LAKE MARY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A new study by Javelin Strategy & Research shows more than 1 million children were the victims of identity theft in 2017, costing their families more than $540 million to clean up their credit.
A child’s identity can be a golden ticket for a fraudsters.
“If a scammer were to get a hold of a child’s social security number and get a hold of their credit when they’re very young. It could go years before it’s detected,” said Holly Salmons of the Better Business Bureau.
Javelin researchers say kids are as vulnerable as anyone when it comes to data breaches. Identity thieves often mine schools and doctors’ offices for social security numbers and other important personal information.
The researchers also found that more and more kids are vulnerable via social media—where fraudsters gather more key detail used to create fake identities.
“As soon as a child is born and a social security number is issued that’s the time to really start to paying attention,” Salmons recommended.
Experts recommend periodically checking your child’s credit. The service is free once a year.
You can also freeze your child’s credit, stopping anyone from taking out a loan or opening a credit card account. Instructions on how to do both can be found here.
The researchers at Javelin suggest talking to children about the do’s and don’ts of sharing personal information on social media.