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MEDIA CENTER

Is Your Child at Risk for Identity Theft?


A recent study by Carnegie Mellon CyLab reported that children are 51 times more likely to be victims of identity theft than adults. They scanned identities of 42,232 children during a one-year period from 2009 to 2010, and 10.2% of the children had their Social Security number used by someone else. The youngest victim was two months old, and the largest debt reported was $725,000.  “Child identity theft is a growing concern, as it may go unnoticed until the child is an adult and applies for credit”, states Jana Root, spokesman for Apprisen Financial Advocates.  “Consumers need to stay in front of these problems, and be proactive in protecting their child’s identity”.


Here are some tips to help protect your child from identity theft:


• Obtain a free Child ID report from www.allclearid.com which will report any debts listed under their social security number, regardless of the name or the birth date on the account.
• Monitor Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax credit bureau reports – Credit agencies do not begin reporting on an individual’s credit history until a person’s data is used to open an account or line of credit. Your child should not have a report if no accounts have been opened in his or her name. Be especially vigilant if you begin receiving pre-approved credit cards or other unsolicited financial offers in your child’s name.
• Teach your Child about Identity Theft -Talk to your child about the dangers of sharing personal data online. Children surfing the web are particularly vulnerable to exposing personal information in chat rooms or on social networking sites. Make sure children understand the importance of keeping this data private.
• Keep your child’s Social Security Card in a safe place and only share it when it is necessary. Many times when signing up for an activity, your child’s social security card may be requested.  Before giving out that information, ask why it is needed and how the information will be stored.  Only if you feel comfortable, should you give them the number.

If your child becomes a victim of identity theft, getting their credit re-established is not an easy task. They must follow the same dispute process as an adult to have inaccurate information removed from their credit report. This would require time and diligence, and could impact their lives for years to come.

About Apprisen
Apprisen Financial Advocates, a national nonprofit Financial Services agency, has been helping consumers manage their finances and get out of debt for over 55 years. Certified counselors provide money management, debt counseling, HUD-approved housing counseling and financial education. Services are provided in-person in 10 states through local offices and nationally by phone or the Internet. The oldest nonprofit Financial Services agency in the country, Apprisen Financial Advocates is known in its local communities as Consumer Financial Services Service (CCCS). Accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), Apprisen is a member of the National Foundation for Financial Services (NFCC), the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and AICCCA. Information is available 24/7. Call 800-355-2227 or visit the website, www.apprisen.com. You can also follow CCCS/Apprisen on Facebook and on Twitter.

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