CHICAGO, IL – May 1, 2012 – The
Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) is alerting parents
their child may be at risk of identity theft. Crime stats show last year more
than 9.9 million Americans were victims of ID theft costing them roughly five
billion dollars. The Federal
Trade Commission also received more than 19,000 complaints about child identity
theft last year.
parents have no idea that their child is a victim, and this crime may go
undetected for years—until the child applies for a job, loan, or rents their
first apartment. Major reasons for the identity theft of minors include illegal
immigration (to obtain false IDs for employment), organized crime (to engage in
financial fraud) and friends and family (to offset bad personal credit ratings).
“Protecting a child’s identity is easy and vital,” said
Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.
“Simply follow some steps the BBB provides, and you may save your child from
hardships in the future.”
To protect your child from identity theft, consider
the following advice:
- Never carry around a child’s Social Security card.
This increases the risk of losing the card, which is the most common way
for identity thieves to obtain a child’s information. In addition, don’t
give children their Social Security numbers until they understand how and
why to protect the numbers.
documents. Always shred documents with personal identifying
information. The Better Business Bureau hosts events; for more information
on upcoming Chicago-area Shred Day events, visit www.chicagoshreds.com
- Find out who has access to the child’s personal information at
school. Verify the records are kept in a secure location. Under
the federal Family
Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) the privacy of student
education records and gives you the right to: inspect and review your
child's education record, consent to the disclosure of information in the
records and correct errors in the records.
- Monitor your child’s online
a site requires users to register, see what kind of information it asks
for and whether you’re comfortable with what is needed. If the site allows
kids to post personal information, talk to your child about the risks and
benefits of disclosing certain information in a public forum.
- Set strict privacy settings on social
networking sites. Social networking sites let users determine with whom they want
to share information with. Talk to your child about restricting access to
his or her profile to only friends or users in safe networks such as their
school, clubs or church groups.
For more tips on securing your identity, visit www.bbb.org
private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is
to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by
means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising
claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop
and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage
people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.