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Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Protecting Your Child from Identity Theft
CINCINNATI (Howard Ain) -- One of the last things a parent needs to worry about is protecting their child's identity. But criminals can and do take advantage of a child's flawless credit history.
Local 12 Troubleshooter Howard Ain says crooks open up credit cards and get loans in children's names. There's something you need to know, from the time your child receives a Social Security number, their personal information needs to be protected.
In fact, U.S. Postal Inspector Jim Walsh says children and adolescents have become the fastest growing sector of identity theft victims. He tells parents, "be aware of how your children's personal information is used just like your own information, Social Security number, date of birth, be aware of how it is being used."
In one recent case, more than 500 elementary school kids had their information compromised. A suspect with access to school files sold the kids' personal information to another suspect.
"There were hundreds of accounts opened and most of the accounts were used to get money," says Walsh.
Suspects withdrew cash advances or would sell the names to make fake college IDs. Postal Inspectors say children have clean credit histories which makes them appealing to criminals.
"If they apply for a loan or try to get credit they could find out their credit is basically ruined and wouldn't know it the whole time they are growing up."
So its important to periodically check your child's credit report. "It is unusual, but its still something to be are of as a parent," says Walsh.
Trying to fix a child's ruined credit is just as time consuming as repairing an adult's credit. So the best advise is not to give your child's Social Security number and date of birth to someone you don't know or for reasons that seem suspicious.