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Identity theft: hacker's hand

Identity theft is not just for movies and TV dramas; it happens quite often in real life. In fact, the story about Target breach, in which about 1.2 billion records of people were stolen by Russian hackers, is a perfect and clear example of identity theft.

Is family identity theft a real danger?

In 2012, one US research firm said that about 12.6 million people in the United States were victims of identity theft. This means that every 3 seconds, someone’s identity is stolen.

A worrying trend is that about one-third of the crime is committed against the thieves’ own family members. Most of the time, the victims come to know it when seeking their credit report. While expecting to see a huge score, they are instead presented with pages and pages of fraudulent credit activity. The thief can be the victim’s own father, mother, spouse, brother or sister.

What’s more appalling is that parents are also guilty of this serious offence as they can easily get access to the child’s name and his or her Social Security number. They then open a phony account, even when the victim is just a child. As most company does not verify age, this particular crime has been undetected for many years.

The victims may not be aware of it until they become adult when they try to apply for a credit card or may be for a student loan. On learning that family members have been using their identity, children get a hard emotional blow. Someone they trusted for all those years suddenly became a villain and they feel betrayed.

Is there family identity theft protection?

Victims of such crime can restore damaged credit but it can take some time. The US Federal Trade Commission has published an online guide to help victims recover from identity theft crime.

It is known fact that children cannot protect themselves from this crime. So, adults must do it for them. This often requires an investment of your time and, of course, your money.

Credit freezes or fraud alerts are unavailable for children till their identity is stolen. Applying for a fraud alert every six months and then being denied will mean that no credit has been established.

Family identity theft protection will help prevent many child identity thefts. However, you should be aware that not all such services offer this option. The good news, however, is that child identity theft protection in most cases is less than $50 a year for each kid when parent invests in a family plan.

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