The Problem

Criminals are increasingly using the identity information of children to obtain driver's licenses and IDs in new names. Children have clean criminal records and criminals are able to exploit children's unblemished credit ratings using a valid but fraudulently obtained driver's license to establish lines of credit or to obtain employment using the child's name.

Why are Children Targeted?

It's Simple – children are too young to have driving records, credit scores or felony criminal records. Identity thieves steal children’s Social Security Numbers (SSNs), birth certificates, and other personal information to hide their own identities and to sell them to stolen identity rings.  A thief’s first step is often a trip to the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) where the child’s SSN and other counterfeit or fraudulently obtained birth certificates and identity “source” documents can be used to fraudulently obtain a state issued driver’s license or ID card in the child’s name.  With the new fraudulently obtained identification card, the thief can defraud employers and banks, apply for credit cards and loans, and buy firearms under the child’s name.


What Should Parents Do to Protect Their Child's Identity?

1. Obtain a state issued ID card for the child and input your child’s biographical information into the state motor vehicle agency record system with the correct and complete name, address, SSN, and parents’ names so that if an identity thief attempts to obtain a driver’s license in your child’s name – the motor vehicle representative will stop the transaction and report the attempted fraud!

2. Safeguard biographical data by protecting information such as SSNs from easy access in the home. Lock up birth certificates and government paperwork that includes SSNs and precise biographical data such as place of birth. Keep the child’s ID card in a secure place until the child is old enough to protect it. NEVER share SSNs or birth details with extended family, friends or acquaintances.

6 Steps a Parent Should Take if Their Child’s Identity is Compromised

For example, if a debt collector calls your home seeking payment from your child for an overdue credit card bill, you should:

1) Inquire about the details and explain that you are the parent of the child being called for debt collection, and that your child is under the age of 18. Although kids sometimes respond to credit card solicitations and actually obtain credit which they cannot repay, the card was most likely obtained by an identity thief and the child knows nothing about it!

2) Ask for the debt collector’s phone number and address and request the details in writing from the debt collector. Always make the request in writing. Under law, debt collectors and credit card companies must provide those details in writing only when it is requested in writing.

3) Talk to your child. If the child states he or she has no knowledge of the credit charge and appears genuinely at a loss (you know your child!), then wait for the written report.

4) Read immediately any reports you receive from the credit card company. If the details clearly indicate that your child was not involved, immediately contact your local police and make an appointment to file an identity theft report. Obtain a photo copy of the police incident report.

5) Send a letter to the debt collector/Credit Card Company’s Fraud Department explaining that he or she has been victimized by an identity thief and that the company must stop seeking payment from your child. Volunteer to assist their fraud investigation and attach a copy of the police report. Request a written response.

6) When you later receive a questionnaire from the Credit Card Company's Fraud Department, ensure that it is completed and returned promptly.  “Lock” any future credit associated with or in your child’s name.