(WSPA) – A new study finds a growing number of children are becoming victims of identity theft, more than one million in the U.S. last year alone.
The “2018 Child Identity Fraud Study” by Javelin Strategy & Research found the families of those child ID theft victims suffered more than $540 million dollars in losses.
The study is eye opening for families, like the Rinaldos in Travelers Rest, who have never thought to check their kid’s credit reports.
“I really never thought about it for the kids. I’ve always checked my credit to make sure there’s no one messed around on it. But I’ve never checked theirs,” said Kathy Rinaldo.
The study finds about 750, 000 kids, ages 7 and under, were victims of identity theft last year, and another 25,000 between the ages of 8 and 12.
Another key finding, those big data breaches we’re always telling you about put children more at risk than adults. Last year of the people who found out their information was breached, 39% of the fraud victims were children compared to 19% adults.
Rick Floyd the Internet Safety Coordinator with Greenville County Schools says parents must check their children’s credit reports each year and even go a step further.
“Just freeze their account because their not going to see it for 17, 18 years. If it’s frozen they are going to have to call you every time they’re going to see it. Otherwise you’re not going to know,” said Floyd.
Floyd also says parents need to be extra careful on social media not to reveal your child’s birth date or school location.
The harsh reality is that ID thieves covet kids credit because it’s still clean, making them ideal targets for identity theft.
“I read that people have a really hard time cleaning that all up, I definitely don’t want to deal with that headache,” said Rinaldo.
If you do decide to freeze your child’s credit report be sure to contact all three major credit reporting agencies. That’s also where you can get two free credit reports a year for every family member.