Even Your Child Is Not Safe Any More
Surprisingly, identity theft has begun to take a whole new turn with identity thieves not even sparing children. The new method being employed by identity thieves is to impersonate a child in order to gain financial rewards. Often, the perpetrator is a member of the family; or, it could be a complete stranger, egged on no doubt by the fact that it will take considerable time before such form of identity theft will be discovered. . In fact, according to the Federal Trade Commission the cases of identity theft have tripled in the previous three years – jumping from eight thousand five hundred in 2003 to twenty-six thousand in the year 2006.
When we use the phrase children, we have to be clear that this is any child that has actively participated in opening a bank account, shopping credit card or applied for college, university or any other higher learning facility requiring an application. It is when these areas have been re-investigated, do the victims find that something is wrong. Furthermore, child identity theft often also occurs when a family splits up (such as through divorce) when one parent may stoop as low as to steal the identity of his or her child.
We as parents do not realize that the information we throw away everyday may have information on it making it very easy for thieves to begin living your lives. When we open a savings account for our children or add them to our credit cards as an extra cardholder. The junk mail of credit card offers that we toss in the trash without ripping up first often leads to problems with your credit in future. Anything with your name or that of your children can be used by these identity thieves to create a nightmare for you.
Can you imagine the shock when you discover that when your child has gone to apply for their drivers license, that they will not be able to get one as a result of someone with exactly their information has already been issued a license? Knowing this is not just a coincidence because they have your social security number as additional information on the application!
It is important to also know that not all things are intentionally sent to us with the thought of identity theft on the agenda. Credit card companies often send pre-approved applications out as a matter of marketing. These should not be considered to be unusual, however it would be advisable to destroy these applications if not used or at least check with the credit bureau to verify that nothing has been issued with out your knowledge. You can check with major credit bureaus such as Equifax, Trans Union or Experian; in case they advise that no credit report exists in your child’s name; it would then mean that your child’s identity has not been compromised.
Because we can no longer consider identity theft to be a low level crime, we must pay more attention to information about protecting ourselves. Each and every year, more and more people fall pray to this horrible crime and have to stop and try to put their lives back together. In the event that you or any of your family members may believe that they have fallen prey to identity theft, once you verify that you have, contact your local police and have them begin an investigation into your case. It is wise to consider the use of an identity protection service if you feel you need a greater deal of protection. In case you are sure that your child has become a victim of identity theft it is best if you immediately make contact with the police and get the law enforcements started on the heels of the perpetrators. A police complaint is the necessary first step leading to investigation and correction of all manner of identity theft – including that of your child.
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