Jason Truxel was denied a mortgage because of bad credit. He had no idea that his credit scores were low, so he pulled his credit
reports. He discovered a tremendous amount of debt, and accounts he had never opened. One such account showed that a credit card had been opened in his name when he was 13 years old. Jason found out the hard way that he was a victim of child identity theft.
When Jason was a child, his father was convicted of credit card fraud. So he went to his father’s house and found a stack of credit cards with his name on them in a dresser drawer. When confronted, Jason’s dad said that Jason would never be able to prove anything.
That’s a bad dad, if I’ve ever heard of one.
Diamond Daye is 11 years old. He’s going through the same problem. Except his mother is the identity thief. She’s
31, and owes thousands in rent and cell phone and cable bills.
Child identity theft is a growing problem. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that there are 500,000 new victims every year. The culprits are often parents, since they have direct access to their kids’ personal information. Irresponsible parents who
have screwed up their own credit apply for credit in their childrens’ names, once they discover how easy it is. All a parent needs is a child’s Social Security number, and the fun begins. Creditors often fail to verify the applicant’s age, and simply accepts
the application. Children rarely discover that they are victims of identity theft until they are adults, and are denied credit or employment because of their negative credit history. Sometimes the custodial parent discovers that his or her ex committed identity
theft when the bill collector notices begin to arrive.
There’s not much a person can do to prevent child identity theft, other than regularly requesting fraud alerts and ensuring the credit hasn’t been issued under your child’s name.
What you should do to protect yourself and your children:
Protecting yourself from new account fraud requires a credit freeze, or setting up your own fraud alerts and in your childs’ name too. This provides an extra layer of protection. In most cases it prevents the opening of new credit.