Warning for parents about a growing crime of Child identity theft targeting children from toddlers to teenagers hundreds of thousands of kids are now affected and many of their parents don’t even know about .
This investigative reporter shows you the young victims and what you can do as a Parent right now to keep your children safe from Child identity theft
it’s hard to imagine anyone stealing from a baby harder still to think the crime could continue for more than a decade but that’s exactly what’s happened to Adam, it feels like Adam and his mom didn’t know anything was wrong until they got a phone call asking why Adam had not reported his income from working at a factory
"I said well that’s impossible Adams in school today he’s only in fourth grade you’ve never worked at a factory ever "
when we checked Adams social security number we discovered it’s been taken over by someone else ,records show it’s Marco Lopez a 38 year old man who’s been using Adams social security number since Adam was just a baby, Lopez has used Adams personal information to
- Rent homes and apartments
- To get jobs
- To title eight different cars
- To run up thousands of dollars in unpaid bills .
In addition to playing games and sports like his buddies Adam has spent years dealing with consequences of child identity theft.
it just kind of scares me because it might affect my future this is a crime it’s illegal it’s stealing it’s he has stolen from us, Adam is not alone Child identity theft happened to me two Axton Betz was just a young girl when someone stole her social security number.
I was in fifth grade it was 11 years old I had no idea anything was wrong ,accident figured it out when she got to college and she started getting court summons and lawsuits from collection agencies ,they claimed she had run up huge credit card bills when she was 13 .
I was sick to my stomach,she’s still paying the price even at age thirty just to buy this used car accident is paying an interest rate of more than eighteen percent ,that’s the only loan she could get because someone else stole her identity and trashed her credit .
it’s been almost 20 years I still get collection calls to this date Axton and Adam have plenty of company recent studies suggest here in the US child identity theft affects 140,000 children every year.Children are being targeted because their credit history is non-existent that makes them very attractive to organized crime and other thieves .
Officials at Federal Trade Commission say child identity theft has only gotten worse.
Child identity theft really is a hidden crime in many instances parents would have no idea and no reason to suspect that their child has been a victim until many years later, that’s why you should take action now ,thank you for calling TransUnion ,the FTC recommends you contact a credit bureau to see if your child has a credit file .
Kids should not have credit files because well they can’t get credit so if a file does exist it’s a sign of trouble trouble that should be caught sooner than later before a child reaches the age of 16 parents definitely should see if there is a credit file on their children.
Child identity theft inquiry form
So how do i check my child's credit report well let me walk you through it the nation’s three major credit bureaus are
All of them offer what’s called a minor credit file check you just go online fill out a form send in your information and the credit bureaus do the rest it’s easy it’s fast and best of all it’s free.
We'll respond to you very quickly, if we find a file in your child’s name and then we’ll provide you with the next steps Steve Katz is a Consumer Affairs director at TransUnion.
He says if your child does have a credit file like Adam catching it early is important we have the ability to go in there and clean up that file ,so that in the future those negative ads will the child. While the credit bureaus can help make things right, it’s very tough to catch the people who’ve done wrong ,we don’t know to this day who stole our identity, Axton doesn’t know and tracking down the man who stole Adams identity ,has also been quite a challenge .
The Bracken’s continue to search for answers trying to understand how someone took control of Adams identity, it’s happening right now ,it’s scary and it’s hurtful I don’t want any other children violated from this .
Before you give out your child social security number to anyone ask if it’s truly necessary the Federal Trade Commission says schools doctors offices sports programs they really shouldn’t be asking for your kids social security numbers at all .
How to find out if someone is using my child's social security number
Now a moment ago we talked about getting a free credit file check on your kids if you’re interested in Protecting your family's identity with professional monitoring and restoration services ,