EDISON - Many people know to check their credit reports as a way to watch out for identity theft. What many people may not know is that they should also check the credit reports of their children.
Experts say children are the perfect targets for identity thieves because children have pristine Social Security numbers. Children are 35 times more likely to have their identities stolen than adults, according to experts.
Adam Levin is a former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, and author of the book “Swiped.” Levin says that around 140,000 kids across the country become victim to identity theft each year.
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“Parents in most cases are not watching, because they are not thinking about it,” he says. “The thief can have a 15-year run.”
Levin says some warning signs to look out for include: any notices from the IRS saying a child needs to file their income taxes, pre-approved credit cards addressed to the child or if the child is turned down for benefits they should be entitled to.
Anyone who thinks that their child has had their identity compromised should contact a credit reporting company to ask them if the child had a credit report. Most children should not have one. If they do, a fraud alert should be placed on the report.
Experts also say that child identity theft is mostly committed by a relative or close family friend who would have access to the child’s personal information.