The Young and the Helpless: Stealing children's social security - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

The Young and the Helpless: Stealing children's social security numbers

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Add this to your list of parental worries: your child's financial safety. From the time your child receives a Social Security number, their personal information needs to be protected.

Just days after they are born children receive a social security number and immediately become vulnerable to identity theft.

If that sounds crazy, consider this: children and adolescents have become the fastest growing sector of identity theft victims.

"Be aware of how your children's personal information is used, just like your own information, social security number, and date of birth, be aware of how it is being used," says Jim Walsh, a U.S. Postal inspector..

In one recent case, more than 500 elementary school kids had their information compromised. A suspect with access to school files sold the kids' personal information to another suspect.

"There were hundreds of accounts opened and most of the accounts were used to get money," Walsh explained.

Suspects withdrew cash advances or would sell the names to make fake college IDs.

Postal inspectors say children have clean credit histories which make them appealing to criminals. "If they apply for a loan or try to get credit they could find out their credit is basically ruined and wouldn't know it the whole time they are growing up," says Walsh.

Some advice: periodically check your child's credit.

"It is unusual, but it's still something to be aware of as a parent."

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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