ID thieves target kids

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Thieves have realized that many parents don’t monitor the use of their children’s Social Security number. As a result, identity theft that involves children far exceeds that of adults.

An April report from CyLab, which is a cybersecurity research and education institute at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh), noted that the Social Security numbers of 10.2 percent (4,311) of the children’s files that were reviewed for the study were being used by someone else. (For adults, the rate was 0.2 percent.)

To protect against this scam, you should place a freeze on your child’s credit, says Michael Gier, who is the host of Internet show “Protect Yourself TV” (protectyourself.tv). If your child doesn’t have credit—most don’t—he suggests that you check annually at all three credit bureaus to make sure that no credit record is associated with your child. (Federal rules allow you one report free per person each year from each bureau.) Gier also advises that you call Social Security Administration to ensure that no work record is associated with your child’s Social Security number. Such a record would indicate that someone else was using that number.