Screen time. BPA. Organic foods. Car Seat Safety. Identity theft. Yes, it’s time to add that last one to the “stressful parts of modern day parenting” list.
In 2017, more than 1 million children were victims of identity theft. Even more shocking? In a recent Experian survey, only a third of the victims knew the perpetrator, which, in those cases, is typically a family member or close friend. The majority fall victim to a little criminal trick called “synthetic identity,” where a child’s social security number is combined with a different date of birth to create a new identity. But your child’s social security card is tucked away in your safe, right? Doesn’t really matter. A child’s information can be obtained through online security breaches or forms (school, doctor’s office, customs, etc.) that may not be stored securely. Children’s identities are particularly appealing to thieves, as this raucous activity can go on for years before it’s detected—usually when little Johnny goes to get his driver’s license, a college loan, or his first home. Experian found that the average age when the theft occurred is 12, with 8% of victims being 0-4 years old, while a 2017 study conducted by Javelin Strategy and Research found 66% of child identity theft victims are under the age of 8. With numbers like that, it’s time to get this on your radar.
To help parents take an important first step in protecting their children, Experian® is offering a free, one-time Child ID Scan, a service that can detect possible child identity theft and fraud. The free scan checks if the Social Security number (SSN) for a child (under age 18) is associated with an Experian credit file. If a credit file is found, Experian’s Fraud Resolution team will assist the parent or legal guardian with the next steps. To use Experian’s free Child ID Scan, go to www.experian.com/childscan. For comprehensive, continued child identity monitoring, Experian IdentityWorksSM offers a Family Plan that monitors two adults and up to 10 children.