HEADLINE: AMERICA’S SLEEPING GIANT, CHILDREN IDENTITY THEFT.
“Identity Thieves” have found a new supply source to exploit others, in “America’s Number One Crime, Identity Theft”.According to CBS’s consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen of “The Early Show”, “Children are perfect targets because they have clean credit histories and thieves can get away with the crime for years, since kids and their parents rarely check the kids’ credit reports”.
Every child born in America after nineteen eighty (1980), is at risk with this devastating crime.Unfortunately, sometimes these thieves are their own parents.Currently, with four out of five marriages ending up in divorce court each year, the chances of either parent using their children’s social security number to open up lines of credit, goes up dramatically.Coupled with the financial strain of divorce, most “Parent Thieves” state, “I did it because I had to, I had no one else to turn to”.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, 400,000 children had their ID’s stolen last year (2005).In an NBC news story in Dallas, Texas on March 3rd, 2005, “a 10 year old, 4th grader already had an extensive credit history.She had 17 credit cards, in which she racked up thousands of dollars on her American Express and had been approved for a $42,000 loan.She is deep in debt and has been since she was just five.The thief was caught and sent to jail for six months.The thief was her mother”.
However, the thief is not always the parents or a family member. The same explosion of data breaches that has exposed millions (227,205,625 million – 1/10/2005 through 06/09/2008, Source: Privacy Rights Clearinghouse) of “American Consumers” records containing sensitive personal financial data to “Identity Thieves”, is also affecting our children.This data does not include the most recent security breach of 2.2 million people who have been patients of the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics (6/1/08 or 6/2/08) or their guarantors over the past 16 years in Salt Lake City, Utah. This past spring in Texas (Jan 12, 2008), the Texas Education Agency (TEA) started storing social security data and other personal information on approximately 350,000 five and six-year-old public pre-school and kindergartners in Texas (Source: Dallas Morning News, Staci Hupp, 1/12/2008). Here is the news story title: Company gets kindergartners' Social Security numbers, data.
As parents you ask, how can someone know about my kids, their social security account numbers and their birth dates?
America; your children’s social security number is worth ten of thousands of dollars, when they are in the hands of thieves.
If your children have and use a social security card, driver's license (16 years old and up), identity card (for under 16 years of age or non-driver's), or savings accounts, you have the risk of becoming a "Victim of Identity Theft".
Banks have your children’s information when they open up a “Christmas Club Savings Account” (Future Customer).You use their information when you enroll your children for family health coverage through your employer.Your doctor or hospital wants the same information, not only on your children but on you as well (Responsible Party).You give your children’s information every year on your tax return (Remember VA Security Breach, May 2005, 26.5 Million Veteran Files Stolen).Your children’s information is also in school records.
How many parents or schools teach personal financial responsibility to fourteen year olds?Did you know as a parent that your child can run his own credit reports when he/she is fourteen?How many fourteen year olds do you know that ask this question, “Mom or Dad, I need to run my credit report”?
Your children between birth and 18 years old (“The Sleeping Giant of Identity Theft”), can have their SSN stolen and used for 16 or 17 years (Driving and Working Age) before anyone really starts using it.
You Ask How? This statement comes from the Social Security Administration Web Site. "It is a good idea to get the number when your child is born. You can apply for a Social Security number for your baby when you apply for your baby's birth certificate. The state agency that issues birth certificates will share your child's information with us. We will mail the Social Security card to you.
To protect our children’s "Identity", Congress needs to pass legislation to have the three national credit bureaus set up accounts from birth. These accounts would be frozen automatically until their eighteenth (18th) birthday.
Our organization is currently producing a legislative bill entitled, “Children’s Identity Theft Protection Security Act of 2008”.We are forwarding this proposal to Senator John Cornyn, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Congressman Pete Sessions and Congressman Sam Johnson for final drafting so it can be voted on and passed during the second session of the 2008 Congress in 2008.It is imperative that this legislation is passed to protect “America’s Children”.
We need only your name, address, city, state, and zip code.We will send your comments to your senator and congressman based upon your zip code.You need to get involved in this very special issue so we all can protect our greatest treasure, our kids.
The following information is an excerpt from the draft of this legislative bill.
Current proof of identity requirements used by the three national credit bureaus for children under fourteen (14) will be used.All credit bureau files on children under eighteen (18) will have a statement, “Credit Bureau File Frozen Due to Federal Legislation”.Parents, who have children under sixteen (16) can only access the files to change addresses, phone numbers, and other identifying information.
Children between sixteen and eighteen years old can only have driver’s license information and work history added (No Exceptions).Credit bureaus will notify each parent or child forty-five to 60 days in advance of their eighteenth birthday to let them know of the pending status change in their credit bureau files.Credit Bureau Freeze will be automatically removed on the anniversary of the child's eighteenth birthday (Legal Age of Consent).
It is a sad state of affairs when we can transmit credit card data around the world in seconds but we can not verify the identity of the person in front of us. "Identity Thieves" have done this country a big favor. Their successes in committing these crimes have highlighted how the security loopholes of 9/11 still remain. Everyone has forgotten that the terrorists of "9/11" came into this country with at least five (5) different fake personas (Source: 9/11 Congressional Report).
The downfall of a nation does not come from outside its borders, it comes from within.How we address this “Internal Terrorist Threat” of “Identity Theft”, could determine the future of this nation.The time has come to use the technology resources this country has been blessed with.
Don’t forget, our children’s future and peace of mind is in our hands now.Depending on what we do today, this could very well determine what kind of financial security we leave to our children, to pass on to future generations. Thank you.