(WTNH) — People often hear about adults falling victim to identity theft and now there’s a growing concern in regards to children, especially teenagers, becoming the targets.
“It’s a big problem,” said Kenneth Abbe with the Federal Trade Commission. “Child identity theft is a much bigger problem than it is with adults.”
According to our sister station WTNH, experts say a thief will steal someone’s identity when they’re a minor and it’s not only via the computer. They can use school records, forms or waivers to get what they want. An acquaintance can even be responsible.
“In Ohio there was a situation where a high school student took the identity of a classmate,” said Abbe. The student who stole the identity ran up $27,000 in government benefits using the stolen ID.”
The problem comes to light when the victim turns 18. They go to apply for a student loan, buy a car or get their first apartment and that’s when they realize they have bad credit. At a young age they can have considerable debt hanging over their head that’s been years in the making.
“Parents should be looking for warning signs that their child’s identity has been compromised,” Said Abbe.
Some of those warning signs include:
Being turned down for government benefits.
A notice from the IRS saying your child didn’t pay income taxes.
Collection calls and bills for products or services your child has not received.
Parents are advised to check their child’s credit score with the three main credit bureaus once they turn 16 years old. This way if there is an issue with their credit, you have two years to fix it before they turn 18.
For more information visit http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0040-child-identity-theft