by Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards.com
Child identity theft can be a bigger problem than other forms of identity theft
because it can go unnoticed for years.
Carnegie Mellon study found that 10.2% of children under the age of 18 had
someone else using their Social Security number. That percentage is dramatically
higher than the 0.2% rate for adults in the study.
Crooks are targeting
children because the probability of discovering the theft is so low. Children
rarely use their Social Security number and parents usually do not monitor the
Thieves can use a child's identity to open new
lines of credit or apply for government benefits. This identity theft can have a
devastating impact on a young person's credit score.
Many states do not
have system for dealing with child identity theft, but Delaware, Oregon and
Maryland have recently inacted laws that allow parents to establish their
child's credit identity and freeze it until the child becomes an adult.
Texas and Illinois are considering similar laws.
A free service also
exists from AllClearID
called ChildScan. The service looks through employment records, credit
records, medical accounts and criminal records to see if your child's Social
Security number has been stolen and is being used.
The study was based
on the identity protection scans on 42,232 children (age 18 and under) in the
United States during 2009-2010. The pool of 42,232 child identities includes
everyone under 18 in a database of over 800,000 identity
Bill Hardekopf is CEO of LowCards.com, a site that simplifies the confusion of shopping for credit cards. It is a free,
independent website that helps consumers easily compare credit cards in a
variety of categories such as lowest rates, rewards, rebates, balance transfers
and lowest introductory rates. It also gives an unbiased ranking and review for