It may be hard for most parents to imagine that their children could have homes in foreclosure or huge bills in collection before they are even old enough to apply for student loans for college, but a new report released by Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab – “Child Identity Theft: New Evidence Indicates Identity Thieves are Targeting Children for Unused Social Security Numbers” – reveals that one in ten 10 children scanned for the report had someone else using their Social Security number (SSN) to commit identity theft and fraud.
Based on scans of over 42,000 U.S child IDs by an identity theft protection company, the report found that 4,311 of the children in the report – or 10.2 percent – had someone else using their Social Security number to purchase homes and automobiles, open credit card accounts, secure employment, and obtain driver’s licenses. Other key findings include:
- The largest identity theft fraud ($725,000) was committed against a 16-year-old girl,
- 303 identity theft victims were under the age of five years, and
- The youngest victim of identity theft was five months old.
The report offers glimpses into the real life threat of identity theft to the financial security of families, articulate vital concerns, and raises public awareness about identity theft. For more information and to download the full report – “Child Identity Theft: New Evidence Indicates Identity Thieves are Targeting Children for Unused Social Security Numbers” – visit CyBlog at: http://www.cyblog.cylab.cmu.edu/2011/03/child-identity-theft.html.
As reported earlier on the ESR News blog, identity theft and fraud remains a constant threat to individuals of all ages. Identity theft topped the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) list of Top Consumer Complaints in 2010 for the 11th year in a row with 250,854 of the 1,339,265 complaints received by the FTC – 19 percent – related to identity theft.
Defined as the misuse of an existing account, misuse of personal information to open a new account, or misuse of personal information for other fraudulent purposes, identity theft was reported by an estimated 11.7 million victims according to a 2008 Government Survey and the resulting financial losses totaled more than $17 billion.
To help protect the personal information of consumers used in background checks from identity theft, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a nationwide background check provider accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – never uses a full Social Security number (SSN) in its consumer reports.
For more information about identity theft, read the articles tagged ‘identity theft’ on the ESR News Blog at http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/identity-theft/.
About Employment Screening Resources (ESR): Founded in 1997 in the San Francisco Bay area with a mission to help employers and employees maintain safe workplaces, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) and wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by founder and President Lester Rosen. For more information about ESR, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at tahearn@ESRcheck.com.