Identity thieves are increasingly targeting children, says an Federal Trade Commission official quoted by the Associated Press. Identity theft complaints involving people under 18 have nearly doubled since 2003, up from 6,512 to more than 11,600 last year. While they make up only 5 percent ofl ID theft complaints, the FTC’s Jay Miller says young people may not be so savvy about safeguarding personal information and could easily fall prey while surfing the Internet.
A friend of Sue Houk of the San Diego-based Identity Theft Resource Center was surprised to learn that someone had fraudulently opened a bank account in her 12-year-old daughter’s name. The con artist then opened about a half dozen credit card accounts, declared bankruptcy, had it written off and left the girl with a mess of legal hassles. The most victimized age group for identity theft was the 18-to-29 category. It accounted for 29 percent of the complaints, or more than 70,200.