Half of identity theft victims say the perpetrator was a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or an in-home employee, according to surveys by the Federal Trade Commission and the private firm Javelin Strategy and Research, says the New York Time. The surveys estimate that 9 million to 10 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Identity theft involving family members takes many forms, said Betsy Broder of the Federal Trade Commission. A child may steal a parent's identity to buy drugs or one sibling steals another's identity to try to avoid arrest or debt, for example.
Identity theft may be difficult to solve and prosecute. In the case of families, victims may be reluctant to report relatives to the police. Suspicious parents can look out for clues that their children's identities have been compromised, said Jay Foley of the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center. Example: a boy lives with his father after a divorce. “When he calls Mom, she sees the kid's name on the caller ID instead of Dad's. If that was set up in the kid's name, what else was set up?,” Foley asks. Young children receiving credit card applications is a sign that someone with access to their Social Security numbers has applied for credit in their names.