Home > 2011 > Identity Theft

Child Identity Theft: The 17-10 Solution

Advertiser Disclosure Comments 0 Comments

This week I had the opportunity to attend a fascinating forum in Washington, DC, to explore the myriad issues surrounding child identity theft, including foster care identity theft (a particularly cruel malady foisted upon children who already begin life behind the eight ball) and identity theft within families. The event was sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission and the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, and was attended by victims, businesses and representatives from federal and state governments, law enforcement, educational institutions, consumer advocates and legal service providers. It’s heartening that so many people care about this issue, but the clock is ticking, children’s futures are being compromised every day, and finding a real solution to the problem is becoming more critical by the moment.

Though a great deal has been written on the subject, of late more than ever, there is still a lack of appreciation among the general public as to the depth and severity of the problem. There is hope, however, in the form of a relatively simple registry. First, let’s consider the scope of this issue.

The Problem is Severe and Growing

Depending upon the study or report you read, from 140,000 to more than 400,000 young people per year become victims of a crime that may not necessarily impact their daily lives when it occurs, but can have devastating long-term financial and emotional repercussions.

[Article: Survey – ID Theft Isn’t Just About Credit Cards]

Children Make an Easy Target

Child identity predators are drawn to the pristine credit profiles and dormant Social Security numbers of their victims, as well as their presumed invisibility in the credit system. They cannot legally apply for credit cards, “so a thief knows a child’s information is not likely associated with poor credit or linked to fraud.” As one of the conference presenters, and Credit.com partner, ID Analytics said in its presentation materials: “With a child’s SSN, a fraudster can present a credit profile equivalent to that of an emerging or new consumer (immigrant, college graduate) who has not previously interacted with the credit environment.”

No One Has Been Looking

Kids don’t check their credit reports and parents heretofore have lacked the inclination, motivation, or easy access required to review their child’s credit history. Oftentimes, the lack of inclination or motivation is due to the fact that mom or dad is the perpetrator. The crime generally goes undetected unless and until the child applies for a license, a credit card, a loan for college or, perhaps, requires a medical procedure. When they do, if their identity has been compromised—by someone having used their stolen SSN to set up credit accounts, obtain free medical care or throw police off of his trail, for example—bad things begin to happen almost instantly. In many instances the crime goes unreported because of the very human inclination not to “rat out” a parent or family member.

[Fraud Resource: Free Identity Risk Score and personal risk profile]

While the credit reporting agencies (in particular TransUnion) have begun to develop more user-friendly ways for parents to monitor their child’s identity, we in the consumer advocacy community are still searching for ways to make the process of protecting it more proactive and effective.

Of all the public/private pilot projects and proposals on the table, a somewhat controversial idea developed by Jay and Linda Foley of the San Diego-based Identity Theft Resource Center, a nationally recognized non-profit and leader in identity theft education, research, advocacy and resolution, presents the most potentially effective response. It is the 17-10 Registry.

The 17-10 Solution »

Image: D. Sharon Pruitt, via Flickr.com

Pages: 1 2

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team