all attacks, but you can disrupt the attack targeting mechanism employed by these cyber thrives. Using an anti-virus program, being aware of phishing emails and not opening them are some of the ways you can protect yourself. Using PrivatizeMe’s “Effortless Privacy Protection” is another way – it defeats attempts by cyber stalkers to invade your online privacy without changing the way you browse. With such protection from being stalked, digital fingerprinted and profiled, you cannot be targeted with spear phishing exploits and malvertisements or be led to targeted watering holes laden with malicious malware.
Links to some good articles on this topic:
Child Identity Theft
It’s a good idea to check whether your child has a credit report close to the child’s 16th birthday. If there is one — and it has errors due to fraud or misuse — you will have time to correct it before the child applies for a job, a loan for tuition or a car, or needs to rent an apartment.
If Your Child Has a Credit Report, Watch Out for This