For most people, the thought of their children being victims of identity fraud is even more chilling than being a victim themselves.
While children are less at risk for identity fraud than adults, when it happens it can be much more devastating because the fraudulent activity can go undetected for years, making it all that much harder to restore the victim's good name.
A new ID: A Labs study from ID Analytics found that a startling 140,000 identity frauds are perpetrated on minors each year.
In addition to the rate of child identity fraud, the study also found:
- Credit card and wireless activity most common—60 percent of the potential fraudulent identity use alerts sent to minors originated from the credit card industry. The vast majority of the remaining alerts were from the telecommunications industry, mostly wireless providers.
- Take the alerts seriously—minors who received an alert through the service were seven times more likely to experience fraud than an adult. They received 0.5 percent of the identity use alerts, but yielded 3.5 percent of the cases of fraud.
"Child identity fraud poses complex challenges to consumers, businesses and regulators. Unfortunately, minors' identities are particularly appealing to fraudsters because their personal data is untainted, legitimate and less likely to be monitored for misuse," said Tom Oscherwitz, chief privacy officer at ID Analytics.
"This new study finds that child identity fraud is more than a hypothetical risk. Well over 140,000 U.S. kids are victims of the crime today. Our children need better protection. A comprehensive solution to child identity fraud requires a layered approach reflecting advances in technology and business processes, legislative guidance and consumer education."
Osherwitz will speak about these findings and child identity fraud today in Washington DC at "Stolen Futures: A Forum on Child ID Fraud" sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.