Today, the Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License (CSDL) issued its top four ways to help ‘STOP’ child identity theft. Theft of a child’s identity is a growing problem in the United States. According to a 2011 Carnegie Mellon CyLab study, a child has a 51 times higher attack rate on his or her Social Security Number than an adult. The study also found that more than ten percent of all child identities analyzed in the study exhibited evidence of identity theft. This includes victims under five years old. Hundreds of millions of identities exposed every year. According to the study, millions of children have possibly had their personal identity information jeopardized.

CSDL has four easy steps to help mitigate the chance that your child is one of those victims. The steps follow the easily remembered acronym ‘STOP’:

1.    Secure your child’s legal documents.
2.    Teach your child not to share personal identity information (PII).
3.    Obtain a state issued ID card for your child.
4.    Protect your child’s future. Shred credit offers or mail solicitations addressed to your child.

“Child identity theft does not only happen to other people’s children or grandchildren; it can happen to your child. The problem has gotten so large that the Federal Trade Commission estimated in 2011 that more than 142,000 instances of identity fraud are perpetrated on minors in the United States each year,” said CSDL President Brian Zimmer. “The steps in ‘STOP’ are an important way to remember how to help protect your child’s identity,” Zimmer added.

CSDL also offers a program called Keeping IDentities Safe for KIDS® (KIDS). In partnership with local youth organizations, the KIDS program provides parents with important safety tips to help protect their child’s identity.

Qualified parents may also receive reimbursement for the cost of a state issued identity card for their child. When a parent obtains a state issued ID for his or her child, the process results in the child’s full legal name and other biographical information being recorded in the state department of licensing record system. Also recorded is a digital image of the child along with correct and complete parents’ or guardians’ names and addresses.

Having your child’s information in the state record system now will help prevent an imposter from claiming the child’s identity later. CSDL has helped protect hundreds of children from identity theft through the Keeping IDentities Safe for KIDS® program