It seems like adults are not the only ones in danger of identy theft. Our kids are too. Hackers are targeting your kids such as the hacking incident that happened in El Paso, Texas, that had around 63,000 students social security numbers exposed because a hacker broke into a school district’s computer network.
In Palatine,III., nearly 8,000 special education students’ social security numbers were divulged due to stolen laptops that belonged to a state contractor.
And in Wake County, N.C., about 5,000 postcards with students social security numbers printed on them were mailed out because of school official’s accidental mistake.
These three incidents are amongst dozens in recent years. And schools have been a vulnerable target to credit-hungry identity thieves leaving theft not only to hackers, but also to many Americans in need of clean credit. A teacher in Florida was sentenced to house arrest for stealing identities of former students. And in 2009, a police officer who worked for the Palm Beach County School District was sentenced to eight years in prison for stealing the identities of former students and teachers. The reccession has left many Americans with more of a need for clean sources of credit making the temptation to hijack a child’s record even greater.
The Federal Trade Commission says that there’s a huge increase in child identy theft complaints of 18,000 last year compared with about 6,500 cases in 2003. And ID Analytics estimates more than 140,000 children are victims of identy theft each year. “This is making a much bigger honey pot for people with malevolent purposes to gain access to children’s information,” said Joel Reidenberg, a professor at Fordham University School of Law. “It’s a meltdown waiting to happen.”