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kid identity theft, children identity theft

Children Fall Victim to Identity Theft: How Parents Can Protect Them

May 16, 2010 08:00 AM
by Haley A. Lovett
Some identity thieves are making young relatives their latest targets, as the victims often don’t learn of the crime until they turn 18.

Parents, Relatives Rack Up Debt in Name of Children

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In 2008, it is thought that nearly half a million children became victims of identity theft; the culprits are often a parent or relative with access to the child’s personal information, according to Mandy Locke of The News & Observer.

Stealing from relatives is nothing new. In June 2009, it was discovered that Thomas Parkin stole his dead mother’s identity in order to get more than $1 million in benefits and loans, and he even dressed as his dead mother to accomplish the crimes. Parkin is far from alone; there are other cases of people disposing of dead bodies rather than reporting the deaths so that they can collect a friend or relative’s social security or other benefits.

When police discover postmortem fraud, the deceased doesn’t have to worry about ruined credit. But when a child’s identity is stolen, he may need to spend thousands of dollars and many years trying to clear his name. If a parent discovers the identity theft, Locke reports, they can start the process of repairing the child’s credit, but often identity theft is underreported, or the parents themselves are committing the fraud.

NEXT: Preventing Identity Theft
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