Child Identity Theft A Growing Problem; Parents May Be Culprits


For more young adults, plans and hopes are being dashed because they are unwitting victims of identity theft at the hands of someone they know, usually their parents, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It often happens when victims are too young to do anything about it, so it's a crime that can go undetected for years. A parent or other relative uses a child's personal information, including Social Security number, to get a credit card, loan or other account with a clean credit record.

When the child enters the business and financial world as an adult, he encounters debt he knows nothing about. “They won't be able to get a credit card. Or if the debt owed is disproportionate to their earnings, then they can't get loans. It's difficult to get a car,” said Michelle Jones of CredAbility. The Atlanta-based nonprofit, provides credit counseling and education across the Southeast. “And when you are applying for car insurance or applying for a job, people look at your credit score. The worst case scenario [] you have a young adult who is facing filing for bankruptcy on a debt that they never personally incurred,” Jones said.The Federal Trade Commission's figures on identity theft show Georgia ranking seventh nationwide for the highest number of complaints over the last three years. FTC breakdowns by age show about a quarter of the complaints come from 20- to 29-year-olds. Georgia Office of Consumer Affairs spokesman Bill Cloud believes cases of child identity theft have multiplied substantially in the last few years. Identity theft is a felony in Georgia.

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