Child identity theft has soared 300 percent in five years – with infants and elementary school children among thieves’ favorite victims.
Experts say parents need to be more vigilant than ever.
Megan Guiver knows she can’t protect her son Louis from everything in the world.
“Everyone knows someone who has either themselves been a victim of identity theft or they know someone really close to them,” Guiver said. “I think it’ something that touches everyone.”
With nearly one in 40 children expected to be identity theft victims by the time they reach 18, parents have to be more vigilant than ever.
“Child identity theft is the fastest growing type of identity theft,” said Joe Mason, author of Bankrupt At Birth. “It all starts with a mindset. The mindset is protect your child’s information the way you protect your child.”
He said that too many parents are careless with their children’s social security numbers.
Mason also warned that parents should look for the signs of identity theft – preapproved credit card offers mailed to their children or debt collection calls.
“Unfortunately, where many parents detect the problem is when the child becomes old enough to apply for a job, apply for school, to get a cell phone,” Mason said. “And what they realize is the credit application for that cell phone, for example, is denied.”
Mason recommends parents consider identity theft protection for their children and to monitor each child’s credit report.
Guiver said it is something she needs to start doing for her son.
“My husband and I do it for ourselves, you know, being old enough to have credit and things like that, but I didn’t know for a 2 ½ year old. I guess I never really thought of that,” Guiver said.
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