Thank you for continuing our series, “Protecting Teenagers from Identity Theft”. Last week, you learned that teenagers and children that have not yet reached their 18th birthday are 50 times more likely to become a victim of identity theft. You learned why teenagers are more susceptible to this crime and the importance of having “the talk” with your teen, as it pertains to their safety and identification information. While every age group is detrimentally affected by this crime, teenagers and those that are considered to be young adults are even more affected. In fact, it has been established that teens are the absolute fastest-growing unique population targeted by those that have a desire to illegally obtain a person’s identity.

Your Teenager’s Identity is High in Demand and May be Easily Compromised
At Somerville National Bank, we feel it is imperative to educate parents and guardians on teen identity theft. The main reason is, your teen’s identity is high in demand and may be easily compromised. Each teen has their own social security number and birth certificates. These pieces of information may be easily obtained by criminals. One of the main reasons why children and teenagers are becoming increasingly popular as victims of identity theft is that no one is, usually, monitoring the child’s credit. As a result, thieves have the unique ability to use a teen’s identity for many years, leaving them with less than favorable, or even shattered, credit for when they become adults.

What Happens When a Teen’s Identity is Stolen?
Many different situations may occur when a teen’s identity is stolen. In many instances, the Social Security numbers are sold to immigrants, illegally. Once the immigrants obtain this information, they are able to obtain a driver’s license and open various types of accounts – such as bank accounts and credit card accounts. The Social Security numbers of teens that have been compromised by illegal immigrants actually allows such a person to start their lives in the United States and live freely for many, many years before getting caught.

There are many instances of teenage identity theft that has occurred as a result of unscrupulous relatives, friends, and neighbors. Throughout history, there have been many cases discovered where a relative, a friend, or even a parent has used a child’s identity to make illegal purchases because they, themselves, had tarnished credit histories. It is important that your child’s Social Security number and birth certificate information is completely safeguarded at all times. Failure to do so could result in many future problems for your teen.

As a parent, you should safeguard any and all personal information pertaining to your teen, at all times. You should also make certain that you encourage your child to safeguard their information, too. Unless absolutely necessary, Social Security numbers should never be revealed to anyone, and the child’s credit report should be monitored on a regular basis. If it is found that one exists, it is evident that the attempt for credit has been made. You should also encourage your teen to work with a financial institute that cares about their safety and will properly protect their identity. Somerville National Bank prides itself on being one of these facilities. For more information, click HERE.