Protect Your Child from Identity Theft

Physician's Money Digest, May 2006, Volume 13, Issue 5

Money

It's becoming increasingly more commonfor first-graders to accumulate creditcard debt of $10,000 and more, but notbecause they ran amuck with mom anddad's plastic. Every year, an estimated400,000 people under age 18 become victimsof identity theft, according to an articlein . The perpetrators target childrenbecause a nonexistent credit historyis attractive to thieves looking to establisha falsified line of credit. Thieves, who rangefrom low-life relatives to computer hackers,obtain Social Security numbers andthen open credit cards in the child's name.Once upon a time people did not get SocialSecurity numbers until they began workingand received a paycheck. For tax reasons,today 90% of newborns leave the hospitalalready signed up for Social Security. Whilechildren and teens only accounted for 4%of the 10 million cases of identity theft lastyear, that number has doubled since 2002,according to the Federal Trade Commission.