Scammers use children’s social security numbers to steal their identities
BBB offers free events to combat child identity theft
AUSTIN, Texas - Oct. 13, 2011 – Child identity theft is a growing crime that damages the pristine credit reports of children. Scammers use inactive Social Security numbers they find online – most of which are assigned to children under the age of 18 who have not started using them yet – and sell them to help people establish fake credit. Protecting a child’s innocent, clean record is something that every parent needs to do.
Scammers find it easy to target children – infants even – because parents are less likely to check the credit report of their 3-year-old child. What makes this crime so much worse is it often goes unnoticed until years after the fact when the child goes to make his or her first credit transaction.
One report put out by CyLab, shared a story of a 17-year-old girl who is $725,000 in debt because her Social Security number was stolen and linked to eight different suspects. The suspects opened 42 accounts including mortgages, auto loans and credit cards. Several bills were in collections.
“It is very important for parents to understand how identity theft happens and to teach their growing children the importance of protecting themselves and keeping their personal information safe,” said Carrie A. Hurt president and CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin.
Recognizing the need for consumer education and protection, BBB will be holding multiple Shred Day events throughout Central Texas, Oct. 15 through Oct. 29. These events will offer FREE on-the-spot document shredding and paper recycling, as well as the distribution of advice for protecting your identity. Consumers can bring confidential documents, phones, compact disks, floppy disks and old computer parts to be shred and recycled onsite for free.
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Contact BBB serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin at (512) 445-4748.