I’m serious. My oldest son went to open a bank account when he turned 18 this year and they told him that someone else is using his social security number. Come to find out not only has he (or she) been using my son’s social security number he has set up credit all over the place. It isn’t good credit either, apparently this mystery person has a ton of unpaid bills including utilities.
The part that makes me particularly angry is that we don’t know who this person is because NO ONE will tell us! I contacted the various credit agencies and they need us to verify information under the account, but all the information on the account is the thief’s information (not my sons) so we couldn’t find out whats on his credit we only knew it was bad. We tried the FTC and they were little to no help and the Social Security office wouldn’t help us unless we came in person. It’s a nightmare trying to recuperate from child identity theft! We still haven’t cleared it up and we aren’t sure we will ever be able to at this point.
I’m really not sure how they got my son’s social security number. He didn’t even know his number until he turned 18 and the only places I ever shared it with were his doctors (which I will NEVER do again), government agencies that required it (IRS), and his father. I do know that many companies are not as careful as they should be when it comes to handling SSNs and many times we take it for granted as well when disposing of papers with our SSNs. Below are a couple other places people get SSNs from:
- Scams where thieves pose as a business or bank official on the phone and ask for your credit card information.
- Old-fashioned pickpocketing, where thieves steal your credit cards and either use them or sell them to other criminals.
- Card readers installed by thieves at everyday locations, such as cash machines and supermarket checkout lanes, to steal your information.
- Data breaches where your information is accidentally exposed by companies you should be able to trust. (ITAC®, the Identity Theft Assistance Center, recorded 662 breaches last year.)
- Visit Identity Guard for more information.
- Ongoing visibility into potential exposure of your child’s personal data
- A comprehensive “Digital Footprint” report showing detected data
- Alerts to certain kinds of activity detected