What’s really disturbing is that parents don’t understand that it can take years before a child’s identity theft is discovered By that time, significant damage can be done." Jeff Bell, CEO, LegalShield
Ada, OK (PRWEB) March 09, 2016
Despite the latest Federal Trade Commission report that shows the incidence of child identity thefts are on the rise, a new survey by IDShield finds that parents of children ages 0-18 aren’t doing enough to protect their children’s identities. Two out of three (64.5%) parents surveyed have never checked to see if their child’s identity has been compromised.
“Identity thieves see a child’s identity as the perfect target for their crime because it’s a clean slate,” Jeff Bell, CEO of LegalShield, parent company of IDShield, said. “What’s really disturbing is that parents don’t understand that it can take years before a child’s identity theft is discovered,” said Bell. “By that time, significant damage can be done, leaving the burden to right this wrong on the shoulders of the victims.”
According to IDShield’s survey, over the past 12 months, nearly 40 percent of parents were required to share their child’s social security number with a school, doctor’s office, bank, insurance company or similar organization. These are actions that can put your child’s identity at risk. More than seventy percent (71.8%) of parents don’t ask how their child’s social security number will be used. Among other things, identity thieves have used children’s social security numbers to get loans, apply for credit cards or government benefits, buy homes or cars, and to establish legal residency.
One man found out ten years ago, as he was trying to switch a utility bill to his name, that his identity was stolen. The theft occurred when he was seven-years-old by an individual who ‘purchased’ a social security card with the victim’s number. For 26 years, the thief has used the victim’s identity to work in the United States and pay income taxes, open several bank accounts, and purchase property. The victim has spent hundreds of hours over the past decade writing letters, making phone calls, sending emails, conducting research, and navigating government agencies in an attempt to restore his identity, but has not been successful.
The IDShield survey found that nearly half (42.9%) of parents aren’t sure how quickly they would know if someone had stolen their child’s identity. One out of four (25.9%) parents think they’d know within one week—an unlikely scenario unless parents are vigilant about monitoring their children’s identity or subscribe to an identity monitoring service.
Moreover, nearly two out of three parents (64%) don’t even know how to check whether their children’s identities have been compromised.
“This is not surprising, but one simple way to see if your child’s identity has been stolen is to see whether they have a credit report. If they do, it’s likely a sign that their identity has been compromised,” Bell added.
IDShield also found that parents aren’t taking other necessary precautions to protect their children’s identities. Only about half (46.3%) of parents surveyed keep personal documents in a safe place, while three-fifths (60.3%) of parents don’t shred documents that list their children’s personal information.
Identity theft and protection experts at IDShield offer these tips to protect your child’s identity:
- Keep your child’s personal documents in a safe place
- Use passwords and security software on devices that contain your child’s personal information
- Shred documents that include your child’s personal information when no long needed
- Avoid sharing your child’s birth date on social media
- Ask how your child’s social security number will be used and protected when you’re required to give it
- Talk to your older children about internet safety
- Use an identity theft monitoring service to protect your child’s identity and your own
The survey was conducted by Google Consumer Surveys on March 2, 2016 and based on 515 online responses. The sample was drawn from people from the national adult internet population who answered yes to having children ages 0-18 and to being the parent of one or more children living at home.
For full survey results or more information about child identity theft or to speak to an identity theft victim or prevention expert, contact Suraya Bliss at SurayaBliss(at)LegalShieldCorp(dot)com or (248) 760-7458.
For more information about IDShield and available services, visit http://www.idshield.com.
LegalShield is one of the nation’s leading providers of legal safeguards for individuals, families, and small businesses. The company also offers one of the industry’s most affordable and comprehensive identity theft plans, IDShield. LegalShield plans provide protection to more than 3.7 million individuals and IDShield provides identity monitoring and restoration services to more than one million individuals across North America. More than 34,000 companies offer the LegalShield and IDShield plans to their employees as a voluntary benefit.
IDShield monitors consumers’ identities, including their Social Security Number, credit cards, and bank accounts; as well as their names, address, date of birth, driver’s license and passport numbers, email addresses, phone numbers, and medical identification numbers. If a member’s status changes, the member receives an email update. If a member spots suspicious or fraudulent activity, he or she can contact a licensed private investigator immediately and begin restoring his or her identity. IDShield offers the only team of licensed private investigators in the consumer identity restoration industry. Additionally, if a member has questions about identity theft protection, he or she has unlimited consultation available to them with a licensed private investigator.