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Succes Online Financial Education Newsletter


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ID thieves target your child's identity
It's a growing crime and one that often isn't revealed until it's far too late

By Kim McGrigg, MMI Community Manager

Part of growing up is developing a sense of self.  Unfortunately, thieves are stealing childrens’ identities long before they are fully formed.

Recent research by AllClear ID found that over 10 percent of the children scanned from their data were victims of identity theft. This 10 percent rate of child ID theft equates to children being victimized by identity thieves at a rate 51 times greater than adults.

This happens to children at such an alarming rate because child ID theft is a unique and different crime than adult ID theft. Most children are issued Social Security numbers when they’re born or at a very young age. But, children don’t need to use their Social Security number until they’re older, many not until they’re 18. In the meantime, a thief can take a stolen Social Security number and attach a different name to it to commit ID fraud for years.

Employers, banks, retailers, and other organizations processing credit and employment applications expect to see new Social Security numbers entering the system each day as children grow up and take normal life steps: open lines of credit, apply for a job, apartment, mobile phone, student loans, a car...the list goes on.

To protect your child's identity, Jamie May, chief investigator at AllClear ID, offers the following four tips:

  1. Watch for mail in your child’s name. Pre-approved credit offers or other unsolicited financial offers are a key indicator that your child may have an open credit file.
  2. Teach your children about privacy online. Children begin using the internet at a very early age. It is important that parents actively teach children how to responsibly share and manage information online. Ensure that your children always ask permission before submitting personal information online, and always explain why they should or should not disclose the information. Also, make sure they know not to open emails from people they do not know. By doing so, you can ensure that your children grow to be responsible with their information as teenagers and young adults.
  3. Don’t give away your child’s information if you don’t have to. You will receive countless requests for your child’s SSN on anything from soccer registration to medical forms. Always ask why the SSN is needed; often times you’ll find that the information is unnecessary. If so, don’t disclose the information. Additionally, be sure to tell to your older children not to freely provide their SSN on forms. When the time comes to apply for their first jobs, applications will frequently ask for your child’s SSN, only to be left in an unsecure location. Tell your child it is ok not to provide this information until they are actually hired. In all cases where this information is required don’t be afraid to question how it will be stored and protected.
  4. Check your child’s identity early – don’t wait until it’s too late. Parents need to check their children as early as possible, complicated cases can take many years to resolve. Several cases of child identity theft have resulted in children unable to secure college loans and internships, delaying their future plans and costing them time and huge opportunities.


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About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling, and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan, and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
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