LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- Identity theft can happen to anyone… even children.
Experts say children are 35 times more likely to have their identities stolen than adults.
Because you may not check your child’s credit report for more than a decade, thieves can use their stolen identities for years without being detected.
Laurian Clause, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said.
“To the scammer, it’s a very attractive way because they (children) have a clean slate. A lot of times they don’t have anything on their record so it makes it very likely target.”
If you’re questioning whether your child has been affected by identity theft, here are some signs from the BBB:
- The IRS sends a letter addressed to your child after missed tax payments or filings.
- Your child’s social security number was used on someone else’s income tax return.
- Your child receives medical service bills or insurance invoices.
”If you’re given out information, applying for different things for your child, all of that information is accessible to anyone, and so how are those kinds of things being secured? How is that getting discarded protected in a controlled environment,” explained Clause.
Your child’s stolen identity could be used by the scammer to obtain fraudulent employment, medical insurance coverage, and dependent child tax exemption.
“You have access to all kinds of things online so on some level it is by the age that they’re obtaining a social based on a certain age so it’s probably like anything else that they hack into your system, into any system that has access to these the social security numbers by age range,” said Clause.
“You want to make sure you have a good antivirus on your system. There’s some antiviruses that’ll do a linkup through their system that gives you even more protection,” Karen Willingham, manager at Doghouse Computers, added. “Some of them have internet protection separately from an antivirus.”
Here are some ways from the BBB on how you can keep your child’s identity safe:
- Check your child’s credit report for signs of fraud.
- Contact your child’s school or doctor’s office to see who will have access to their personal information and how will it be kept safe.
- Talk to your children about what they’re doing online. They could potentially click on unsecure sites leaving scammers the ability to access personal information.