Parents asked to check kids’ credit as identity thieves target children

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 16, 2015)-- Authorities who fight cyber crime are asking parents to check the credit of their kids as child identity theft continues to gain momentum across the country.

From Facebook to Twitter, we are constantly sharing everything, even information about our children. And sometimes, that can lead to a disastrous situation.

"92 percent of all two-year-olds already have a footprint on the internet," said Chuck Cohen, Commander of the Cyber Crimes unit for the Indiana State Police.

A recent Carnegie Mellon study found some victims of identity theft are as young as a few months old.

So why are thieves going after kids?

"It may be years before they or their parents find out that they have been a victim of a crime," said Cohen. "For many parents, the first time they even think about the child having credit is when they're going to help them establish the first credit card, help them buy their first car at 16, help them apply for student loans. So that's one of the things that makes them so attractive."

Parents should pay extra attention if they have opened up a bank account for their child or a 529 plan for college. Cohen said they should be checking their child's credit score every year and thinking about freezing their credit until they are ready to use it.

He added that parents should also watch what they are posting about their children and what their older kids are sharing about themselves.

"From one site they might get their name. Another site they might their date of birth. And a third they might get where they go to school.. might get information about their family," he said. "I think parents have to think about how someone can get access to their child, not just physically but also in a virtual sense."

The Indiana Attorney General also offers tools to help guard you and your child's identity.

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