Identities of Millions of Children Stolen
We recently reported that Anthem, the nation's second largest health insurance company, was hacked, giving cybercriminals access to the personal information of millions of people. The victims, however, were not just adults.
Among the millions of people whose personal information was stolen, information including things such as names, date of birth and Social Security number, tens of millions were children. As with any identity theft, this information can be used to open accounts, obtain credit cards and a host of other things.
A child's stolen identity is more valuable to an identity thief for several reasons. One is that there is no credit history: it is clean and unblemished, which sometimes makes it easier to use. More importantly, there is no credit report and most people don't need to check their credit reports until they are young adults applying for credit cards or a loan. This means the identity theft will likely remain undetected for many years, allowing a thief to exploit it for a long time before any action is taken to stop it.
This can have catastrophic effects for millions of young people, who could grow up to find they have bad credit before ever even needing credit.
Aside from parents checking periodically to see if their children have credit reports already, warning signs that your kid's identity has been stolen include bills in your child's name, calls from collection agencies and mail for things such as credit card offers and jury duty.
For their part, Anthem is not only offering usual credit monitoring services, but they are also offering ChildScan, a service that looks for the stolen Social Security numbers of minors attached to someone else's name.