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Child identity theft is the fastest growing type of identity theft, a crime that affects some 10 million people annually. Each year more than 500,000 children are affected by identity theft – half of them under age six. Countless other cases go unreported because the thief is a relative or parent of the victim. This devastating crime can wreak havoc on a child's future opportunities; it can be difficult to prove, and even harder to undo the damage that has been done. Child Identity Theft speaks to parents ...
Child identity theft is the fastest growing type of identity theft, a crime that affects some 10 million people annually. Each year more than 500,000 children are affected by identity theft – half of them under age six. Countless other cases go unreported because the thief is a relative or parent of the victim. This devastating crime can wreak havoc on a child's future opportunities; it can be difficult to prove, and even harder to undo the damage that has been done. Child Identity Theft speaks to parents everywhere, the majority of whom have no idea that their children's identities have become such prime targets for thieves and criminals.
Here, a veteran law enforcement professional and expert in child identity theft offers parents, educators, law enforcement officials, and others who care for or work with children an inside look at the ways in which children are vulnerable to identity thieves. Chappell presents the vital information in a question and answer format, offering not just information about how child identity theft happens, but also how to prevent it from happening, and what to do if it does.
Among other things, Child Identity Theft explains:
·how a loophole in the national credit reporting system allows criminals to target innocent children for their creditworthiness;
·the variety of forms that child identity theft can take;
·the hidden techniques that thieves use to gain children's identities and personal information;
·which children are at a higher risk for identity theft; and
·how an increasing number of child identity thefts are perpetrated by parents and relatives.
This book reveals the reality of child identity theft and the steps we all should take to protect our children and ourselves. How many victimized children are out there out there waiting to be discovered? Has your child been victimized? One hopes not, but if so, this book will give you the tools to find out and get help.
Children are 51 times more likely than adults to be victimized by identity theft, according to Robert P. Chappell Jr., who has relatives in Suffolk and who works for the Virginia State Police. Children make attractive targets for identity thieves, because they have no credit history — and therefore good credit, in the eyes of credit issuers — and the crime is likely to go undiscovered for many years.
Credit issuers have no way of verifying birth dates on credit applications, a loophole that needs to be closed, Chappell said.
“We need to educate parents on things to look for,” Chappell said.
He was inspired to write the book, “Child Identity Theft: What Every Parents Needs to Know,” when he returned to work from an Army Reserve deployment and noticed a significant change in the type of identity thefts compared to what had been occurring prior to his deployment, he said.
He began trying to research child identity theft and discovered a knowledge gap. Several bookstore chains and two public library systems turned up nothing on the topic. He tried an online search and came up with limited information focusing on child identity theft.
That’s when he set out to write his own book, which is being carried by 323 book chains across America and in 30 foreign countries.
“It definitely appears to be something that the book chains feel that readers would be interested in,” he said.
The book is written in question-and-answer format, so chapters are brief and do not require a lot of time investment.
“They can get a lot of information in a short period of time,” Chappell said.
Part I: Understanding Child Identity Theft
1.What exactly is “child identity theft”?
2.How big of a problem is it?
3.Why do thieves target children?
4.Isn’t identity theft something only rich people have to worry about?
5.Who steals a child’s identity?
6.Is it true that children sometimes have their identities stolen by parents or other relatives?
7.What are the main reasons people steal children’s identities?
8.How do terrorists use a child’s identity?
9.How can my child’s personal information be used by undocumented workers?
10.Are some children more susceptible to targeting for child identity theft than others?
11.What makes foster children so vulnerable to identity theft?
12.Why are Hispanic children in the U.S. more likely to have their identities stolen than other children?
13.What is “synthetic identity theft” and “identity manipulation”?
14.Why are children with passports at risk?
15.Why is early detection so important?
16.Why does it often take so long to discover that a child’s identity has been stolen?
17.What are the laws regarding identity theft?
Part II: Recognizing How Child Identity Theft Happens
18.What is the primary way children’s identities are stolen?
19.What is cloning and how do cloning thieves steal a child’s identity?
20.Are there any protections against cloning?
21.How do telephone callers and scams put my child at risk?
22.Why are vishing, spoofing, and smishing so dangerous?
23.How can stolen information at an ATM compromise my children?
24.What is child-targeted phishing and pharming?
25.How can malware access my child’s personal information?
26.Why do children who have grown up with rules about computer usage still fall victim to scams?
