Cyberthieves Have A New Target: Children
by Priya Anand, Wall Street Journal
Cyberthieves target children because their identities offer a clean slate with which to apply for bank accounts, credit cards or loans, government benefits and tax breaks. Criminals will often combine a child’s Social Security number with a fake date of birth and address to avoid suspicion, experts say.
Making matters worse, while adults can learn quickly that their identities have been stolen, say, after being rejected for a credit card or loan, it can take years to find out that a child has been a victim of identity theft. Families often find out a child’s identity was stolen when applying for college loans or scholarships, or after tax returns are filed in the child’s name, says Eva Velasquez, president of the Identity Theft Resource Center, a San Diego-based nonprofit that helps identity-theft victims.
When those children become financially independent, an early and undetected identity theft can create huge barriers for them, Ms. Velasquez says. “They don’t have the [good and legitimate] history behind them to fall back on.”