1M Firsttime Borrowers Discover Their Identity Stolen

Dated: 08/28/2018

Views: 628

OSTA MESA, Calif – Aug. 27, 201 – Imagine being a young adult trying to open a credit card or get a college loan, only to learn that your identity was stolen years earlier as a child. This scenario is becoming increasingly common.

In fact, more than 1 million children were victims of identity theft in 2017. To help parents take an important first step in protecting their children, Experian® is offering a free, one-time Child ID Scan, a service that can detect possible child identity theft and fraud.

The free scan checks if the Social Security number (SSN) for a child (under age 18) is associated with an Experian credit file. If a credit file is found, Experian's Fraud Resolution team will assist the parent or legal guardian with the next steps.

To use Experian's free Child ID Scan, go to experian.com/childscan. For comprehensive, continued child identity monitoring, Experian IdentityWorks offers a Family Plan that monitors two adults and up to 10 children.

"A child's SSN is like gold to identity thieves and a clean slate for criminals to do damage over possibly a long period of time," says Michael Bruemmer, vice president of Consumer Protection at Experian. "We are vigilant when it comes to protecting people's identities, and hope Child Identity Theft Awareness Day rallies communities and parents to take action. Our free service and educational content can be key resources, but we urge parents to be vigilant on an ongoing basis. If they aren't, the consequences for their children can be damaging and long-term."

Victims of child identity theft experience serious adult challenges – sometimes lasting years. A recent Experian survey found that 59 percent of survey respondents had their credit report and credit score negatively impacted, while 52 percent were denied credit.

More than one-third (34 percent) of victims surveyed said it cost them money to fix the issue, and almost 20 percent suffered relationship issues.

Key findings

  • On average, victims surveyed believe identity theft occurred when they were 12 years old – and even worse, almost half (45 percent) didn't discover the theft until they were between the ages of 16 and 18, when they were most likely getting a first job or starting to apply for credit.

  • More than half (51 percent) of victims surveyed discovered it themselves, primarily when they applied for credit as an adult or when they received a bill or credit card in the mail – and 52 percent were denied credit at some point when they applied due to the theft.

  • The initial discovery of identity theft is just the beginning for victims. One out of 4 survey respondents was still dealing with issues more than 10 years after the fact.

  • The emotional impact of child identity theft is also severe: 35 percent of victims surveyed have sought professional help in dealing with related stress, anxiety, anger or depression related to the theft; 68 percent said they are fearful it could happen to them again, while 65 percent are angry about the credit roadblocks they have faced.

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