5-year-olds victims of identity theft

Why are children being targeted for these crimes when they cannot even have driving records, credit scores or criminal records, you ask?

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Criminals see clean-slate identities as a way to hide their own identities and sell them to stolen identity rings. Identity thieves do this by stealing children’s Social Security numbers, birth certificates and other information to decrease the likelihood that someone will challenge them on a stolen identity. 

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report released in March 2009 showed just how easy it is to forge birth certificates when an inspector was able to obtain four passports under a fake birth certificate each time. A criminal just has to forge a birth certificate under a child’s name and adjust the birth date to make a new identity.

These criminals will go identity “dumpster diving” through public birth and death records, newspaper announcements, and court documents to obtain this information. Once they have the information, they take a trip to the local Department of Motor Vehicles to use the fraudulently gathered information as documentation that will enable them to obtain a state-issued driver’s license or non-driver ID card with the child’s name plastered upon an ID that shows an adult photo and age.

If we are to protect the integrity of our children and our nation as a whole, we need to crack down on identity fraud and make it harder for criminals to misrepresent the most vulnerable in our population.