Children targeted by identity thieves
Inspectors: Children are as vulnerable to indentify theft as you are
Identity theft has no age limit with some families learning that the hard way. And unfortunately, the cost can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and more.
US Postal inspectors obtained surveillance video of three different women writing bad checks in some well-known stores. They say the suspects stole the identities of children and opened accounts in their names.
"They knew they had no credit. So, that way they could use the kids' information to go out and get credit and make whatever purchases they wanted," explained US Postal Inspector Cecil Frink.
Frink says the ring leader recruited people down on their luck to help in his scam. He would make fake IDs for his recruits that used their photos and the names and addresses of the kids whose identities were stolen..
"They were able to open accounts and write checks then went around to different merchants and wrote checks knowing they had no money in the bank," said Frink.
The suspects wrote hundreds of bad checks, totaling more than $500,000.
"Handlers would take them out and tell them what to buy and they might get 25 percent," said Frink.
The scam artists bought tools and major appliances they could sell on the street. Once authorities began tracking the case, surveillance video from various stores helped them make arrests.
Frink said, "We can actually see the individuals writing the counterfeit or bad checks."
Inspectors say your children are as vulnerable to identity theft as you are.
"Protect your children's social security numbers, place of birth and information like that," warned Frink.
In all, there were more than 100 victims in this case. keep this in mind - you can order a credit report for your child as soon as they get their social security number.
Every person is entitled to one free report a year, from each of the three credit bureaus. The Better Business Bureau of Northeast Florida recommends the website AnnualCreditReport.com. It has step-by-step instructions and links to all three credit bureaus.
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