You might have heard that child identity theft is a fast-growing type of identity theft. There’s new additional proof cybercriminals are targeting the most vulnerable people of all — babies. This blog post will detail what researchers found for sale on the dark web.
This CNN Tech story details how researchers have found ads for data on infants on a dark web marketplace. For $300 worth of bitcoin, criminals can purchase an infant’s personal data. Terbium Labs, a dark web intelligence firm, discovered the ad, which offered Social Security numbers and mother’s maiden names up for sale.
The last thing on a new parents mind is protecting their new bundle’s identity, but we’d say it’s extremely important considering 5 percent of the identity theft victims in 2015 were under the age of 19 (according to the Federal Trade Commission). The truly scary part is the theft could go undetected for years, right up until your child applies for a college loan. Here are some things you can do to protect your child.
Tips For Keeping Young Children’s Identities Safe
- Protect Their SSN: Protect their Social Security number and don’t give it out unnecessarily just because a company/school/sports team asks for it. It’s OK to push back and ask questions: “Do you really need their Social Security number? Why? What are you going to do with it? How will you keep it safe?”
- Lock It Up: Keep your child’s Social Security card and other identification documents in a safe and secure spot (not your wallet!). Likewise, keep paper and electronic records that include their personal information in a safe spot.
- Think Before You Post: Don’t post personal details about your child online. You don’t want an identity thief to have your child’s full name, address or date of birth.
- Shred It: Shred all documents/records/papers you no longer need that show your child’s personal information. For a handy infographic with information about what you should shred and how long you should keep important documents before shredding, visit this FTC page.
- Pay Attention: As the FTC recommends in this article, “Be aware of events that put information at risk. For example, there’s an adult in your household who might want to use a child’s identity to start over; you lose a wallet, purse or paperwork that has your child’s Social Security information; there’s a break-in at your home; or a school, doctor’s office or business notifies you that your child’s information was affected by a security breach.”
- Get Covered: Sign up for LibertyID’s Extended Family Plan so that your children are protected in case of identity theft. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how safe you or your children are — you might do everything right and still have your identity stolen. Our team of experts has a 100 percent success rate in reversing the damage. We will restore your credit score, resolve IRS fraud on your behalf, replace all lost identification and restore your identity to pre-event status. Even better, the Family Plan will also cover your spouse and your parents.
For other tips about how college-aged kids (and their parents) can keep their identity safe as they return to school, visit our blog post.
And if you are concerned your child’s information was compromised and you suspect they’ve been a victim of identity theft, the FTC explains how you can check to see if a credit report exists for your child. You should contact the three national credit reporting companies — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion —and ask them to do a manual search of the child’s file. The company may require copies of the child’s birth certificate listing you as the parent; the child’s Social Security card; and the parent or guardian’s government-issued identification card, like a driver’s license; and proof of address, such as a utility bill.
As always, if you’re a LibertyID member, you’ll have someone to call who will fix the damage for you. LibertyID is the AAA of identity theft protection, offering the most effective identity theft restoration and protection service. Members rest easy knowing that if their identity is stolen, we will fix it. There’s no limit to the time or money we will spend restoring your identity to pre-event status. A certified restoration specialist will handle all of the legwork and keep you informed with regular status updates. But just like with AAA, you have to be covered before there’s an incident.