Two-week old Julia Walsh receives her social security card. Photo credit: Kurt Wagner/Flickr

Children at Higher Risk for Identity Theft than Adults, Study Says

Children, even toddlers and infants, are at risk of identity theft. In fact, kids under the age of 18 are 51 times more likely to become victims of identity theft than their parents, according to a recent report by Carnegie Mellon CyLab. Out of a representative sample of more than 40,000 juveniles, 10.2 percent, or 4,311 kids, fell prey to some sort of identity theft or fraud, compared to just 0.2 percent of adults in 2009 and 2010. According to CyLab, the main reason minors’ identities are so valuable — specifically their Social Security numbers — is that there’s no process in place to double check what name and birth date are officially attached to each number. Thus, “as long as the identity thief has a Social Security number with a clean history, the thief can attach any name and date of birth to it.”

Minors also make a tempting target because the theft may go undetected for years, according to the credit-reporting agency TransUnion.