27.What is a medical “Lobby Listener” and how can they harm my child?
28.How can my child’s school inadvertently jeopardize personal data?
29.What story does my office cubicle tell about me and my children?
30.How does mail theft provide identity thieves with valuable information?
31.Why would someone steal my household garbage?
32.What’s the best way to protect data on my laptop?
33.Why should I safeguard my luggage when traveling?
34.Can children of military personnel be targeted for child identity theft?
35.If someone sends my child a “chain letter” is there an identity theft risks?
36.It is a new school year and the forms sent home by the school ask for my child’s social security number. Am I required to give it?
37.My child reports that someone is following them. Could it be someone trying to steal their identity?
38.If someone uses my child’s identity to obtain a mortgage what do I do?
39.My child plays sports. Are there any child identity theft concerns I should be concerned with?
Part III: Detecting and Reporting Identity Theft
40.What are some early signs that my child has been victimized by identity theft?
41.How do adult victims of child identity theft usually discover it?
42.What is the most serious indicator that my child has become a victim of identity theft?
43.How can I find out for sure if my child’s identity has been stolen?
44.What should I do if my child starts to receive bills in the mail?
45.What actions should I take before I make the call to the police?
46.How and when should I report child identity theft to the police?
47.What should I know about working with the police on a child identity theft case?
48.When should I contact the Postal Service Inspector regarding a stolen identity?
49.What information do I need to provide as evidence of identity theft?
50.As a parent, if I am a victim of identity theft does it raise the chances that my child might be also?
51.Why military parents are often targeted for identity theft?
52.Why is child identity theft a problem for military children?
53.My child received a toy catalog in the mail in their name. Is this a sign that they have been targeted for identity theft?
Part IV. Dealing with Child Identity Theft
54.What are the different types of child identity theft victims?
55.What should I tell creditors if I suspect my child’s identity has been stolen?
56.What should I do if I am contacted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) concerning my child and tax issues?
57.Do I need a lawyer?
58.What do I need to know about credit reporting agencies?
59. How can I obtain my child’s credit report?
60.What are my rights regarding what is in my child’s credit file and how can I correct errors?
61.How can I block identity theft–related information from showing up on my child’s credit report?
62.What is a fraud alert and when should I place one on my child’s credit file?
63.How long should I keep an alert on my child’s file?
64.What is a credit freeze and when should I ask for one for my child?
65.How can I clear my child’s name?
66.How did we get social security numbers in the first place?
67.What is an “area” number and how does it affect my child?
68.What are “group” numbers and “serial” numbers and how do they affect my child?
69.When should you obtain a social security number for your child?
70.Should I automatically request a new social security number for my child after discovering child identity theft?
71.If I work in a medical office what can I do to protect our patients?
72.I work in the medical profession. Help me understand medical identity theft vs. child identity theft and how I can make a difference.
73.If my child has become a victim of medical identity theft how do I correct the medical records?
Part V. Coping with the Emotional Fallout from Identity Theft
74.How do I explain identity theft to my child?
75.What emotional impact will child identity theft have on myfamily?
76.What emotional trauma can parents expect to experience in child identity theft?
77.I’m the one who took my child’s identity. What should I do?
78.How should I handle it when the thief turns out to be a relative?
79.When might counseling be a good idea?
Part VI: Preventing Child Identity Theft
80.What are the top ten mistakes that parents make that contribute to child identity theft?
81.Is the government doing anything to combat identity theft?
82.What two preventative measures can I take as a parent to protect my child from identity theft?
83.If I am a teacher what can I do to protect my students?
84.My child is in day care. What precautions should I take to protect their identity?
85.What is “cramming” and what can I do about it?
86.How can I keep up with ever-evolving scams?
87.How do I make sure I’m not carrying things in my wallet that could open my child up to identity theft?
88.How can a paper shredder protect my child?
89.Where is the best place to keep official documents relating to my children?
90. How can I protect myself and my child when using search engines and websites?
91. What can schools do to help safeguard students from child identity theft?
92. How might age verification of social security numbers help prevent child identity theft?
93.What are modeling scams and how can they affect my child’s identity?
94.Should I pay for identity protection insurance?
Part VII. Further resources
95.Where can I find other resources on child identity theft?
96.As a military family what resources are available to us?
97.Sample letter to credit agencies.
98.Journal Log Sample
99.Summary of protections for unauthorized use of credit and debit cards.
Part VIII. Bibliography