FTC backs new Social Security numbers for child victims of identity theft

In February, the SSA asked for comments on how, if necessary, to carry out new regulations that would allow anyone under the age of 13 will be able to receive new Social Security numbers if theirs have been used illegally. A formal proposal has yet to be made. 

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There are 142,000 cases of identity fraud against minors each year, according to a 2011 study, the FTC wrote. Another report found that of the 40,000 children that had identity theft protection, more than 10 percent had various loans and accounts taken under their Social Security numbers.

Federal regulators say the age cutoff may be too conservative.

“Misuse of SSNs can happen to teenagers age 14 to 17, and the repercussions are just as severe as when it occurs to a younger child,” the FTC writes.

“Even when the misuse of an SSN occurs before age 14, the harm is often undiscovered until age 16 or older, when the minor seeks credit, an apartment, or a job. As currently drafted, the revised policy will not aid all victimized children.”