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Child Identity Theft Study

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2008
10 pages
This study analyzed cases of child identity theft for those children enrolled in the Debix Identity Protection Network from July 2008 through September 2008.
Key findings from the study include: (1) 5 percent of the children had one or more credit reports using their social security number (SSN), 3 percent were found to be actual victims of child identity theft and 2 percent were victims of file/credit contamination; (2) among the 5 percent, the children had on average $12,779 in fraudulent or wrongly assigned debt; (3) while children were found to be more likely to find problems in their credit histories as they aged, 12 percent of those with problems were age 5 and under; (4) a handful of severe cases include: one child had seven identities listed under his SSN, with several thousand dollars in medical bills, apartment rentals, and credit accounts in collections and another child’s SSN was associated with over $325,000 in debt; (5) one in four victims in the study had bills or lines of credit in collections or foreclosure, while almost two-thirds had fake or wrong names listed under their SSN; and (6) 42 percent of those children with erroneous credit reports only had credit files at one credit bureau. Children can make easy targets for identity thieves. The term “child identity theft” is used to reflect the unique nature of this crime. Children can experience problems ranging from a wrong name associated with their social security number to more serous cases of actual financial fraud, such as a foreclosed mortgage listed under their credit history. This study analyzed cases of child identity theft, as well as discrepancies in public data among 500 children enrolled in the DEBIX Identity Protection Network from July 2008 through September 2008. Figures and tables