Safe Internet Alliance CEO, Linda Criddle, discusses a growing crime against children on the Internet, Child Identity Theft. Organized crime groups target children to steal their identities for financial gain. Children have, what Linda calls, “virgin credit.” Stealing their Social Security Numbers is ideal because the crime may not be detected for years. Children’s identity can be stolen at any time, but the sweet spot for identity theft is aged 17-25 years old.
Linda offers these tips on protecting your child’s identity against identity theft: 1) Check your child’s credit report annually. You can check your child’s credit report for free once a year at each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. 2) Put a freeze on your child’s credit. This process costs approximately $10. You can go to any one agency and freeze credit.
The Safe Internet Alliance is pushing legislators and credit agencies to make one small change that will reduce child identity theft. Requiring the credit issuing companies to take one additional step to look for red flags is all it takes. If credit issuing agencies would check teh date of birth of the person seeking credit and match it against the Social Security Number, that would reduce identity theft. How likely is it that a Social Security Number that has been issued two years ago (indicating a child of two years old) would need a credit card or mortgage? Of course, this would be a guideline. There are legitimate cases where an adult would have a Social Security number that is new, such as immigrants to this country that are issued a Social Security Card or people who had to have their Social Security Card reissued because of Identity Theft.
We also discussed cyberbullying in this interivew.
Listen to this chilling and thought provoking interview below: