NEW YORK (MainStreet) Child identity theft is a growing problem in the U.S., with one in 40 households with kids under the age of 18 have been victimized, according to the Identity Theft Assistance Center.
The fraudsters use a child's persona data to get a new identity so they can get a job, government benefits, medical care and auto loans and mortgages, the center says.
Child identity fraud can be particularly prevalent during back to school season, given the rise of sign-up forms, school registration and dorm move-ins.
How can parents fight back?
The I.D. theft fraud prevention firm IdentityTheft911.com offers the following tips for parents:
Don't give up Social Security data unless you have to. IDTheft911 says some schools, especially day care centers and preschools, will ask for your child's Social Security number. Don't give it up so easily. Offer a birthdate but explain you're reluctant to share the Social Security numbers. Chances are they'll go along.
Watch for college-aged scams. IdentityTheft911 says college students are a particularly attractive target to fraud artists. College kids are out in the real world, often without a healthy fear of real world threats such as identity fraud. Make sure your college-aged son or daughter knows not to share sensitive data, and equip their computers, tablets and smartphones with I.D. theft protection software to guard their personal identities.