Social Security Number (SSN) identity fraud is a growing problem in the US, unlike that of the UK, where the National Insurance Number (NIN) is only issued to children on their 16th birthday. Both the SSN and NIN are unique numbers and the cards are only ever issued once. The value of these unique identifiers has led to an increase in child SSN identity theft in the US. The primary reason for this is that in the US from 1990, the threshold for having an SSN card was lowered to 1 year old.
So, it’s little surprise that a recent child identity theft report from US identity protection services company Debix, highlights a ten per cent rise in the number of Children (under the age of 18) becoming victims of identity theft. This is fifty-one times the .2 percent recorded for identity theft against US adults. Close analysis of the report highlights that the SSN identity thefts mainly came about from third-party database breaches. Friends and family were also found to exploit a childs SSN – no surprise here.
The lack of biometric identifiers and the fact the SSN is interconnected with many forms of identification i.e. financial institutions, actually makes identity fraud easier to commit. The identity fraudsters know this. A simple solution in avoiding child identity theft might be to follow the UK NIN model – only issue an SSN when the child reaches their 16th birthday.
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