Safe from Scams: Children's Identity Safety

August 8, 2013 2:47:00 PM PDT
Just days after they are born, children receive a Social Security number and immediately become vulnerable to identity theft. If that sounds crazy consider this: children and adolescents have become the fastest growing sector of identity theft victims.

"Be aware of how your children's personal information is used just like your own information Social Security number, and date of birth, be aware of how it is being used," U.S. Postal Inspector Jim Walsh said.

In one case, more than 500 elementary school kids had their information compromised. A suspect with access to school files sold the kids' personal information to another suspect.

"There were hundreds of accounts opened and most of the accounts were used to get money," Walsh said.

Suspects withdrew cash advances or would sell the names to make fake college ID's. Postal inspectors say children have clean credit histories which makes them appealing to criminals.

"If they apply for a loan or try to get credit they could find out their credit is basically ruined and wouldn't know it the whole time they are growing up," Walsh said.

Some advice, periodically check your child's credit. Trying to fix a child's ruined credit is just as time consuming as is repairing an adult's credit.