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Identity Theft Claims More Victims

By Anna Grange

Everyone has heard of hacking. It’s in the news all the time, often related to large corporations being hacked for their data. Since the reports are about corporations, as individuals it can seem like someone else’s problem. But the information being stolen could be yours. Your Social Security number, credit card information, medical information–and pretty much any other personal data you can think of–can be hacked. If it does, your identity could be used to rack-up thousands of dollars of debt that you only find out about months later. On average, restoring your good name can take as much as 6,000 hours as well.

Because a child’s identity is pristine and often remains unchecked for more than a decade, it is uniquely desirable to identity thieves. Just as appealing to criminals is the fact that a Social Security number with a clean history can be attached to any name or date of birth.

Steve Toporoff, an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, says that while there is a feeling among industry insiders that child identity theft is a major problem, it is very difficult to quantify because, in most instances, people have no clue that they are victims until years after the fact. A recent study based on identity scans of over 40,000 children in the U.S. conducted by Richard Power, Distinguished Fellow at Carnegie Mellon CyLab, found 10.2 percent of the children in the report had someone else using their Social Security number. That figure is 51 times higher than the 0.2 percent rate for adults in the same population.

The “Deter, Detect and Defend” Program educates people and links to other organizations in both private and public sectors including law enforcement agencies, consumer groups, federal agencies and other trade associations to give consumers options on where to ask for help. The FTC identity theft program releases an informational kit for all organizations fighting identity theft that include a how-to booklet with instructions on educating consumers to aid organizations facilitate outreach programs. It also includes a brochure that these organizations can easily reproduce to give out to people who attend seminars and education sessions. To capture the level of damage identity theft can cause a person’s life, a 10-minute video of victims is also included in the program to explain to people how to fight this crime.

For those who would like to take extra measures to ensure that their child’s identity remains a blank-slate, third-party monitoring companies offer a variety of services that allow parents to keep an eye on it. Steve Schwartz, executive vice president of consumer services, for Intersections Inc., a provider of corporate and consumer identity risk management services, says his company will offer existing customers a chance to safeguard their children’s identities when it rolls out its newest product, kIDSure, this fall.

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Topics: Identity Theft | Comments Off


Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Grange, Anna "Identity Theft Claims More Victims." Identity Theft Claims More Victims. 2 May. 2012. 23 Jul 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Grange, A (2012, May 2). Identity Theft Claims More Victims. Retrieved July 23, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Grange, Anna "Identity Theft Claims More Victims"

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